The leadership of the St Lucia Labour party are displaying signs of panic as they respond in a arrogant manner to criticisms from the public and the United Workers on the dismal performance record of the SLP Government to date.
During a political meeting of the Labour Party in Vieux Fort over the weekend former Party Chairman Tom Walcott accused the local media of acting in concert with the United Workers Party in launching a “vicious attack” on the Government.
Mr. Walcott during his address to the gathering stated the following: “This Government is under attack, the Government is under vicious attack from the Press and the United Workers Party …… today the Press is on the attack and nobody is calling to defend Kenny Anthony or the SLP, there is a free for all ….”
It is absolutely unbelievable that a party which was so relentless and brutal in its criticism and attacks of the last United Workers Party Government would so early display intolerance to critical review and assessment of its performance by the local media. Following the 2006 General Election, we were all witnessed to an aggressive and in some cases excessive barrage of the media by the St Lucia Labour Party.
The St Lucia Labour Party and the Government’s reaction to the objective and facilitating role of the local media amounts to a level of arrogance which is frightening and suggest an attempt to direct and interfere with the work of the media. These efforts are already evident in components of the media financed by the tax payers of this country. The statements by Tom Walcott over the weekend, invokes memories of an earlier time when media practitioners were referred to by Dr. Kenny Anthony as “Media Terrorist.”
The UWP is wary of the red flags being signalled by a party and Government which appears determined to bring all organisations and systems in the country under their control. We are aware that at a recent in-house meeting held in Gros Islet concerns were expressed over what was seen as “anti-Government” activity in the media and the need to control and respond to the situation.
The UWP whilst in Government was very tolerant to and respectful of the right of the media to express their democratic right and responsibility to report on issues affecting the country. We condemn all efforts current and calculated to frustrate and interfere with the work of the media. The media is an important organ and watchdog in any democratic society. As such their freedom and independence must always be respected.