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The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) candidate for Castries South, Ernest Hilaire, has announced some plans he has in mind to make the constituency better declaring that he is ready to serve.
The former Saint Lucia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom spoke at a press conference on Tuesday.
Below is his full address:
I am Ernest Hilaire and I am the Saint Lucia Labour party’s endorsed candidate for the Constituency of Castries South. I was born at lower Morne Road and spent my early years roaming the pathways, alleys and steps of Hospital Road, Faux a Chaux, and Bananes.
I was nurtured in the youth and student movement and was the founding President of the Student Branch of the National Youth Council. I also served as Vice President of the National Youth Council having been a founding member. I served as President of the Caribbean Federation of Youth and had the honour to represent Saint Lucia and the Caribbean as a student representative then as a youth representative.
My early years were spent in the arena of community service and activism. My consciousness was shaped by upbringing and dedication to serving my community. I have been a tireless advocate ever since I started my life of community service.
I became a political activist in 1986 when I attended my first Labour Party Conference and have had an extremely active role in the party ever since. I believe in the philosophy and programmes of the Saint Lucia Labour Party. I believe that we need to build a more equal and meritocratic society where everyone, regardless of place of birth, family background or political affiliation, has an equal chance to succeed in life.
I believe that development must be about the people, with the people and for the people. I hold firm to the belief that public life is about service to the people and not a favour to the people. The Labour Party has best offered me the chance to live that philosophy.
I have learnt hard work and commitment through my upbringing in the youth movement, through community service and as a political activist.
I first served as Attaché to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony from 1997 and in 1999 became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports. I also had the privilege to serve as the CEO of Cricket World Cup 2007 Saint Lucia Inc. and as Tournament Director for the ICC World T20 2010. I worked as a Management Consultant with the renowned management firm Mckinsey.
I am a former Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board and most recent professional assignment was as Saint Lucia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Saint Lucia’s Ambassador to France. I was also accredited to international organisations headquartered in Europe. Whenever given an opportunity I have worked hard and tried to serve with distinction, always representing Saint Lucia’s best interest.
I attained a first class honours in Political Science and Sociology from the Cave Hill Campus, University of the West Indies. I attained a Masters of Philosophy in International Affairs from Cambridge University and followed up with a PhD from the London School of Economics. I also hold an Executive Diploma in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from Notre Dame University in the United States. Throughout my studies, I have worked diligently, gave of my best and pursued excellence.
Much work has been done in Castries South but still there is much more which has to be done. As an urban community within the city, the constituency faces all the challenges of lack of housing, poor living conditions, high unemployment, inadequate facilities and social discontent. But it is a place overflowing with talent, opportunity and expectation.
I am excited about the journey ahead as I stand as the lead advocate for the constituents to deal with the issues which confront them. I intend to be relentless in addressing the housing issues in Faux a Chaux, Bananes, Cemetery, Marigot and Ciceron. I intend to be unwavering as I argue for a settlement of land ownership issues in Goodlands, Bananes, Morne La Toc and Cemetery. I will not rest until proper facilities are provided in Marigot, Barre St. Joseph/Ti Colon, Faux a Chaux, Goodlands and Ciceron. I dream of a redeveloped Bananes Waterfront which will offer employment opportunities and enhance the appearance of such a beautiful stretch of land.
I will argue for continuation of the infrastructural works which have started, to ensure that there are proper roads, drains, footpaths and lighting throughout the constituency. Beyond the projects, I am most excited about the programme which we will implement to engage the youth and offer them an opportunity and space to start realising their dreams and aspirations. I am excited about working with the youth.
I intend to serve Castries South with the same hard work, dedication and commitment which have thus far guided me throughout my time as a student leader, youth leader, student and in my professional life.
The journey continues for me and there is no other destination but a better Castries South.
I am ready to serve!