Philip J. Pierre (GP)
CASTRIES – The main opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) Tuesday filed a motion of no confidence against the government of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, calling also for his immediate resignation as the head of the two and a half year-old administration.
“In my capacity as leader of the Parliamentary Opposition and leader of the St. Lucia Labour Party, I delivered this morning to the Clerk of Parliament for onward submission to the Speaker of the House, a copy of a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance,” SLP leader, Philip J. Pierre told a news conference ahead of the start of Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament.
Chastanet led the United Workers Party (UWP) to an 11-6 majority in the Parliament following the June 6 general elections. The SLP won the other six seats.
Pierre said that the motion and the anticipated debate, will articulate the deep concerns, anxieties and the feeling of hopelessness among large sections of the St Lucian society about the uncaring and irresponsible manner that the business of this country is currently managed.
He said that since the appointment and installation of Chastanet as prime minister and minister of finance, economic growth, job creation and external affairs, St Lucia has been governed in a manner that has undermined the Constitution, its conventions and practices.
“We have witnessed a growing abuse of public office, unreasonable and irrational decision-making, unsustainable fiscal deficits, squandering of the State’s financial resources, and a debilitating decline in the public trust and confidence in the Prime Minister’s ability to govern the country”.
Pierre said that Prime Minister Chastanet while recognising the requirement of a deputy Speaker by proposing and supporting the nomination of Sarah Flood-Beaubrun as deputy Speaker, caused her to resign at a subsequent meeting of Parliament without explanation, leaving the position vacant.
“This amounts to no more than an abuse and contempt for the intentions of our Constitution and the People’s Parliament.”
The Opposition leader said that Prime Minister Chastanet has refused to lay in Parliament for debate, a statement on the use of the funds in the St Lucia National Economic Fund established under the Citizen by Investment Programme (CIP), despite pleas from the public and the Opposition.
“The Prime Minister, by his failure to do so, has acted in breach of the Act, thereby contributing to growing suspicions about the lack of transparency and trust in the Citizenship by Investment Programme.
“The Prime Minister has recklessly and irresponsibly allowed the economy to descend into unsustainable deficits and has embarked on the dangerous path of having to fund those deficits by incurring more debt,” Pierre said.
He said the “misguided actions and inactions” of Prime Minister Chastanet as it relates to the health of the nation “have plunged the provision of healthcare services into a deep crisis, created rising uncertainty, undermining morale among health care practitioners, and has now encouraged an exodus of trained nurses from the health care system.”
Pierre further claimed that Prime Minister Chastanet has demonstrated little appreciation for the value of education as a major instrument for the alleviation of poverty and the general well-being of St Lucians. “He has adopted policies inimical to the interest and benefit of teachers and students and in so doing he is jeopardizing the future of our children and our country’s prospects,” Pierre said, noting that while the SLP will not predict the outcome of the motion, there are legislators who are already deciding to vote against the motion before the debate takes place and are setting themselves up as “collaborators with Prime Minister Chastanet’s callous and uncaring policies”.
“The Opposition is calling on all House members, in particular, members on the government side, to place country above self, and support the vote of no confidence in the leadership of Allen Chastanet and that he resigns immediately as Prime Minister of St Lucia,” Pierre told reporters. (CMC)