The United Workers Party (UWP) is describing Thursday’s protest march as a success, even though it would appear that the numbers were not as great as the UWP’s orange protest march held earlier this year. Hundreds turned out on Thursday in support of the march which was led by the UWP’s political leader Allen Chastanet. The purpose was to show the dissatisfaction with the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration and what the UWP leader described as their “bad economic policies.” Protesters also expressed their displeasure with a myriad of issues plaguing the country. Among the grievances highlighted by the various speakers during a rally on the William Peter Boulevard, where the march culminated, were high unemployment, the cost of living, escalating crime, and the police.
The protest march began at the Vigie field around 5 p.m. with hundreds of party supporters displaying placards, T-shirts and banners. Joining the march were high ranking party members: the MP for Castries South East Guy Joseph, Opposition Leader Gale Rigobert and Guy Mayers. Notably absent was former prime minister and MP for Castries North East Stephenson King. King had earlier told the media that he would not be joining the march even though he supported the purpose “in principle.”
Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, who will be challenging Chastanet for leadership of the party at its convention in November, made her presence felt. Standing close by her side was Andre Matthew who will be vying for the position of deputy political leader.
Chants of “Kenny must go” and “We want Chastanet” could be heard as the protesters marched past the Government buildings on the Castries waterfront.
During the rally on the William Peter Boulevard, which was chaired by Nancy Charles, several speakers took to the podium articulating the various issues with which they were dissatisfied. Speakers included a very animated Guy Joseph, who probably drew the most applause from supporters, as well as Allen Chastanet who appeared a lot more refined than he was during the march earlier this year.
Other speakers included Senator Mary Isaac, who will be contesting the Castries South seat, Gale Rigobert, Senator Ezechiel Joseph and Edmund Estephan.