In his New Year’s Address, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony called upon Saint Lucia to engage in a great and consequential policy journey – he called for the creation of a universal, affordable, high quality healthcare system.
This is a tremendous undertaking. When complete, it will make sure that all Saint Lucians will be able to see a doctor when they need to. No more will people have to forego medical treatment because they can’t afford it.
We won’t be able to implement this system overnight. It will take careful study to ensure that the plan is economically solvent. But, we’ve already taken the first steps to making this vision a reality.
We’re developing universal healthcare in a bipartisan way. While, be assured, the SLP is leading the way in providing this critical new benefit for the people of Saint Lucia, we know that this is a national programme and requires national unity. That’s why we took the initiative and invited former UWP Prime Minister Stephenson King to serve on the committee looking into the establishment of this new universal healthcare system.
We’re leading by taking this important policy journey toward universal healthcare. And, we’re leading by making this journey bipartisan. Ours is a party with a critical vision: to deliver universal, quality, affordable healthcare to all Saint Lucians. And, that’s why we must continue working to make sure this vital benefit is delivered to our people. We hope you will support us in this visionary effort.
At the recent UWP march and rally, there was a sign just off to the right of Political Leader Allen “Lionel” Chastanet. The sign – which spelled out NICE – using the words, and, we quote, “Niggas In Control Employment.”
All we can think when we read that is: SMH.
UWP yard fowl pretend that “Lionel” Chastanet had no idea that the sign was there. But, if you look at video from the report, the sign is no more than 2 meters or so from Mr. Chastanet. It’s clear that a number of UWP people must have seen the sign and approved of it as it was clearly visible at the front of the protest march. It is especially troubling given that Mr. Chastanet is largely of European heritage and his biggest fan, Guy Joseph, is of Indian heritage. Do they not believe that persons of African heritage are capable of creating jobs and governing country? That is disturbing.
While the UWP and their supporters racialize the NICE program, we’d like to take a moment to educate you about the realities of this critical program and what it’s delivered for the people of Saint Lucia.
- There are currently 1, 118 persons employed as a result of the NICE program;
- 525 elderly persons have benefited from Home Help which is part of NICE;
- 104 farmers or farms are benefiting from the Farm Labour Support Programme;
- 1,412 persons have received training or apprenticeships through the programme;
- 47 private sector companies have benefitted from employment resultant from NICE;
- All primary schools now have principal’s assistants and IT assistants thanks to nice;
- School gardens have been revitalised.
These are just a few of the good and positive things that the National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) has done for the country. So, when you see the UWP making racist comments, shake your head and know that while they hate, we’re creating jobs, training people, helping our farmers and taking care of the elderly.
Allen Chastanet has a character problem. Don’t take our word for it - last week he was caught red, or shall we say, yellow handed in a bold faced lie. And, he was caught on tape. See for yourself:
First, he asks “why has Grenada just dropped to below $10?” Then, he said “I never said it was under $10.” It makes us wonder if Allen Chastanet really cares about the price at the pump, or, if he’s more concerned with making up facts to try and win power?
Allen Chastanet has a history of misleading the public. Years ago, a three judge panel said he was a “stranger to the truth.” And now, former UWP MP Richard Frederick is saying, “The fact is Allen, you lie too much. And, your lies are sickening.”
We are a Christian people. We believe that character matters. It’s clear that Allen Chastanet has been caught in lie after lie after lie. A good Christian would apologize for committing this sin. Allen Chastanet refuses. And, that’s why he’s called Lionel Chastanet.
Last week, the Prime Minister announced a gift of $9.3 million for hospital improvements and constituency development / jobs programs. These investments will be used to make improvements at the St. Jude Hospital and to create jobs in constituencies across the island.
We announced a further investment of $1 million for two new jetties in Praslin and Savannes Bay. These investments will help the fishers in the community access the sea. And, we announced a new housing project at Bois D’orange which will provide affordable land to those who need it most.
While there’s still more work to do, this government is making sure and steady progress delivering real results for our people. We are a government that believes in our people, and, that’s why we are making these investments. 2015 is already feeling better than 2014!
Under the UWP, the gas taxes were at $3.00 / gallon. Under the SLP, they’re $2.48 / gallon. We lowered gas taxes to ease the burden on gas station owners, keep gas stations open and people employed, and, to make it easier for gas prices to be lowered. Now, Allen Chastanet is peddling a blatant lie about this clear and unambiguous fact.
There is something larger at play than the fact that gasoline prices came down dramatically on 12 January 2015. The bigger issue is Allen Chastanet’s moral character. We already know that Mr. Chastanet had no problem repeatedly rigging United Workers Party elections to ensure that Claudius Preville was thwarted. (Don’t take our word for that – Mr. Preville made those accusations.) And, now, we’ve caught him in a blatant, boldfaced lie. And, yet, he persists.
It’s no wonder that a few years ago, a panel of three judges said Mr. Chastanet is a stranger to the truth!
Allen Chastanet continues to mislead. And, what does he get for it? Promotion after promotion. The question is, will the good Christian people of Saint Lucia give this man yet another promotion? In the coming months and years, we must ask ourselves if honesty counts anymore in our leaders. We’re confident it does. Saint Lucians are an honest, moral and Christian people. They will reject deception and fear peddled by a man who is in it for himself and not the people.
There’s another question we must ask about Allen Chastanet: WHY? Why does he lie? Why does he mislead? It’s because he’s interested in power, plain and simple. He’s so drunk with the prospect of power that he will do anything and say anything to win your vote. This is not the kind of leadership Saint Lucians deserve. It’s not good leadership. It’s not honest leadership. It’s not Christian leadership. This man doesn’t understand us, our concerns, or our values. And, soon, even more of his deception will be exposed.
On Monday, the SLP took action and lowered gas prices significantly. This is not the first time we acted to bring relief to Saint Lucians. Under the UWP, the gas tax stood at $3.00 / gallon. We reduced it to $2.48 / gallon – literally pumping more money into our economy and into the pockets of consumers.
Mr. Chastanet can throw numbers around, but he isn't looking at all of the numbers and accounting for all the costs involved. It's not just the cost of fuel. It's the cost of the transportation, it's the cost to the gas station owners, etc. We looked at all of the costs involved and we acted prudently. The government is making less per gallon than under the UWP so we can bring the price of gas down even further. Imagine if the UWP had reduced the gas tax as we did – how cheap could gas have been when they were in charge?
Irresponsible politicians will make irresponsible claims, but, what we’re doing is reducing the price of gas in a way that is sustainable for the market given all the costs of bringing gas to a small island state like ours. Talk is easy. Talk is cheap. But, the action we’re taking is literally putting money back in the pockets of Saint Lucians.
We're keeping our commitment to safeguard the well-being of all Saint Lucians - without slowing our progress in repairing the country's infrastructure and still maintaining the safety net for the less fortunate people in our midst.
2014 was another year for record tourism growth. Yachting was up. Stayover arrivals were up. Hotels are full. Optimism is returning to the industry after slumping significantly under the previous UWP administration.
In spite of all this growth, what is Allen Chastanet calling for? A tax increase. We’re growing the tourism industry, and, Allen Chastanet wants to throw a wet towel on all of that by immediately increasing taxes and, thereby, cooling the growth of the sector. We know that Hewanorra needs work, but, now is not the time to throw a wet towel on our tourism industry growth.
The outlook for 2015 is positive. Now is not the time to increase taxes, but, to instead empower Saint Lucians with jobs and opportunities in the sector which inevitably happen when more tourists come to our shores. We don’t believe in unproductive taxes. We believe in the power of Saint Lucians to take advantage of the tourism turnaround by filling jobs and creating businesses that thrive when tourism grows.
Former United Workers Party (UWP) leadership candidate and party stalwart Claudius Preville has made some very serious accusations against this party. But, is the biased yellow rag known as The Star covering it? Nope. Instead, they are aghast with an editorial noting that the Saint Lucia Labour Party outlined
Now, consider the story that The Star failed to lambast in their editorial. Mr. Preville said that during the leadership conference, delegates were BRIBED to support his opponent, Allen Chastanet. That is a very serious allegation. It shows that Mr. Chastanet has no respect for our democracy and the proper workings of our political system whereby the BEST – not the richest – leader should rise to the top. Bribery is a very serious allegation, but, did their yellow mouthpiece cover it? Did they do an investigation to uncover the facts? No. Instead, they simply swept it under the rug and parroted the UWP line. That’s not journalism. That’s political hackery.
It gets worse. Dr. Preville then ran to be the UWP’s candidate in the Babonneau constituency. Again, he made some very serious allegations against the UWP. He said the elections were not free and fair. He said that individuals were forced to disclose their votes. And, he noted that there was intimidation of the electorate. Now, remember, this is not the SLP that is making these charges. These charges are coming from a UWP stalwart and aspiring UWP leader! Again, these charges are very serious and show the UWP’s contempt for proper democratic processes. But, did The Star investigate? Did The Star report? No. They simply covered it up and attempted to once again sweep these very serious allegations under the rug.
If The Star claims to be a journalistic institution, it needs to abide by proper journalistic practices. Otherwise, it should label itself for what it is – a puppet paper of the rich and powerful Chastanet family who have no interest in helping working people and who are only interested in gaining power for themselves.
On Christmas Eve, our Prime Minister issued a thoughtful and personal statement on the Christmas Eve 2013 trough that caused the deaths of innocent people along with nearly $100 million in damage to schools, roads, homes and agriculture. Dr. Anthony:
Normally, I join the people of Vieux-Fort South to celebrate Midnight Mass, to reflect on the events of the year gone by, its blessings and its challenges. Last year, we did not have Midnight Mass for Christmas, but that was one of the least of our disruptions.
At this time, one year ago, Saint Lucia faced a tremendous test. The passage of the trough, the resultant loss of six lives and the damage to property were felt even more deeply because they came during what is normally a festive season for us.
The response to this tragedy, however, was equally tremendous. The people of Saint Lucia, our corporate sector, civil society, the diplomatic corps and our friends and neighbours in the Caribbean and the wider world pulled together to help us recover.
And recover we have. I have always said that this is one of my favourite times of year. This Christmas is more special than usual, and we must have a more profound appreciation of the blessings we have enjoyed, as we thank God for our friends and families, for our neighbours, for our communities.
I wish to reach out to the families of those who regrettably lost their lives as a result of the trough. This will be their first Christmas without their loved ones, but I know that they will continue to lean on one another and that the community will maintain its embrace. The nation's prayers are with you.
I must reiterate how grateful we are to those who contributed to helping us recover from the Christmas Eve Trough. It has a taken a great deal of hard work, but we have put our shoulders to the wheel and approached the effort of recovery in a systematic manner, and that has made all the difference.
Most of all I thank God for the guidance He has given us in 2014. I wish all of Saint Lucia a very merry and peaceful Christmas.
When we say that we believe in Saint Lucia and Saint Lucians – it’s not just a slogan – it’s a philosophy of governance. Take the recent Bois D’Orange bridge. This bridge was designed by Saint Lucians. It was constructed by a Saint Lucian firm and Saint Lucian workers. And, it was delivered as a world class piece of infrastructure.
After it was destroyed during Hurricane Tomas, the UWP tried to address the problem, but, they just couldn’t get it done. When the SLP took power, we found the money, and, we hired Saint Lucians to get the job done. That’s the difference between our party and theirs – we deliver, they flounder.
So, the next time you drive over that bridge, smile to yourself and know that this bridge was built of, by and far Saint Lucians. We believe in our country and we believe in it’s people. Together, we can and we will fix the economic disaster handed to us by the failed UWP regime.