The leader of the main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Phillip J. Pierre, is confident that the party will win the July 26 general election, insisting that it has been preparing to return to government following the defeat in the 2016 poll.
“Finally! July 26, 2021. We are ready!” St Lucians, we are ready to serve,” the SLP said in a post on its official Facebook page, while Pierre in a televised address following the election date announcement, criticised the performance of the Allen Chastanet administration over the past five years.
“As their term closes, St Lucia’s economy is the worst performer of the independent member states of the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States), according to the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank,” Phillip said, adding that the poor performance was not purely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID merely further exposed the poor economic decisions that they had been making,” Pierre said.
But when he announced the election date in a radio and television broadcast on Monday night, Prime Minister Chastanet said that the Caribbean Information and Credit Rating Services, (CariCRIS), which is the Caribbean’s regional credit rating agency, has “maintained our credit rating and projected a stable outlook.
“This report provides confidence to our lenders that our country is heading in a positive direction. Importantly, it indicated that the maintenance of our debt was adequate as a result of our current and projected recovery from tourism and the impact of our current and projected construction projects,” Chastanet added.
Chastanet, who is leading the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) into a second consecutive general election, said he was pleased with the report “given the enormity of the challenge that our country has been facing, like the rest of the world.
“The report shows that St Lucia is one of the best performing countries in this region and that the efforts of this United Workers Party Government are working,” he said, adding that “whilst we celebrate the many gains we have made as a country over the last five years, we know we have not done it alone.
“Thousands of ordinary St Lucians have helped to re-build our country, not least among them our party members, who have supported our Members of Parliament and our candidates at the constituency,” said Chastanet.
But Pierre noted that the government destroyed the health sector and that low priority had been given to that sector resulting in the island having the highest coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and mortality rates in the OECS.
Pierre said that the situation was so poorly handled that St Lucia has more than the combined totals of OECS member states and urged voters to give his party another opportunity to rescue and rebuild the island.
Chastanet said he is “confident that when you hear how the UWP plans to rebuild our country and turn challenges into opportunities that you will have no doubts about returning us to office”.
Nomination Day for the general election was July 16.