Following strong criticism from Senator Philip La Corbiniere, UWP leader Allen Chastanet has denied being part of a protesting crowd on Tuesday. Chastanet had been accused of “unacceptable” behaviour and of being part of an unruly crowd which the UWP leader did nothing to calm down. However, observers say that the “crowd”, which amounted to fewer than ten, was not unruly, contrary to La Corbiniere’s claims, and was involved in some heckling outside the House of Assembly on Tuesday.
Regarding allegations that members of the crowd made threats to parliamentarians, the UWP leader said he did not hear any such threats. The House of Assembly met on Tuesday when Papers and Bills were presented by the Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Planning and Social Security Kenny Anthony, the Honourable Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs Emma Hippolyte, the Honourable Member for Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries, Co-operatives and Rural Development Moses Jn Baptiste and the Honourable Minister for Health, Wellness, Human Services and Gender Relations Alvina Reynolds.
In responding to La Corbiniere’s stance that “such behaviour” will not be tolerated, Allen Chastanet told the media that the people were speaking for themselves. He called on the government to wake up to the reality of an unemployment level of twenty five percent generally and fifty percent among young people. Chastanet also criticized the state of health care and the decline of small businesses.
“I think it would be a very sad day for Saint Lucia if we were to stand up and accept what La Corbiniere is saying, that people are going to be silenced and intimidated,” the UWP leader opined adding that it was sad that the National Security Minister, who is a lawyer and ought to understand democracy, could make the statements that he did.
Speaking to the media ahead of a Senate meeting on Thursday the National Security Minister Victor La Corbiniere issued a warning to Allen Chastanet that if he encourages a breakdown of law and order, he will be held accountable. The minister charged that Chastanet was “part and parcel” of the crowd outside the House on Tuesday.