St Lucia Opposition Leader Phillip J. Pierre (FILE)
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CASTRIES – The leader of the main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), Phillip J. Pierre says he will file a motion of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
“We are preparing the motion and we are going to be sending it to the Speaker and from that point it depends on the Speaker to give us a date to hear the motion,” Pierre told a news conference, adding that for the motion to succeed, it must receiving the support of nine legislators in the 17-member parliament.
The ruling United Workers Party (UW), which won the June 6, 2016 general election has 11 seats while the SLP, which was defeated in that poll has six seats.
Pierre told reporters that all six opposition legislators would be voting for the motion, adding “we will leave each minister to his conscience”.
The announcement by the SLP leader comes after the party staged a massive demonstration in the capital on Sunday with supporters calling on Prime Minister Chastanet to call fresh general elections claiming that his policies were hurting the socio-economic development of the island.
Pierre told reporters on Wednesday’ that a wide cross-section of the population demonstrated its displeasure with the government in what he described as possibly the largest ever demonstration in this country.
“The next step now is that Her Majesty’s loyal opposition will now use the legal tools that are available to us. We are going to indict the government in Parliament,” Pierre said, adding that all government legislators would have to give an account of their stewardship since coming to office.
“The Constitution allows that to happen a day after the elections and when people make the false claim that we must give the government a chance – the Constitution allows a vote of no confidence one day after the elections. There is no time limit on a vote of no confidence,” Pierre told reporters.
He insisted that the motion of no confidence is necessary based on the posture and actions of the government.
But the UWP has dismissed the planned motion as ludicrous and without merit.
“It is absolutely mind boggling when all credible evidence suggests that the UWP government is rectifying the deplorable state in which it found St Lucia after being returned to office, by an overwhelming majority, following the June 6, 2016 elections,” the party’s general secretary Oswald Augustine said.
“It is clear that the SLP has no desire to respect the wishes of the electorate, and continues to pursue a course of denial and total disregard for the will of the people,” according to the party’s General Secretary Oswald Augustine.
The party said that evidence of St Lucia’s economic recovery, with record numbers in tourist arrivals; a reduction in unemployment; the reduction of VAT from 15 to 12.5 per cent; major road works around the island; and the soon to be commenced Hewanorra Airport expansion project; are signs of a significant positive turn in the management of the affairs of state by the UWP government.
“Lamentably we see another shameless attempt by the SLP to sully the image of our island around the world with baseless threats and fear mongering,” Augustine said, adding “the threat of a vote of no confidence is merely political posturing by the SLP and will be embarrassingly defeated whenever it is submitted”. (CMC)