Saint Lucia’s Head of State, Dame Pearlette Louisy, placed major emphasis on this year’s election during her Throne Speech on Tuesday to open a new session of Parliament.
The Governor General used the opportunity to remind Saint Lucians that elections is a fundamental pillar to the island’s democracy, which should not be taken lightly.
“The ballot still remains the fundamental, expression of each citizen’s political will,” she said.
She also urged all eligible voters to exercise their franchise, stating that while some people will be casting ballots for the first time, others would be doing so for the seventeenth time.
While recognizing that everyone is allowed to express themselves freely, she urged persons to be responsible in their actions towards other during this political season, particularly talk show hosts and bloggers.
The Governor General noted that both major parties have already started campaigning, through the hosting of various rallies and meetings, but reminded that the election date can only be set by the Prime Minister.
During her Throne Speech, Dame Pearlette said that peaceful transfer of the reins of power from one party to another has occurred five times since Independence and six times since Adult Suffrage.
“We have therefore, if only by virtue of this metric, achieved a mature and stable democracy. The electorate therefore expects behaviour that reflects our maturity as a nation and as a people.”
Dame Pearlette also hinted that her government may give serious consideration to putting into law, set election dates, as the United Kingdom, which has also moved in this direction.
She pointed to several reason why this may be necessary, one being that impending elections can add to uncertainty and indecision by investors, domestic or foreign.
“Of course, it does not follow that if fixed election dates are introduced the tendency to early campaigning for general elections will cease. But the argument about “fairness” cannot be totally dismissed,” she said.
Dame Pearlette said that this could be the last session of Parliament prior to the next election.