Below is a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister in response to a press release by the Opposition Leader Stephenson King
Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Stephenson King, should refrain from distorting Saint Lucia’s history in an attempt to gain political mileage over the ongoing dispute between the Civil Service Union and the government of Saint Lucia.
In an interview with HTS on Thursday, March 21, 2013, Honourable Stephenson King said: “This belief or this practice of no work, no pay has never happened in the history of Saint Lucia. Even in 1979 thereabout when the public servants went on strike for 54 or 59 days, Sir John Compton never deducted any monies from the salaries of those public officers.”
The facts are clear and history cannot be altered. On December 7, 1976, civil servants took industrial action and went on strike. Then Premier John Compton refused to pay them. Not even after the report prepared by Kenneth Stoby, G. Guard. N. E. Venner and D. W. Degazon made recommendations, did Compton relent.
While the tribunal accepted that the law and customs of Saint Lucia supported Compton’s position, it nonetheless said that the government had so badly handled the events leading up to the strike that it should bear some blame. It was on that basis that the tribunal suggested a compromise of sorts and recommended payment. Compton insisted on the law and still refused to pay.
In 1979 another civil service strike took place and lasted for 59 days. Again Prime Minister Compton, as he by then had become, refused to pay. It was only upon the assumption of office later that year that a Labour government under Allan Louisy brought some comfort to the workers by awarding them the largest single increase ever given to public servants. That increase remains the largest.
The leader of the opposition must cease from this deliberate practice of misinformation and use the resources of a research officer afforded to him by the state to make more meaningful and accurate contributions to national discourse.