For the first time in the political history of Saint Lucia, the public was invited to the swearing in of government ministers. On June 6, 2016 the United Workers Party led by Allen Chastanet swept the elections from the Saint Lucia Labour Party, winning 11 seats in parliament to the SLPs 6 seats.
After taking the oath of office on June 7, prime minister Allen Chastanet through his communications office announced plans to host the swearing in ceremony in Vieux Fort as a testimony to the commitment to decentralize national events and also focus on development outside of Castries and Gros Islet.
On Tuesday June 14, thousands flocked to the Phillip Marcelin Grounds in Vieux Fort to witness the swearing in and to learn first hand which parliamentarian and senator would be mandated with the various portfolios.
The ceremony was attended by several members of the diplomatic corps, as well as the prime minister of St. Kitts & Nevis Timothy Harris, former prime minister of St. Vincent Sir James Mitchel, Grenadian Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and Yan Monplaisir Vice President of Martinique. The activity was also interspersed with several prayers and songs of praise and worship by the likes of Shirley Anne Cyril –Mayers and Worship Chorus.
Following the appointment of senators and the swearing in of the Cabinet, prime minister Allen Chastanet delivered a moving speech to the audience.
“This evening is a very important milestone and step for my new government. It was very important for us that we continued something that we started some months ago and that of the people’s parliament,” he started off by saying. “And I felt it would have been wrong of us as a new government to forget where we came from. We would not be here today taking the oath of allegiance to Saint Lucia if it were not for you and I thank you,” he said to resounding applause.
The prime minister went on to say that the South had suffered long enough despite presenting the greatest opportunity for growth. He announced plans to improve the NICE program and afford residents of the South opportunities for skills training in Vieux Fort. He also disclosed that with his ministers responsible for Tourism and Ports, he was in talks with Carnival Cruise Lines for the development of a new pier in Vieux Fort among other things.