September 25, 2006



The speculation is over. Dr. Vaughn Lewis, former Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) and Prime Minister joined the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) boldly stating that things are better on the SLP side than on the UWP. Only time will tell but it seems he has earned the wrath of many. One thing is certain in St. Lucia is that elections will be free and fair and most important free from fear. So in the end everyone would have been free to exercise their franchise or withhold it. That is the choice everyone makes. I believe that every citizen should utilize the right to vote or not to vote but the overriding fact remains that it is only by voting that you at least indicate the direction you wish your country to go. It is against this background that I am convinced that a serious BRING OUT THE VOTE campaign should be mounted.

Both major political parties have showed off their muscles with massive motorcades in recent weeks, SLP 12/9/06 and UWP16/9/06 and the trend will continue. The UWP Motorcade and Rally in View Fort saw one of the biggest crowds assembled at a political Rally in St. Lucia. That is the constituency of Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, Leader of the SLP and current Prime Minister, and everyone is looking forward to the response from the SLP. However, the circumstances will be different as unlike the UWP which launched its opposing Candidate – Dr. Ulric Mondesir in the Vieux Fort South Constituency, the SLP will not be launching candidates when it holds its Rally in Vieux Fort as Dr. Anthony will be contesting the seat for the third consecutive time.

This is a very interesting period in the political development of St. Lucia as both major parties have brought on board several new faces, the SLP has done an almost complete remake with some very outstanding young men joining the ranks. The SLP is consistent in ensuring a strong presence of professional, community minded, youthful candidates while the UWP seems to be going after experience, in many instances bringing back into the equation experienced politicians.

What is at stake in this general election? Although things on the surface have never been better in St. Lucia there seems to be a state of restlessness and dissatisfaction, enough is not filtering down to the masses. However, the country is still in transition from an agricultural dependent economy to a services based economy. Although TRANSITION is no longer a buzz word, it is very applicable in today’s situation, as the process continues. Many farmers are now construction workers while many housewives are hotel workers. The UWP is hoping that the current level of dissatisfaction will create a ground swell of support that will catapult them to victory at the upcoming elections. In the final analysis, it all boils down to which party can be trusted to deliver on their campaign promises and ensure economic prosperity for the next five years.

The mood on the ground which echoes that of a vocally dissatisfied electorate cannot be taken for granted that it would be translated into a win for the UWP. There are some very interesting constituencies where some could be considered safe but it seems that a toss up is possible in quite a few and as usual everybody’s candidate is a winner until the ballots are counted. The next few weeks are going to be very interesting, especially when the date is announced for elections and the gates are opened and the race truly commences. The UWP will be announcing its full slate of candidates by the time this issue goes to press. In my next article, I promise to give you the list of confirmed candidates for both parties.

I cannot over emphasise the point that the candidates that are able to get out their voters will be the victors as it is very clear from the last poll in 2001, there were very low turn out in many constituencies, a situation which must be reversed if the electorate is to have a real say in the final results of the polls. The same could be said of the Central Castries Bye – Elections in 2006. Voter apathy should be worked on, so as to get the electorate to vote. So it is very important that the actors in civil society get to work in all earnest to bring out the vote.

During my stint in the Guyana elections, I was told that the party with the most money and dominance in advertising wins the elections. It was true in Guyana, could the same scenario play out in the St. Lucia elections? Only time will tell, stay tuned.

Remember always, God is in charge, just keep the Faith!!!

Email: eaharrisdestiny@gmail.com

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