CASTRIES, St. Lucia, July 15, 2021 - When Allen Chastanet ruling United Workers Party (UWP) go to the polls seeking re-election on July 26, longstanding party member and Castries North MP, Stephenson King, will not be by his side and will be running as an independent candidate.
The former Prime Minister has painted a picture of disquiet and victimization among other matters within the Allen Chastanet administration which fueled his break with the UWP.
He told Janeka Simon of the Virgin Islands Consortium that from 2016 to 2021 there were a number of things which transpired with which he was not comfortable.
“A lot of things, policy, the various actions and over time you say ‘Okay it will get better.’ But within the cabinet I advocated against those things. I advocated and kept on saying to people ‘I feel I am in shackles’, because you believe in a philosophy as a team player that whereas you may have a particular position and you may within closed doors within the cabinet express your gut feeling your conviction against it, you do know that there is collective responsibility that once you step out of that room you are bound to carry the flag of the team and I did that for this entire period,” he said.
King pointed to the ‘desecration of the constitution’ when Chastanet refused to alter his cabinet arrangement to facilitate the appointment of a Deputy Speaker of the parliament as well as the St Jude Hospital issue, in which the hospital has been left in a condition ‘we should never be proud of’ and that it was an indictment on the Allen Chastanet administration.
“Five years and millions and millions of dollars being pumped into this facility – to this day without completion and towards the end when time seems to be running out, then you saw all sorts of renderings being displayed, colourful renderings being displayed to say that this is what the facility will look like. Renderings don’t make a hospital,” King declared.
In his address to the nation King asserted that he found himself unable to recognise the founding principles of the party in the government that he was supposedly part of.
He also said he spent time attempting to share his wisdom with his colleagues to pursue a different brand of politics.
The Castries North MP said he had reached the ‘inevitable and painful conclusion’ that he can no longer be part of an organisation that he can hardly recognise.
But Prime Minister Allen Chastanet described King’s action as “a betrayal of the people of this country.”
”This is a betrayal to the people of Saint Lucia given what Saint Lucia has been through in the last year and a half and the crises that ensued after COVID, both in terms of people’s lives and livelihoods and what we have had to do in pulling together as a country in salvaging the situation,” Prime Minister Chastanet told a recent news conference.
The former prime minister has expressed the opinion that after the elections, elected MPs of the current ruling United Workers Party (UWP) could ‘cross the floor’ as a result of frustrations.
King told The St.Lucia Times: “They tell you of their frustration, they tell you of ‘Boy, this cannot continue. It cannot be business as usual etc.’ They all complain,” he said.
King told The Lunch Room host, Calixte George Jr. that those who do not complain are ‘stifling from inside.’
“If I am to go by what some have said to me in recent times, if anything were to happen after the election and a UWP government, a United Workers Party probably would have had a situation where some may very well cross the floor – if I am to go by some of what has been said. Now, it may not be to that extent when you speak to them, it may be just shifting their support from the leader to someone else because they lament the fact of that kind of situation,” he explained.
King also said he was seeing the influence of money in the current election campaign, asserting that it sprang into action once he announced last week that he was not going to participate in the polls under the banner of the UWP.
“In Castries North for example, there’s every effort being put in place to spend money one way or the other to pay persons who were formerly supporters of mine, who were activists of mine to buy them out in a big way,” the former Prime Minister said.
The Castries North MP said he knows of at least three individuals who have told him that they are getting a better deal ‘on the other side’ and thought they should consider the offer.
But King asserted that he is not prepared to go for the highest bidder. “I go for conscience – I go for conviction,” he declared.
St. Lucians will go to the polls on July 26, 2021 to choose a new government. However, King, a long-serving member of the current ruling United Workers Party (UWP), announced that he would contest the July 26, 2021 elections as an Independent candidate.
The United Workers Party (UWP) won the 2016 general elections by a margin of 11 to 6.