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STATEMENT – The Saint Lucia Labour Party with due regard for the seriousness of the economic challenge confronting our country has remained quiet while the government tries to engage the public service in discussions on a way forward, however from recent observations it has become necessary to call on CSA President Mary Isaac to decide whether she is representing the interests of civil servants who elected her or the political interests of the United Workers Party.
For some time now, the Saint Lucia Labour Party has observed a rather unusual “coziness” between the United Workers Party and Mary Isaac.
Prior to her election as president of the Civil Service Association, a delegation of the CSA met the United Workers Party. Sources close to the CSA have confirmed that one of the items discussed as part of a memorandum of understanding, was the granting of diplomatic passports to members of the CSA executive by UWP should it return to government. On Monday, June 23, Allen Chastanet met the executive of the UWP and then attended the prayer meeting of the CSA. Is this a mere coincidence madame president?
This is also not the first time this president has brought the integrity and legitimacy of her office into question. When the trade unions disagreed with the government over wage negotiations in 2013, the St. Lucia Civil Service Association (CSA) led by Ms Isaac unilaterally went on strike for a few days, despite being provided with information on the state of the economy; the closeness of the UWP behind this CSA president was very visible, and in fact St. Lucia heard very similar statements issued by Ms. Isaac and representatives of the UWP.
The SLP says that once again we are hearing distinct similarity between statements made by Allen Chastanet and Mary Isaac. Should we continue to believe that this is a mere coincidence?
It is becoming obvious that Mary Issac has all the time to meet Allen Chastanet to receive his counsel but has no time to meet the prime minister and Cabinet ministers to discuss the very serious financial situation which faces the country and has implications for the members of her asssociation.
The SLP believes that in the first place, the failure to attend meetings called by government, the employer, to discuss a matter which affects employees who are represented by the CSA, is irresponsible and a serious violation of the norms of good industrial relations.
A refusal by the government to attend a meeting requested by the CSA would surely have been met with outrage from the CSA president. Of course, in that case the outrage would be justified and no doubt would find support among the government’s detractors.
Yet Mary Isaac seems bent on preserving her collaboration with Allen Chastanet and the UWP, instead of meeting with government to negotiate a way forward which will help avert the disastrous prospect of the country going into the hands of the IMF under which the austerity which will be prescribed will be 10 times worse than what is being offered by the government.
The SLP calls on Mary Isaac to tell the country and the section of civil servants who are not connected to her seeming romance with Allen Chastanet what is in it for her and public servants? And since Allen Chastanet is yet to state publicly how he would deal with this country’s deficit situation, what is the remedy that he (Chastanet) has whispered in her ears?
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