The former Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, on his Facebook page yesterday called on the new Labour government to “act now to address Covid-19 crisis and preserve Saint Lucian lives.” In making that call on the new government he, unwittingly, acknowledged responsibility for the surge in Covid cases, and made untrue statements.
According to the former prime minister on his Facebook page, we should have anticipated an upturn in cases due to the increased activities during the election. However, it was the United Workers Party supporters and members, including the former prime minister who were the serial offenders of Covid-19 protocols during the election campaign, resulting in public outcries of unfairness and discriminatory enforcement of the protocols by the police. It was not just a case of increased activities but increased breaches of the protocols by his party, which he rightly anticipated would bring an increase in Covid cases. This is not to say that there were no breaches from the Labour side, but they were far fewer because of an over-cautious Labour Party leader who insisted on following the protocols, if only to avoid the threat of charges and arrest of his supporters and members, by a police force under the command of a partial hierarchy.
Reading his Facebook comment, you would be inclined to believe that the forty-three-day Labour government had been in office for at least two years and had created a dysfunctional health care system, now being overwhelmed by increases in covid cases. The current shortage of nurses in the health care system is a direct result of the uncertainty created by plans to bring in the Cayman group to manage OKEU, resulting in many of our nurses leaving the system for more stable and secure offers overseas. This human resource hemorrhaging is still ongoing.
And about the “imminent financial crisis that is now looming over our country”, who created it? Surely, it could not be the policies of a forty-three-day government. It is an indisputable fact that the last administration has left the finances of government in a financial mess. The financial wastage is littered around the country -St Jude Hospital, over-priced contracts to FreshStart, unnecessary land acquisitions, DSH, and more.
It would be unreasonable to expect the government to meet all its financial commitments during this Covid crisis, and so, it was totally unnecessary for the former prime minister to say his government met all its financial commitments during the crisis. He admitted in his Facebook post of significant falls in revenue and increased cost, yet he was magically able to meet all government commitments. As it turned out, the government left bills totally over $150 million owed to local suppliers.
In ending his Facebook comment he affected responsible behavior by the words, “now is not the time to play the blame game”, which contradicted all that he had said earlier in his post.