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Allen Chastanet U.W.P Political Leader Address to the nation
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Allen Chastanet U.W.P Political Leader Address to the nation

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National Address by the Newly Elected Political Leader of the United Workers Party of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet

National Address by the Newly Elected Political Leader of the United Workers Party of Saint Lucia Allen Chastanet

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    Allen Chastanet U.W.P Political Leader Address to the nation Allen Chastanet U.W.P Political Leader Address to the nation Document Transcript

    •   1   Address to the Nation by Mr. Allen Chastanet, Political Leader of the United Workers Party Wednesday, August 7th , 2013 Good  evening  fellow  St.Lucians.    On  behalf  of  all  those  who  stood   with  us,  worked  with  us,  prayed  with  us  and  shared  the  hopes  and   dreams  with  the  newly  elected  executive  of  our  great  Party,  we   are   honoured   and   humbled   to   accept   the   trust   which   you   have   placed  in  us.     Today   represents   the   beginning   of   a   new   day   for   the   United   Workers   Party   and   for   our   country.     Today   I   declare   that   the   United  Workers  Party  is  going  to  endeavour  to  leave  behind  the   partisan   politics   which   divides   us   and   which   prevents   us   from   realizing  our  full  potential  as  a  nation.    We  know  it  will  not  be  easy   and   we   know   that   this   requires   the   participation   of   the   other   political   parties   in   St.Lucia,   but   every   journey   starts   with   a   first   step.We   will   strive   to   honour   the   ideals   enshrined   by   our   great   founder  and  leader,the  late  Sir  John  Compton  who  refused  to  play   politics   when   it   came   to   the   development   of   this   country   and   whose  sole  mission  was  to  nurture  and  protect  the  public  interest   of  all  St.Lucians,  not  just  those  who  supported  his  party.    In  fact,  
    •   2   supporters   of   the   Labour   Party.     But   in   those   days,   we   talked   politics   and   disagreed   with   each   other   politely   and   civilly   -­‐   the   value  of  honest,  differences  of  views  and  honest  debate  prevailed   and  we  were  the  better  for  it.     Over  the  past  fifteen  years,  we  have  seen  a  marked  move  away   from  this,   in   a   party  winning,is  not  ideological  or  philosophical,  but  rather   personal   and   often,   selfish.     Party   hacks   abound,   and   they   are   often   rewarded   with   government   posts   both   here   and   abroad,   lucrative   contracts   and   other   benefits,   all   paid   for   by   us,   the   taxpayers.     And   it   is   we,   as   a   nation,   who   lose   out.     This   divisiveness  which  currently  defines  our  country,  and  which  places   us   into   red   and   yellow   camps,   must   stop.     It   does   nothing   to   further  our  cause  as  a  developing  nation,  and  it  erodes  the  civility   we   have   always   extended   to   each   other.   Frankly,   our   people   deserve  better  than  the  maypwee  and  personal  character  attacks   which   pass   for   political   discourse,   and   they   are   demanding,   rightly,  that  our  exchanges  be  about  real  issues  that  matter,  the   issues  which  affect  our  welfare,  as  a  nation,  and  as  a  people.    
    •   3   No  one  can  ever  replace  the  great  Sir  John  Compton,  but  we  can   seek  to  execute  the  master  plan,  his  vision,  for  our  great  country     a   country   where   every   St.   Lucian   has   access   to   education,   healthcare,   employment   and   a   chance   at   success.     This   is   the   vision  that  our  party  shares,  and  I  declare  to  you  today,  that  these   will   be   the   guiding   principles,   on   which   our   party   bases   its   philosophy  and  its  actions  moving  forward.     This  is  not  to  suggest  that  we  ought  not  support  whichever  party   we   wish,   in   fact,   this   is   our   constitutional   right   and   we   must   exercise  it,  but  we  must  exercise  it  in  a  manner  which  advances   ogress,  and  which  ultimately  leads  to  the   execution  of  goals,  which  make  a  better  life  for  us  and  a  brighter   future   for   our   children.     We   must   recognize   that   our   vote   is   a   privilege;  and  we  must  exercise  it  in  favour  of  those  individuals  or   that  party  which  we  feel  will  best  represent  our  national  interest,   and   we   must   recognize,   that   each   political   party   represents   merely,  a  different  set  of  ideological  and  philosophical  values  and   goals.    Demonizing  and  maligning  members  of  the  party,  we  do   not  support,  does  not  put  money  in  our  pockets  or  food  on  our   tables.     And   I   say   to   members   and   supporters   of   the   UWP,   the   Labour  Party  is  not  our  enemy,  Kenny  Anthony  is  not  our  enemy,  
    •   4   his  ministers  and  supporters  are  not  our  enemies.    But  we  do  have   enemies     and   our   enemies   are   poverty,   unemployment,   ignorance   and   apathy;   and   we   must   fight   those   enemies,   with   everything  we  have,  and  we  must  march  together  against  them   with  great  unity  of  purpose,  for  our  common  good.    And  where   we  differ   with  our  political  opponents,  in   this  case,  the  St.Lucia   Labour   Party,   we   must   take   action   to   question,   challenge   and   where  necessary,  oppose  any  proposed  measures  which  stand  in   d   right   now,  there  is  much  to  question,  much  to  challenge  and  much  to   oppose.     As  the  new  political  leader  of  the  United  Workers  Party,  I  count   myself   fortunate   to   represent   the   political   organization,   that   under  the  stewardship  of  Sir  John  Compton,  is  largely  responsible   for  the  modernization  of  the  St  Lucian  economy  and  the  evolution   of  social  services,  that  have  significantly  improved  the  quality  of   life  in  St.Lucia.  As  such,  at  this  time  when  St  Lucia  yearns  to  be   rescued  from  the  grip  of  a  Labour  Party  administration,  which  has   managed  to  turn  the  country  upside  down,  in  less  than  two  years,   the  patriots  of  our  land  can  today  find  comfort  in  the  commitment   of   the   UWP   to   complete   the   rescue   mission.   We   have   done   it  
    •   5   before    each  time  we  have  been  handed  the  task  of  cleaning  up   in  the  wake  of  a  Labour  Party  administration,  we  have  risen  to  the   challenge  and  have  left  the  country  in  a  better  position  than  we   found  it.  And  for  God  and  Country,  I  declare  that  we  stand  ready   to  do  it  again.     We  therefore  commit  ourselves,  and  the  membership  of  this  great   party,  to  a  new  order  of  leadership,  competence  and  courage,  in   the  cause  of  progressive  change,  for  our  beloved  nation.  This  is  by   no  means  just  a  call  to  help  win  votes  in  a  political  campaign  for   the  seat  of  government.  Much  more  than  that,  we  are  joining  our   UWP   brothers   and   sisters,   and   all  the   other   patriots   of   this  fair   land,in  a  crusade  to  restore  the  brightness  of  the  St  Lucian  spirit,   which  has  undoubtedly  dimmed  under  the  dictatorial  tyranny  of   the   Labour   Party.     Hopelessness   and   despair   have   replaced   optimism,   and   it   is   everywhere     and   when   this   sense   of   hopelessness   pervades   our   youth,   which   is   commonplace   nowadays,  we  know  we  need  to  change  something,  and  we  need   to  do  it  now.    The  business  community,  which  is  losing  members   seemingly   by   the   day,   now   finds   itself   without   an   ally   in   this   government,  and  we  are  all  paying  the  price.        
    •   6   Instead   of   offering   creative   and   innovative   solutions   to   the   economic  problems  which  plague  us,  and  to  the  ever-­‐rising  rate  of   unemployment,  the  Labour  Party  government  has  attempted  to   throw   dust   in   our   eyes   by   suggesting   that   it   has   created   employment   through   STEP,   NICE   and   Proud.   While   we   all   appreciate   the   need   for   these   social   programs,   they   cannot   replace  the  need   for  an  economic   plan.  More  importantly,  they   cannot  jump  start  the  economy.     Under   my   leadership,   and   the   leadership   of   our   newly   elected   executive,   within   the   coming   months,   the   UWP   will   offer   a   properly  structured,  well-­‐integrated,  visionary,  caring,  innovative,   and  agile  organization,  committed  to  the  good  governance  of  St   Lucia,  and  committed  to  the  renewal  of  the  country,  as  a  nation,   responsibly  earning  its  place  in  the  international  trade  of  goods   and   services,   and   delivering   the   greatest   good   for   the   greatest   number.     The  huge  demonstration  against  the  government  that  emerged  at   the  2013  Calypso  Season,  left  us  with  no  need  for  any  reminders   that  change  is  no  longer  an  option.  No  one  needs  to  be  fearful;  no   one  needs  to  feel  threatened.    Change  must  come  because  things  
    •   7   cannot   be   allowed   to   get   any   worse   than   they   are   right   now.     Every   day   that   we   become   weaker,   other   countries   become   stronger,   and   opportunities   which   present   themselves   today,   which  we  do  not  avail  ourselves  of,  may  not  present  themselves   tomorrow.    On  the  strong  shoulders  of  hope,  we  stand  for  change   that  will  ensure  that  this  proud  country  will  never  again  be  asked   ,       Many   moons   ago,   the   great   English   leader   Winston   Churchill   cautioned  against  the  mistake  of  opening  a  quarrel  between  the   present  and  the  past  and  thereby  face  the  danger  of  losing  the   future.  Like  Churchill   then,  our  concern  today  must   be  with  the   future.  For  the  world  has  changed,  and  continues  to  change,  and   many  of  the  things  we  used  to  do  in  nation  building,  will  simply   not  work  anymore.       Our  Party  and  our  Country  need  to  press  the  reset  button.  Our  call   today  is  for  everyone  who  has  lost  confidence,  who  is  fearful  of   the  future,  but  who  wants  something  better  -­‐  to  get  involved.  To   our  youth  who  are  disillusioned  with  the  political  process,  we  are   committed   to   erasing   your   frustrations   and   cynicism.   We   have   taken  the  vital  step  of   reactivating  the  Youth   Arm   of  our  party.  
    •   8   They  will  be  reaching  out  to  youth  around  the  island  in  the  coming   weeks  and  months  as  part  of  the  process  of  engagement.     We  cannot  soar  and  achieve  our  true  potential  as  a  people,  unless   we   address   the   issues   of   integrity,   efficiency   and   values   in   our   system   of   Governance.   The   main   business   of   any   Government   must  be  to  improve  the  standard  of  living  of  its  citizens  especially   with   the   poor   and   elderly.   The   trauma   experienced   by   all   Saint   Lucians  since  the  advent  of  those  false  prophets  who  promised  us    has  left  us  all  in  a  comatose   and  desperate  state.   The   economy   is   in   a   downward   slide,   a   fact   manifested   in   the   almost  weekly  loss  of  jobs,  through  lay-­‐offs,  redundancies  and  the   outright  collapse  of  business  operations.  In  this  small  closely-­‐knit   society,   most   of   us   can   relate   to   a   family   member,   friend   or   acquaintance  who  has  become  a  casualty  of  this  harsh  season  of       Our  collective  plight  has  not  been  helped  by  the  rigid  stance  of  an   insensitive  Government,  which  continues  with  its  cruel  policy  of   maintaining  VAT  on  medicines,    as  though  the  prices  on  medicines   are   not   high   enough,   and   unaffordable   to   many.   This,   despite   numerous   and   repeated   calls   by   medical   professionals   and   the  
    •   9   public,  for  its  removal.  We  would  like  to  place  the  Kenny  Anthony   Administration   on   notice,   the   United   Workers   Party   will   collaborate  with  civil  society  to  determine  a  collective  course   of   action.   We   have   as   a   Party   set   a   time   clock,   to   ensure   a   total   removal  of  VAT  on  all  medication  within  three  months.  Our  aim  is   to   see   the   removal   of   VAT   on   all   medicines,   thus   reducing   the   current  hardship  of  everyone,  but  especially  the  most  vulnerable.       We  along  with  many  others,  are  shocked  and  dismayed  that  the   Prime  Minister  has  yet  to  inform  the  Public  or  Parliament  on  our   commitments  to  ALBA.  We  have  only  read  through  Press  releases   by  ALBA  that  our  Government  has   decided   to  join   ALBA.   I  have   asked  the  Leader   of  the  Opposition  to  write  the  Prime  Minister   and  to  inquire  on  the  details  on  the  terms  of  this  agreement.  The   Prime  Minister  must  appreciate  that  if  he  is  obligating  St  Lucia  and   all   St   Lucians,   it   must   come   to   Parliament,   especially   if   we   are   borrowing  money.  Venezuela  has  recently  announced  a  change  in   terms  from  1%  to  4%  interest  rate,  and  from  40  years  to  20  years   for   re-­‐payment.   We   are   also   extremely   concerned   about   the   potential  fallout  with  our  traditional  partners  such  as  the  United   States,  the  United  Kingdom  and  the  OECS.  ALBA  members  have   agreed  to  expel  USAID,  support  Argentina  over  the  Falklands,  and  
    •   10   previous   commitments,  such  as  Rochamel  and   the  Grynberg  affair,  made   without   consultation   and   no   Parlimentary   approval,   continue   to   cost  the  taxpayers  of  St  Lucia  millions  of  dollars  and  contribute  to   our  increasing  debt  and  decline  in  our  financial  ratings.       Despite   a   number   of   calls   for   disclosure   the   Government   and   SLASPA  continue  to  remain  silent  on  the  recent  contract  award  for   the   building   of   a   Fixed   Base   Operation   (Private   Jet   Terminal)   at   Hewanorra   Airport.   We   will   continue   to   seek   answers   to   the   following  questions:-­‐     1. Did  the  review  panel   which  awarded   the  contract  comprise   persons  with  the  related  technical  competence?     2. What  was  the  composition  of  the  review  panel?       3. Did  the  composition  give  rise  to  any  conflict  of  interest?  and     4. Who  were  the  people  on  the  selection  panel?    
    •   11   Let   me   use   this   address,   to   request   answers   from   the   St   Lucia   Labour   Party   Government,   regarding   the   completion   of   the   St   Jude  Hospital  Reconstruction  Project.  Saint  Lucians  need  a  clear   pronouncement   on   this   matter.   After   almost   two   (2)   years   in   office,   the   Government   owes   us   all   a   clear   statement   on   the   conclusion  date  for   original   home.   We   are   concerned   that   the   Doctors,   Nurses   and   Admin   Staff   who   deserve   the   appreciation   of   all   of   us,   are   frustrated   and   reaching   their   end.   The   UWP   will   be   monitoring   developments  concerning  this  project  very  closely,  and  will  apply   the  necessary  pressures  on  behalf  of  the  people  of  the  South  for   answers.     In  order  to  move  forward,  we  must  align  ourselves  with  the  vision   of   becoming   the   best,   as   one   people   and   one   proud   nation,   enjoying   a   quality   of   life   that   is   internally   defined   and   not   externally  imposed.  Critically,  we  must  generate  the  wealth  that  is   necessary  to  fulfill  our  goals.  It  means  collectively  determining  key   goals   and   doing   what   we   have   to   do,   to   make   our   country   competitive.   At   the   same   time,   we   must   learn   to   prioritize   and   select   trade-­‐offs   carefully,   and   be   mind   full   of   our   mandate   to   balance  individual  needs  with  the  needs  of  the  society.  
    •   12     In  this  regard,  I  call  upon  the  present  administration  to  urgently   address  the  following  issues:-­‐     the  removal  of  VAT  on  ALL  reading  glasses  for  senior  citizens;     the  removal  of  VAT  on  all  medication;     revisiting  VAT  generally  with  a  view  to  a  reducing  the  rate     what   is   the   present   status   of   the   Hewanorra   International   Airport  Project;     full  disclosure  on  how  much  money  was  collected  on  behalf   of  the  proposed  HIA  Project;     where  is  the  money  presently  and  how  much  of  it,  if  any,  has   been  spent  and  on  what;     it   is   true   that   a   direct   award   has   been   given   for   the   resurfacing   of   the   runway   at   the   Hewanorra   International   Airport;  
    •   13     the  status  of  the  Castries  Re-­‐development  Project  in  light  of   the  Memorandum  of  Understanding  (MOU)  signed  in  2011;     very  important,  what  is  the  status   of  Post  Hurricane  Tomas   reconstruction  projects;    and     its  reopening     We  must  step  up  and  step  forward  for  what  is  best  for  all  of  us.   We  want  to  join  hands,  hearts  and  minds  so  that  together  we  can:       eliminate   distrust,   wastage,   selfishness,   corruption   and   apathy.   take   responsibility   for   our   future   and   demand   more   from   ourselves  and  our  leaders.   create  a  common  vision  of  what  our  country  can  and  must   become  so  we  can  all  live  a  better  life.   eradicate  poverty  and  illiteracy.   embrace   democracy   and   appreciate   the   opportunity   it   affords  us;  and  
    •   14   accept  the  need  for  individual  and  collective  responsibility.     The  United  Workers  Party  pledges  to  you,  today,  its  firm  support   to   fight   back   against   any   measures   proposed   by   the   St.   Lucia   Labour  Party  Government,  which  is  not  in  the  best  interest  of  all   St.Lucians.  We  stand  ready  to  provide,  that  which  is  sorely  lacking   in  this  present  administration,  which  is  good  governance,  a  vision   and  the  ability  to  deliver.     Thank  you;  God  Bless  you,  and  God  bless  St.  Lucia.