By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- In a letter to the editor earlier this month, entitled “The UWP special candidate committee
”, one of our readers drew attention to a special selection committee within the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) in Saint Lucia, designed to bypass the local constituency selection process.
However, according to the UWP, there is no such committee.
“The party has a constitution, which guides its operation. This document is available to all members as reference and an instrument which can be used to advocate for and uphold their rights. This includes the right to question and object any decision, action or process,” the UWP said in an invited comment.
Nevertheless, according to informed sources within the UWP, a proposal for such a committee was in fact supposed to be presented by the political leader of the party, Allen Chastanet, and his supporters to a meeting of the party’s national council last month.
The proposal was vigorously resisted, including threats of legal action, and ultimately defeated by the branch chairs on the grounds that it did not comply with the party’s constitution and would remove any effective role on the part of the constituency branches in the selection process – exactly the situation described by our reader but now denied by the UWP.
The proposal was not, therefore, presented to the party’s national council for consideration.
The rationale for the creation of such a special committee as proposed was that the party’s constitution was not sufficiently clear in relation to the procedure for the selection of candidates for elections, notwithstanding that the UWP has apparently functioned successfully in this respect for almost 50 years without the need for a new committee.
Further, as proposed, the special committee would have identified, reviewed and selected prospective candidates and made recommendations to the national council through the political leader of the party, thereby bypassing any input from the constituency branches.
However, under the party’s constitution, this is the prerogative of the constituency branches, without being required to work with any committee.
Thus, it would seem that the status quo has in fact been preserved for the time being, although party sources indicate that the matter is likely to be resurrected at some point in the future.