St Lucians Vote for Change: Philip J. Pierre Is St Lucia’s New Prime Minister

My Mary Campbell, Special to CAW

St Lucians Vote for Change: Philip J. Pierre Is St Lucia’s New Prime Minister

CASTRIES, St. Lucia:  Saint Lucians voted for a change of government in General Elections on Monday, 26 July 2021. According to the preliminary results issued by the Saint Lucia Electoral Department, the opposition Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP), led for the first time by Philip J. Pierre, captured 13 of the 17 seats at stake. Leader Philip J. Pierre will be sworn as St. Lucia’s new Prime Minister.

The incumbent United Workers Party (UWP) of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet only retained two seats, with Chastanet keeping his Micoud-South seat.

Two independent labor candidates Stephenson King and Richard Frederick comfortably won their seats. Richard Fredrick in Castries Central and Stephen King, former UWP candidate, and Prime Minister, ran as an Independent in Castries North, alluding to several issues with the UWP. King, who has held the Castries North constituency for nearly three decades, faced a challenge from Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre, whose father, the late Henry Giraudy, was a founding member of the Party. The widow of the late Sir John Compton, founding member of UWP, and former Prime Minister for over 30 years, Janice Compton, supported King’s candidacy in a video released by the local press.

SLP leader Philip J. Pierre, speaking on Choice TV, said that he was “elated” thanking also his supporters in Castries East, who ensured that he won the seat for the sixth consecutive occasion. He amassed a total of 3700 votes, 1877 better than his nearest rival.

“Here we are; we have won the government, and I intend to be a government for the entire country. A government of inclusion, a government that will listen to people, a government of tolerance, and we are hoping to take this country all the way from…the division and conflict it is in now.”

Pierre told viewers that the priority of his administration would be health, education, and particularly the young people.

“The youth economy was the flagship of our Party, and I can assure you …we have to get our young people back on stream to feel included.

“So it is exciting times, we know there are challenges, the country has over four billion dollars (One EC dollar-US $0.37) worth of debts,” Pierre said, adding “most of all the country is divided, it is unsettled.

“The country is bitter. There is a bitter taste in the mouths of the people of the country, so we have to sort that out. So tonight, I will go celebrate with my constituents. They mean everything to me. They stuck by me, they have been maligned, but they stuck by me.

“This time is my sixth victory. I haven’t known what I won by, but it is a huge margin,” Pierre said, “thanking my opponents…the better man won.”

Ousted Prime Minister Chastanet said the results of Monday’s general elections that resulted in his Party’s suffering a landslide defeat has come as a “shock.”  However, he remains optimistic that the policies and programs initiated by his Government over the last five years would put St Lucia “on the right foot to true progress.”

In his message, the outgoing Prime Minister thanked all the supporters “who stood with me and our government in this election and over the last five years. We have stayed focused and strong.”

He expressed his gratitude for their prayers, and it was a privilege to serve them as Prime Minister.

“It was also a special honor to serve with a remarkable team of men and women. I am proud of the slate we put forward during this campaign,” he said. He added, “I believe that everything we have done is to put St Lucia on the right footing to true progress, and our policies will continue to benefit St Lucians from all walks of life.

“If there is one thing that remains true as you look around our island, is the work of the UWP is present in both our country’s physical development and the development of our people.

“I know the results came as a shock to many of you; still, I call on you pridefully to continue to hold the torch up high. We will take time to heal, regroup and keep the Flambeau flame burning,” Chastanet said. “No one person can define our historic Party for us,” he added.

“We know in our hearts the core values that have carried us through: honesty, respect, teamwork, and commitment,” he said, confirming that he has since called Pierre “to congratulate him, and I wish him the best.”

“The United Workers Party is bigger than any one person. We all love this country. Let us pray for peace and tranquillity in St Lucia, as we do our part as good citizens to see progress continue. Stay strong, stay united. May God continue to bless our island home.”

More than 160,000 registered voters cast ballots on Monday to elect a new government in St. Lucia with the two main political parties: the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) led by Allen Chastanet and the opposition St. Lucia Labor Party (SLP) led by Philip J. Pierre.

Apart from the two major parties, the newly formed Green National Party (GNP) fielded eight candidates.

The polls were monitored by observer teams from the Commonwealth, the Organization of American States, and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

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