Kenny makes a public confession!

Is Opposition Leader Kenny Anthony finally listening to the voice of the people? (Photo: Bill Mortley)

Being in opposition has been a humbling experience for Opposition Leader Kenny Anthony. The stunning revelation came as he addressed the tripartite launching of SLP candidates in the Castries basin. His candid admission that “being in opposition has served me well!” is one I have been waiting and longing to hear for a very long time.
Last Sunday, speaking at a mass public meeting dubbed “painting the city red,” the Opposition Leader said that being in opposition had allowed him the opportunity to listen to the cries of the people. Ostensibly, his opposition sojourn afforded him the grounding with the masses that he took for granted upon the assumption of political office the last time around. If this is not simply a vote catching gimmick, then Kenny must be highly commended for this soul surrendering admission. This attempt, no matter how late, at making this public confession, suggests that he may now be prepared to listen to the voice of the people.
There are those of us, myself in particular, who have been vilified as being anti-SLP simply because we have had the courage and the cojones to stand by our convictions concerning Kenny’s extremely poor management of party business. Some of us party comrades have been critical of Kenny, based on our honest convictions about his waywardness in the leadership of the Labour Party, particularly his notorious neglect of party stalwarts, who reacted by distancing themselves from the SLP as December 2006 approached.
We believe strongly that the St. Lucia Labour Party during the its last two terms, and under the leadership of Dr. Kenny Anthony in particular, went astray from the core values, beliefs and principles of George Charles’ Etoile party, the only true Party of the workers in St Lucia. It got so bad that there were even suggestions at one point that the Party’s historical theme, “Bread, Justice, Freedom” should be changed.
Evidently the SLP’s closet millionaires created during Labour’s nine years in power had come to sneer and lift their highfalutin nostrils at the people’s prayer. This is just how badly the Party had drifted away from the path and the struggle of the common man.
With a 16-1 victory in 1997, the Labour Party was given a tremendous, historic and unprecedented mandate to drastically improve the lives of working St. Lucians, but instead, tens of millions of dollars were thrown down the Frenwell deep black hole, not to mention the bold financial mismanagement at the NCA, that found Kenny fiddling and pussyfooting with the NCA Manager and others there, instead of taking the sort of action that prime ministers and ministers of finance are duty and morally bound to take in the handling of the business of the national economy.
The former Prime Minister behaved as if those brothers and sisters who raised the issues of poor and corrupt financial management were Public Enemy Numero Uno!! It is comforting to know that at least the SLP leader is beginning to understand that when people vote for change, their will must be done! On this road to rehabilitation, Dr Anthony will do well to remember that political power is not an inheritance from Massa, but rather a temporary bestowal of confidence from the masses to cherish and to keep in trust. It should be aimed at fostering the development, not of a specific group of butt-kissing Party loyalists, but rather, all the supporters of the party and all the people of St. Lucia, no matter their political affiliations and opinions. “Massa day done” a long time ago in St. Lucia.
In this new age of iphones and tablet technology, leadership requires boldness, innovation and vision. It calls for leaders who can think completely out of the box and elevate the people’s imagination to much higher plateaux of political and economic thought and action. The old style politricking must give way to a brand new orientation, where party colors are not used as divisive mechanisms. Let us face the truth squarely and honestly that the problems that confront our country today are too numerous and too overwhelming to be solved by any one political party or any one leader.
Our challenges require the consolidated and united effort of the entire St. Lucian population. If political parties, as single entities, had all the solutions, then it is reasonable to assume that we would not be in our current mess. If solving the crime problem was the sole private domain of the SLP or the UWP, then we would not still be living in fear. The UWP promised during the last election to combat the crime crisis and it has failed miserably. The SLP while in office faced the scourge and it too came up lacking, with few workable solutions. The evidence is clear that there is a need for new avenues of inter-Party cooperation and collaboration to resolve the challenges of our menacing future.
So it cannot be business as usual. If we begin on the assumption that we all, both parties — King and Kenny, have the best interest of the country at heart, then we will begin to see the problems from different, enlightening perspectives. We will begin to understand that while there may be differences of opinion on how to fix the problems, there must be a common approach that can be embraced by both parties. For too long in this country, decisions are made based on the narrow and self-serving political interests of respective political parties. Crime fighting calls for a joint strategy that will be sustainable through successive administrations. That is the reason why the opposition and the government must begin the dialogue now, and plans and programs agreed upon must be implemented immediately. We must not allow the loss of more innocent lives if united action can stop the killing on our streets.
So, I welcome Kenny’s platform confession as the beginning of a new way of thinking and an admission that he is now prepared to listen attentively to the voice of the people. The people are calling for immediate consultation between the government and the opposition. There are those who are advising him not to heed the call. It is my view that he must not accept this advice for it will be a strategic political blunder. The opposition must get to the table with its own crime fighting measures as quickly as possible.

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