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As unemployment continues to plague the island, United Workers Party (UWP) candidate, Bradley Felix, plans to play his part in tackling the issue head on, in Choiseul, if elected the constituency’s Member of Parliament (MP).
Felix said this is not just his plan for Choiseul, but it is also part of his party’s vision to create sustainable jobs for all Saint Lucians, particularly young people, who are most affected by this issue.
While acknowledging that it would require hard work and dedication, the banker said he is prepared to make it a reality for the people of his beloved community.
In a recent interview with Saint Lucia News Online (SNO), Felix said that the issue of unemployment is on the lips of many persons, not only in Choiseul, but throughout the length and breadth of Saint Lucia.
“You hear about it, but until you start visiting houses and you realize that every other house has some young person, who has left school three, four, five years ago, and they are still home, unemployed and unable to get employment, you ask yourself whether the unemployment figure is accurate,” he said.
The UWP candidate who spoke passionately about bringing drastic changes to Choiseul, said he plans on tapping into the tourism and agriculture sectors to address the unemployment issue.
Felix believes that Choiseul has the potential to develop a heritage tourism market, especially since the constituency is known for having a lot of Saint Lucia’s historic sites, rivers and parks. This, he said, will help to create employment opportunities for people of all ages there.
“I think we need to start thinking outside of the box and create some opportunities to get the tourist dollar and for them to stop in the community. Right now, the tourist just pass through the community. You have the occasional people, who come and climb the Pitons, and people who come and look for specific craft components, but you don’t get people stopping in the community,” he explained.
He argued that despite the current MP is the incumbent tourism minister and the fact that Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony is from Choiseul, this does not change anything, because the people in that constituency have been left out and no one has really benefited from the tourism dollar.
Felix has his eyes set on creating model farms for Choiseul, which will hopefully attract young people to the agriculture sector. He explained that government would have to first subsidize the project, but it will then be left up to the young people to take ownership of it, and get a meaningful income.
Choiseul is already known as a fishing and farming village. But Felix thinks that there have been a lot of lip service as it relates to agriculture, although the area has very fertile lands which could be used for agriculture purposes.
“A couple of years ago, it was identified for housing development and I think we need to identify what is best for housing and what is good for agriculture,” he added.
Felix promises not only to do more, but is aiming to change the face of politics in the country, where the people are put first, and where politicians start showing respect for the people they serve.
“The people are only recognized as masters when it comes to election time, as it is happening right now. All of a sudden, the people are the biggest concern and you forget about them until the next election. I really plan to provide a different kind of representation and to make myself accessible to the people.”
The banker expressed confidence in winning the seat based on several factors, when asked about his chances in the next election.
Felix said he is a genuine person, who has a good relationship with people of all walks of life in the constituency and beyond.
“What you see is what you get. I don’t try to play the normal political role that people play, where you find they are trying to meet with grass roots people and trying to put themselves in areas they are not comfortable with. That’s not me. I have always been a people’s person and a community person.”
He said when he goes to sit down and talk with the people now, it is not something new to him, because he has always been engaged with them. “This is not something that I am doing because of politics. I would help the fishermen pull their boats in and sit down with the guys on the block discussing issues, playing games, going on the farms. It’s just my way of life.”
Felix has been a banker for most of his professional career. He has worked in the banking industry for over 32 years. His last position was senior manager for Corporate Banking at the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company (ECFH) or what is commonly referred to as the Bank of Saint Lucia.