New St Lucia Prime Minister sworn in
CASTRIES – Philip Joseph Pierre was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of St Lucia since independence in 1979, seeking the “divine intervention in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people” of that country.
Pierre, 66, an economist/accountant, led the St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) to a convincing victory in Monday’s general election, winning 13 of the 17 seats that were at stake in the National assembly.
The United Workers Party (UWP) which held office until then, won only two seats, down from the 11 it enjoyed in the last parliament, with the other two seats going to independent candidates, including former prime minister Stephenson King.
“This is the start of a new beginning,” an emotional Pierre told the nation at the ceremony held at the official residence of the Governor General, Sir Neville Cenac, on the Morne, overlooking the capital and broadcast live across the island.
“As your servant leader, I shall serve all the citizens of the country regardless of their social class or station in life. The task ahead will not be easy, but together with my team and able and experienced men and women we will deliver to the people of St Lucia,” said Phillip, who served as deputy prime minister in a previous SLP administration headed then by Dr Kenny Anthony during the period 2011-16.
“I ask for your patience in the coming weeks and months as we try to assess the state of the country’s financing and capacity to deliver early as possible, the commitments made to the people of St Lucia,” Pierre said.
During the election campaign, Pierre, who led the SLP for the first time into a general election, said that St Lucia, had over the past five years become the most indebted island within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“It give me no pleasure to report that among countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) our country has suffered the biggest economic decline, 23. 8 per cent for the year 2020. The country’s level of public debt has ballooned under this UWP government to almost four billion (dollars) (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) again the highest among countries within the ECCU.
“According to the ECCU, 60 per cent of the increase in the total public debts among OECS countries can be accounted for by the increase in St. Lucia’s Public debts,” Pierre said. (CMC)