Pip’s plan to challenge Kenny?

Did Castries East MP Philip J Pierre (L) yet again take a back seat to SLP leader Kenny Anthony?

Little did they know the evil that men do in dark will one day be Wikileaked!” Thus pronounced former Housing Minister Richard Frederick in his televised address on Sunday, minutes before he announced his resignation from Stephenson King’s Cabinet of Ministers.
The reference alluded to information surfacing in the public domain via the Wikileaks website that fanned the flames of controversy surrounding the Castries Central MP.
The leaked United States cables make for interesting reading and features a number of St Lucian public figures without their faces on.  While perusing the cables, one document caught our eye: 07BRIDGETOWN464, ST LUCIA-PIERRE REACHING FOR SLP HELM.
Castries East MP Philip J Pierre is currently one of the longest serving parliamentarians in the House of Assembly and is the Deputy Leader of the island’s main opposition faction, the St Lucia Labour Party.  He served as deputy prime minister during the previous Labour Party administration and was also Minister for Tourism, Investment, Commerce and Consumer Affairs.
According to the Wikileaks cable, during a March 30, 2007 private conversation with a US Embassy official, Pierre “shared his views on the future of this party and evaluated his potential competitors in the ruling United Workers Party (UWP).”
The cable revealed that Pierre “admitted that he plans to challenge Kenny Anthony for leadership of the SLP at the party’s October convention.”
Described in the cable as a “savvy politician,” Philip J Pierre was “looking to usurp the reins of leadership at the party’s October convention.”
When asked who would be poised to contest the leadership of the party, the cable says “Pierre stated emphatically that he is the only possible competitor and later intimated that he is planning to make such a challenge.”
According to Wikileaks, Pierre “clarified that Dr Anthony would remain in politics if he successfully retains leadership of the party.”  The cable continues: “It was clear from the conversation that Pierre intends to and believes he can take the mantle from Anthony.”
Dr Kenny Anthony returned to St Lucia after leaving his position as Consul General at the CARICOM Secretariat to become political leader of the SLP in 1996 and has held on to that position even now.
The last paragraph of the cable attempts to analyze the political microcosm that is the Labour Party: “Many observers believe that a change in the opposition SLP’s leadership is likely to occur long before any changes in the UWP; most analysts are surprised Anthony has maintained his position this long, given that he bears the brunt of the blame for losing the election.  Come October, the SLP will likely be looking to Pierre to revive the party’s fortunes.”
The STAR contacted the Castries East MP yesterday to confirm or dispute the cable’s authenticity. Should he confirm the contents of the cable, we were curious to know whether he did in fact follow through with his intentions at the party’s October convention.  If not, why not?
When the subject was broached, Pierre said he had “several discussions with people,” and wanted to know more about what the cited cables had said about him.
Finally he said, “I rather not comment on anything that is in Wikileaks.  I rather not get involved in that.  I have more pressing things to see about.  I have to win my seat.  I don’t get involved in these things.  My main objective now is to get back into parliament and get re-elected for Castries East and get the St Lucia Labour Party in government.”
He was adamant that, “I [am] not getting diverted.”
We asked again, “Did the conversation take place?”
He responded, “I will stay focused.  I just want to win my seat.”
We continued to press.                 He said finally: “That happened in 2006, 2007. I don’t want to get involved in that now.  My focus now is to win my seat.  That’s all I’m interested in.  That is my sole purpose.”

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