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Economist Dr. Claudius Preville has expressed confidence in becoming the next leader of the United Workers Party (UWP).
Speaking at a press conference today, Dr. Preville said he has no doubt that the people of St. Lucia has heard his message and the “appropriate decision” will be taken on November 2 – the date set for the UWP’s General Convention, where delegates will vote to elect their leader.
Both Dr. Preville and current Party Leader Allen Chastanet were nominated by party members during the UWP delegate’s conference last month to run for the leadership of the party.
The aspiring political leader said his eye is still set on contesting the Babonneau Constituency during the next elections. However, a definitive decision will only be made after the party’s convention. Dr. Preville was born and raised in the Babonneau community.
Asked whether he is satisfied with the work by the current UWP executive during the past year, Dr. Preville said he is to some extent, but said that there is need for more to be done.
According to him, the party has done quite a lot of work in improving the institutional capacity of the UWP. He highlighted that the party has been able to get a few committees operational again and ensure that procedures are in place to strengthen the branches.
However, Dr. Preville said the focus should be shifted to politics. He said the UWP now has to work towards mobilising its current voters and attracting new ones from other parties.
“We are trying to get the strongest and best possible candidate to lead our party and St. Lucia out of our wilderness and that is working very well. It is not always a smooth process; it causes some tensions from time to time,” he explained.
If elected leader of the UWP, Dr. Preville said his main focus would be to make the party more united. He said the first thing he will try to do, is address issues of concern to party members.
“The party will become a lot more united. We will embrace all elements and factions who may be disaffected in the past and dialogue with concerned stakeholders so their voices are heard.”
The UWP member said he also plans to modernise what is offered to the people of St. Lucia.
“We intend to draw upon many more professionals in society and to let them know that working as a team or group of individuals for a common purpose, we can create the best possible St. Lucia there is,” he added.
He is hopeful that a lot more professionals will come forward and help the UWP in taking back St. Lucia and making it a better place for future generations to come.
“This is not about Claudius Preville; this is about the future of St. Lucia. We have to take the right steps and decisions, to give our country the best possible future.”
Meanwhile, in commenting on allegations that Chastanet may be buying votes, Dr. Preville dispelled the rumour.
“I have respect for Mr. Chastanet and as a nominee now, I have every faith that he will do what is in accordance with our elections guidelines,” he added.
Like Chastanet, Dr. Preville is a trained economist. He has extensive experience, and has worked for many international organisations which includes: the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). He holds a PhD and master degree in economics from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in the Hague.