By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- The leader of the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), Therold Prudent, has called on all opposing parties in Saint Lucia that consider themselves progressive not only to raise the level of the political discourse in the country but also to offer a competing vision that makes an effective and relentless case as to why the ruling St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is no longer worthy of governing the country.
Leader of the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), Therold Prudent
In a press release on Sunday entitled “No more jab-en-sac [devil in a bag] promises”, Prudent expressed his disagreement with the political leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Allen Chastanet, over comments that suggest that the role of an opposition party is simply to hold a government accountable without at the same time offering any alternative ideas or suggestions to improve the overall governance of the country.
The LPM leader pointed out that, as a 50-year-old party with a cumulative 35 years in power, the UWP does not currently have a single identifying alternative policy for government, but would rather wait until the eve of the next general election to share with the people of Saint Lucia its vision for moving the country forward.
This, Prudent said, means that the people of Saint Lucia will be unable adequately to review and scrutinise the UWP’s policies on a wide range of issues.
“In an age in which most Saint Lucians can readily accept that they were duped by the dubious nature of Dr Kenny Anthony’s manifesto promise of ‘Better Days’, which offered no credible explanation of how the SLP intended to create thousands of jobs and deliver prosperity en masse to the people of the country, one would have thought that the UWP would have learnt from the SLP’s painful experience,” Prudent said.
By way of contrast, he pointed to the LPM's progressive agenda, “which does not simply oppose the SLP, but offers a number of viable alternatives and solutions as to how Saint Lucia should be governed.”
Prudent concluded that, since political parties are in the business of preparing to run the country one day, there should be no reason why the people of Saint Lucia should not know years ahead of any elections how these parties hope to govern.
Likewise, LPM caretaker candidate for the Soufirere constituency, Melanius Alphonse, pointed to recent comments made by parliamentarians in Barbados that are germane to issue of how opposition parties conduct themselves.
Speaker of the Barbados Parliament, Michael Carrington, said on Thursday that the one reservation he had regarding the typical adaptation of the British Westminster system is that it pits “government and opposition inexorably against each other in aggressive, contentious and oftimes seemingly unnecessary confrontation”.
Barbados opposition leader, Mia Mottley, echoed this thought, saying that what was needed was “bipartisan cooperation, led by a new generation of patriots who put the national interest above all else”.
Alphonse said that, in his view, it is not the parliamentary system itself that is broken; the problem has been created by individual politicians that distort and abuse it, putting personal ambition and self-interest ahead of national progress.
“A fundamental soul searching would make a profound difference for substantive change in policy to reconfigure looming national security and economic crisis,” he concluded.