Sunday 26 January, 2020

Overwhelming Support as MPs Pledge Confidence Once Again in PM - OPM

The House of Assembly spoke loud and clear from Tuesday through the wee hours of Wednesday January 30th 2019 when Government MPs strongly reiterated their unequivocal support for, and confidence in, Prime Minister Honourable Allen Michael Chastanet. The failure of the Opposition’s Motion comes just two years after the St. Lucia Labour Party was voted out of office in favour of the United Workers Party on June 06th 2016.

Eleven MPs, out of 17, voted a resounding “no” following a day-long debate on a No-Confidence Motion in the Prime Minister presented by the Leader of the Opposition Honourable Philip J. Pierre and which called for the resignation of the Prime Minister. The Motion was unambiguously shut down as each Member was called on to register his and her vote.

Several MPs also rose spoke in support of Prime Minister Chastanet, stating that Saint Lucia was finally beginning to show true signs of recovery after years of significantly low growth. MPs spoke to the road rehabilitation programme, the upsurge in the tourism industry, the rehabilitation of schools, the decrease in unemployment, the support to the police force, projects for the south of the island and the renewed investor confidence in Saint Lucia as a whole.

MP for Choiseul and Minister for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise Development and Consumer Affairs, Honourable Bradley Felix, spoke about the caring nature of the Prime Minister and the investments the Government has made in the rehabilitation of schools, the maintenance of the roads and the extensive road rehabilitation programme and the investments in the equipment for the police and in measures to tackle crime such as the reopening of the Forensic Lab.

“The people are no longer blind, the people can see what is being done on the ground,” MP Felix told the House of Assembly. “We need to know and let our people believe that their life can change. I know all what the Prime Minister is doing in particular for the south of the island where there is significant unemployment and significant poverty, is to elevate the life and the standard of our people. There are now opportunities for Saint Lucians to become their own bosses. There are now opportunities to become entrepreneurs, to be masters of our own fates.”

MP Felix challenged MPs to raise the level of debate in the House and ended: “I have every confidence in the Honourable Allen Chastanet as Prime Minister and that this vote of no confidence is a sham.”

Parliamentary Representative for Micoud North and Minister for Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Honourable Gale TC Rigobert, explained to the House of Assembly the dismal state of schools which was found following June 2016.

“The Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School,” began Dr. Rigobert. “A school that does very, very well. The Alma Mater of some people in this very Chamber. When I walked that compound teachers and students alike said to me ‘Minister termites fall into our school bags, into our lunch boxes and into our hair.’ By the time I got to Castries and I had engaged this Prime Minister, he said go ahead and do what you need to do . . . The termites preceded us but it was this Prime Minister who gave us the resources to rehabilitate that block. That was outside of the ten million that he gave later on in the year to address similar issues in other schools around the country. You don’t have to be a parent, you don’t have to be a teacher or have a child in school to feel uncomfortable in the core of your being when you see the condition of the schools we inherited. But this Prime Minister, Allen Michael Chastanet, made it a priority and pumped $10 million in one summer.”

Dr. Rigobert also reminded the Chamber of several other areas under her portfolios where Prime Minister Chastanet had supported efforts to improve the circumstances of Saint Lucians and expressed her immense disappointment in the Opposition Motion before the House.

“The intellectual dishonesty that was displayed here today was vomitus and I am saying to the people of Saint Lucia, you can read, you can write, you can speak English, you can understand Creole, open your ears and your eyes. Open your eyes, in particular, so that you can see for yourselves the work that we have started to do and you can see in time more of what is to come. That is why I stand here and I say that this Prime Minister is leading this flock of builders because we have hope, because we see new opportunity and we know that we can begin to set Saint Lucia on a prosperous path that will benefit all Saint Lucians.”

Castries Central MP, and minister with responsibility for External Affairs, Honourable Sarah Flood Beaubrun, spoke to the Prime Minister and the Government’s plans for the health care system including the introduction of National Health Insurance and the completion of the Saint Jude Hopsital.

“A hospital is not just the walls,” the Minister explained. “Everything has to be technically done so that it can perform the functions. They are saying just do this and just throw Chemico there and just put the people in there. But we are saying we will make sure it is a first class hospital fit for purpose . . . This Prime Minister has pledged his commitment to seeing to it that we have National Health Insurance. So we will not just have the building and have the equipment, the people will be able to access the services.”

Minister Flood-Beaubrun, who has served in various Governments and various positions ended by stating: “I have served under a number of Prime Ministers and I have to say and I believe I am in a position to say that this is the Prime Minister I have seen who best and most empowers his ministers and encourages creativity . . . I have to say what an honour it is to serve in the Cabinet led by the Honourable Prime Minister.”

Minister Beaubrun urged PM Chastanet to continue to steer the ship and not be distracted.

“This Motion came here because they are scared of all the good work we are doing. They saw the PM’s delivery of his New Year Address; they saw promise, they saw, if they allowed the Prime Minister to continue there is not hope for them at the next election.”

Also speaking against the Motion was MP for Anse la Raye/Canaries and Minister for Tourism, Information and Broadcasting, Culture and Creative Industries, Honourable Dominic Fedee and MP for Babonneau and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Honourable Ezechiel Joseph. MP for Castries South East Honourable Guy Joseph stated unambiguously that he rejected everything in the no confidence Motion as he line by line explained and pointed out that the Motion was lacking in fact or any substance.

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