Idle words can break bones!

UWP Political Leader Allen Chastanet.

UWP Political Leader Allen Chastanet.

There is no room in politics for good boys!” Unforgettable words from a possibly forgettable Doddy Francis when he was attorney general and a doomed candidate in the 2011 general elections.

On the other hand others have issued similarly cockeyed remarks in Saint Lucia’s only officially honorable House and from political platforms and survived.

But more often than not we the people have paid for our over-generosity, not to say stupidity, when the elected-regardless repay us with palpable contempt. Is it any wonder too many of our politicians refuse to hold themselves accountable to us?

We at the STAR would love nothing better than to always treat our readers to the success stories of our young sons and daughters, to tell you some of the wonderful things they are doing.  Alas, too often we must devote our time and columns to being the society’s watch dogs, to bringing the truth to light in the best interests of our nation’s immediate future.

Over the last several weeks we have heard quite a few callous pronouncements coming from  the mouths of our elected officials. For instance, there was that episode two Sundays aback, at an SLP meeting in Laborie.

Feeling quite comfortable at home, the Foreign Affairs Minister Alva Baptise, in the course of delivering a windy diatribe about Allen Chastanet, shockingly said: “Over my dead body will Allen Chastanet become prime minister of this country.”

Did he mean to say Chastanet or a supporter would first have to kill him? Or that he was ready to die in the process of keeping Chastanet from achieving his political goals?

No matter how you cut it, and especially in these times of conflict, police problems and unresolved murders, what an irresponsible statement from an MP, a father, a supposedly higher echelon member of the citizenry sworn to protect us from precisely such threatening talk!

Need I add what Saint Lucia is going through on the international scene: visa requirements recently imposed for criminal behavior in Canada; near dead US/police relations; damning reports of human rights violations. Certainly Saint Lucians would prefer their foreign affairs to be primarily  concerned about such

Last Friday it was Soufriere MP Harold Dalson’s turn to have a go at the recently elected UWP leader—with scores of IPhones and other recording devices on hand.

According to Dalson in a televised interview after the fact, he had merely walked across to Chastanet to shake his hand and ask what was he doing in Soufriere. Chastanet reacted with an insulting remark, said Dalson. And following the old tradition of making things right by combining two wrongs, Dalson, in his own words, responded “in kind.”  In the presence of his constituents and other bystanders, young and not so young, “Dalson cursed Chastanet out!”  with a barrage comprising words beginning with F!

If anyone expected an apology from the above, they had good reason to think again.

Just two days following the Soufriere Bridge episode, during a Canaries constituency group meeting, the prime minister and leader of the SLP took his own swipe at Allen by threatening his father businessman Michael Chastanet and describing him a has-been. Alas, he did not say what kind of has been. According to Kenny Anthony, for nine years he had wasted time listening to Chastanet Snr: “There is nothing more that Michael Chastanet can say. His time is over,” said the prime minister with his usual flair.

What exactly was his message? That Michael Chastanet’s days as a businessman are numbered? Or was there some insinuation related to what Baptiste had earlier said with reference to the younger Chastanet’s chances of making prime minister?

Is that why the business community is silent despite its economic problems? Are they scared of what the prime minister might further visit upon their heads after VAT?

Before he was through the prime minister issued from his platform what many have interpreted as a threat delivered in creole: “By all means it’s his son, so support him, get involved. It’s your son, but stay at a distance. Stay away from that. Be a smart father. You are a major shareholder in a major company CFL. Behave yourself! When you decide that you are going to put your hat in the ring to play politics then you have to expect that the Labour Party will handle you as a politician!”

I seem to recall the father of Lorne Theophilus openly campaigning for his son in the 2011 elections. What might the SLP leader had said, had anyone issued a similar threat to George Theohilus, however veiled?

At a time when the Government has no answers to the unemployment situation, was the prime minister threatening to use his office to victimize a major employer?

Please don’t say it’s all politics and not to be taken seriously. Our people certainly deserve better from our elected leaders.

Meanwhile we wait to hear more concrete pronouncements on the Grynberg affair, ALBA, the police and such as Le Paradis.  It would also be welcomed if the prime minister, after two years in office, would convene a press conference perchance to answer some of the nation’s more pressing questions.

Failure to do so will only lead to more foolish utterances. We would much prefer to fill our columns with the achievements of our people, including our politicians!


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