I am Allen Chastanet’s wife. Okay, not really. But trust me, I am going somewhere with this.
Raquel DuBoulay-Chastanet is in a unique position. She is the actual wife of the newly minted leader of the United Workers Party and former tourism minister Allen Chastanet.
An attorney, she is also the business partner of Michelle Anthony-Desir, who just happens to be the daughter of Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. With the political sea constantly churning about her, it might be expected that DuBoulay- Chastanet is a veteran of the convention scene. Not so!
After it had been confirmed on Sunday in Marigot that her husband had trounced Stephenson King to grab hold of the UWP’s reigns, Mrs Chastanet faced a horde of reporters hungry for sound bites. Properly turned out in a pale yellow blouse, she shyly but politely obliged.
“I think up until this point I had not really granted myself the luxury of anticipating that he would win. I’ve not been involved in the conventions or most of the politics leading up to this point but we’ll see what tomorrow brings and what my role if any demands.”
“I’m starting to get ready. Today has been a big wake up call for me. It’s my first political convention and I think most people in the party know that generally I stay away from all things political but I do have to play a different role now and obviously I support
my husband 100 percent and I support what he is trying to do for St Lucia.”
Immediately my ears perked up. I felt like I had at last found a kindred spirit: someone else in this paint palette of mustard, canary, and lemon who had managed to escape making this revered pilgrimage until now. Another person who did not worship at the altar of all things bureaucratic. A politician’s wife!
The demands of my job had taken me to the Marigot Secondary School that afternoon in the blistering heat to cover, I admit, something that I usually treat with indifference, loathing and at times even contempt: politics.
Smarmy is the word that comes to mind when I think of politicians; slick, unethical creatures genetically programmed to promise the impossible. It is understood that some problems are systemic and a solution may be far beyond the grasp of even the best intentioned official, however that doesn’t stop first-time candidates and career handshakers from waxing poetic about their ability to achieve the superhuman. It is a refined skill which in its purest form is known as lying.
Surely I am not the only one who is wary of the unofficial political pundits that pop up on every street corner offering their inimitable perspective and lofty insights into the campaigns and resulting imbroglios. Here is the in-depth analysis tendered on TV by one such individual in the aftermath of Sunday’s figurative bloodbath.
“Basically there isn’t any change, really. Because I wouldn’t say that Chastanet is better than Kenny or Kenny either [His words not mine]. I think what Chastanet did was, he ‘copycatted’ what Kenny said in the last elections. He said to take King out of power and put SLP and everything’s gonna be alright. As we know everything is not alright now in St Lucia. St Lucia is suffering under Labour pains. So Chastanet just basically used the
same formula. He said to take out King from the head of the UWP and put him in at the head and everything will be alright. Well that is left to see!”
There is nothing more grating to me than watching grown men and women way-lay-laying, as John Compton would say, and crying on the Castries market steps as
their favourites proselytize. Even less endearing are the unsolicited public displays of affection as they try to plant kisses and hugs on the reluctant recipients.
Entire families have been torn apart by partisan politics. A friend told me
about the last general election where her cousin called to berate her at work, acting
on a suspicion that she had betrayed the family by (gasp) voting against their wishes. Although, to be fair, this is the same family that has had a lingering feud over a mango. I am all for being opinionated but not to the point where one starts to resemble a sheep heading to the slaughter: blind and unquestioning.
The whole process and the surrounding circus had always been unappealing to me.
Which is why I was less than thrilled to be plucked out of my Sunday bliss for this drivel. And which is also why I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mrs Chastanet, for her own reasons, had notbeen among the fervent followers – til now? Just a woman doing her wifely thing.