Recently-selected United Workers Party (UWP) candidate for Laborie, Francisco Jn Pierre, said he plans to provide strong leadership to the constituency if elected Member of Parliament (MP).
He is focused on helping to address the unemployment issue and to revitalize the agriculture sector, particularly the banana industry that was once fruitful in that constituency.
Jn Pierre told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, December 15 that he is prepared to do what it takes to ensure that Laborie receives proper representation.
“I am elated and thankful for the confidence the people have put in me to represent them at the next general elections under a United Workers Party (UWP) ticket. I’m ready to serve,” he told SNO.
The former Southern Taxi Association president said he is no stranger to the community and community work on the whole, and understands the issues facing the people there.
Jn Pierre said it was found that most persons operating in the banana industry have been displaced, and Laborie which is an agriculture-based community, has also been affected by this.
He said, “I would love to see myself creating an avenue where I could get people re-engaged in agriculture and I know the people can produce whatever is needed.”
The UWP candidate maintains that the banana industry remains a very important sector in the local economy and is no doubt the most popular fruit in the world.
Jn Pierre said though the income generated from the industry has been insignificant compared to previous years, he still has a lot of faith that it could be expanded and maintained.
“I think there is still an opportunity even within the region, where we can produce bananas. Here in Saint Lucia we could move to process bananas for export in different commodities,” he opined.
Shifting his attention to unemployment, Jn Pierre is convinced that more could be done to address the issue, but said it will take a lot of hard work before this is achieved.
He believes that youth unemployment must take priority and the government should work more closely with the private sector and other agencies to look at more modern and comprehensive policies to address the problem.
Jn Pierre said another way of addressing unemployment is by investing more in sport. He believes more needs to be done to produce more international athletes.
“Once upon a time we were the best in Saint Lucia. We have produced one of the best cricketers in the world, Desmond Collymore. We need to do whatever is necessary to get back on top,” he added.
The UWP candidate said despite the fact that his community – Banse- does not have a proper playing field, it has managed to produce cricketers of the highest caliber to represent Saint Lucia.
“Darren Sammy, Levern Spencer have shown us that it could be done at the international level,” he stated.
Jn Pierre joined the UWP in August of this year. Before that he was a member of the SLP since 1987 and was active in several political campaigns, particularly those in 1992 and 1997.
He is the father of Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jadia Jn Pierre-Emmanuel.