By MERRICK ANDREWS
(St. Lucia News Online) — Gastroenterologist and consultant physician Dr Alphonsus St Rose on Monday, Aug. 17 revealed that he will participate in the upcoming general election as an independent candidate for Choiseul/Saltibus. (see video statement below article)
Dr Alphonsus St Rose, who was the president of the St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association from March 25, 2017 to March 30, 2019, was highly touted to become the endorsed candidate for the Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), however, educator Dr Pauline Antoine-Prospere has been selected — a development which has not gone down well with people in the constituency.
Many have publicly expressed their disappointment on social media and on other media forums, saying Dr St. Rose is the people’s choice and petitioned that he be chosen.
The SLP, however, refused to budge. As such, Dr St. Rose has decided to throw his hat in the political ring without any party support.
Below is a statement he released on Monday, confirming his candidacy for Choiseul/Saltibus.
By Dr Alphonsus St Rose
Saint Lucia, greetings, and a pleasant good day to my supporters in the Choiseul/Saltibus constituency.
[Today] both you and I find ourselves engaged in a conversation on the new realities of our national (political) landscape. In times prior, my front-line was healthcare, now it has become the larger frontier of politics.
My evolution into politics arose out of a necessity of our times. Not only because of my proven ability, passion and what I truly believe in, but more profoundly, because of the overwhelming approval, trust, and confidence of the Choiseul/Saltibus constituency at large. Thank you, my people, for your well-placed support.
The demonstration of unity and strength in numbers is an undeniably powerful message. Therefore, while we must all come together on the most critical issues affecting us as a community, it must never be at the expense of our principles, core values and our future.
I believe in this in much the same way as I believe in speaking truth to power. This is our time to unite and win.
This journey, of great human connection, leaves me no choice but to set the record straight with a different, yet honest viewpoint, however uncomfortable that may be to some. The Choiseul/Saltibus constituency impasse, as you are aware, must be viewed in its proper context.
At the heart of the matter are, the majority of the Labour constituents, who, having chosen their preferred candidate as a legitimate precursor to the party’s candidate selection process, were disrespected. Any imposition by the leadership of a candidate arising out of a rigged, manipulated, and contaminated selection process is simply unacceptable.
Most of the Labour supporters in the constituency have rejected the party’s decision which they rightly deem an assault on their freedom of choice and expression, fairness, due process, and justice. This was backed by a strongly worded petition of 700 signatures.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) must recognize that when its choice of candidate conflicts with the choice of most of their constituency supporters, it is the will of the constituents that should prevail.
Leadership has a responsibility, to honestly resolve the conflict that distrust in its execution of the process of candidate selection, mired in improprieties and irregularities, has caused. The integrity of the process was tainted. Any properly prescribed process in the hands of and executed by good actors is certain to guarantee a good outcome.
Full public disclosure of the facts surrounding this matter, (the details of which are well known to the leadership of the party) is contingent upon the response of the political leader of the SLP, if any.
We contend, that had the party followed the process to the letter, demonstrated strong, competent and decisive leadership to act and intervene in a fair and timely manner, with the moral courage to simply do the right thing, we would not have been consumed by this bizarre conflict.
Given this set of circumstances, it was rather unfortunate for the party machinery to state, let alone lecture its constituents of the Choiseul/Saltibus constituency, about what is of paramount importance to them at this time. Leadership’s misrepresentation of the legitimate concerns of the constituents is troubling, to say the least.
It is, for this reason, we insisted that the SLP handle matters properly and without reticence. We all want to see this current administration out, but it would be wrong to swap it for a replacement that is equally callous and intolerant of the views of the people. We strongly believe that ‘leadership is not the party’; they are the servants of the people. That is for us, the big picture. Do not disrespect us or take us for granted, anymore.
I, therefore, applaud the people of Choiseul/Saltibus. What clearer demonstration can there be, of their conviction, confidence and courage, in asking me to champion their patriotic cause, to restore their respect, their dignity and the honour that was denied them, by representing them on an Independent ticket at the next general elections?
This (Independent) framework, initiated and driven by the constituents of Labour, will define them differently and uniquely from what has existed for 41 years since Independence. This is a ‘no one left behind’ transformative agenda that embraces inclusivity, political maturity, empowerment, independent thought, and equality of opportunity for you the people, in the setting of a new national, non-partisan and people-driven context.
This is ground zero, the fight being … for free expression of constituents’ choices in relation to the issues that matter most to them. We speak of their shared interests of quality representation, their sustainability, survival, values, and their future.
Politics cannot be divorced from the people. Power resides in your vote which must define you better than mere hostages for the removal of a candidate or a government from office. It is your right and civic responsibility to vote but do it as a free expression of your choice, in good conscience, driven by a sense of purpose and with a measure of value to it.
We denounce any attempts to weaponize your vote against you simply for expressing your constitutional right of free choice. This is not who we are, and we deserve better.
* Vote for a change of the policies that do not make you a priority in your country;
* Vote for a change of the policies that are designed to keep you poor and unequal;
* Vote for a change of the policies designed to outsource your future;
* Vote for a change of the policies that offer your national assets to anyone as gifts or handouts in which you are neither a shareholder, partner nor accrue interest.
Our simple objective is to effect real change that impacts your daily lives meaningfully and restores trust, fairness, and confidence in our democratic system, so it works in the best interest of all the citizens of this land.
Thank you, Choiseul, for your sincerity, maturity, passion, and a broader sense of national purpose. I am humbled that you have asked me to represent your values, expectations, and aspirations and so, I pledge to you my commitment to working with you and to serve your best interests always.
Meanwhile, we will lead the charge and cast that vote for change across political lines … change must come, for we do not have another 41 years to wait.
We will walk this journey together and present to the people of this country, the compelling example of an alternative paradigm for transparency, accountability, good governance, and democracy.
This bottom-up approach for progress is different if only to send a powerful message, that, this is your time, it is the people’s time.