Mary Francis (FP)
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CASTRIES – Human Rights Activist Mary Francis has called for election dates to be fixed and not called at the “whim and fancy” of the Prime Minister.
Francis, a former executive member of the governing St Lucia Labour Party (SLP), said Prime Minister Kenny Anthony’s election date announcement last Thursday took her by surprise.
“It is shocking to hear June 6, less than the traditional twenty-one days,” Francis said.
She observed that the 21-day period has been a tradition in the Caribbean and declared that the poll represents a watershed moment for St Lucians in terms of the economic, political and social development of the country.
Declaring that St Lucia is a society in crisis, Francis, who is also an Attorney at Law asserted that elections provide an opportunity for voters to make a “surgical strike” against the malaise confronting this country.
“We all know what that is,” Francis said, without going into detail.
She added that it is also very important is to restore St Lucia’s image in the international community as far as human rights are concerned and asserted that after four years in office, the labour government has failed to address the IMPACS issue and restore the integrity of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
“Look at the haste with which he (the Prime Minister) announced June 6. Why wasn’t the IMPACS situation addressed with more urgency I don’t know.”
While acknowledging that it is the Prime Minister’s prerogative to call an election date, the Human Rights Activist believed that in view of sentiments expressed during talks on constitutional reform, there should be fixed election dates.
Francis urged St Lucians to be careful when making choices for the betterment of the country.
She said that a foremost consideration should be the image of St Lucia and the failure of the government to address the IMPACS issue.
“They were in opposition when it happened under the last regime and they said nothing,” Francis recalled.
She said people were being killed on the streets and the labour party which was then in opposition refused to speak up.
“They knew it would have backfired on them,” Francis declared.
She said when the labour party got into office, it did nothing up to now to restore the image of the police force and this is of major concern. (CMC)