PRESS RELEASE – The United Workers’ Party launched its 2016 Manifesto in Gros Islet last night to an overflowing and enthusiastic crowd ready for change.
Several of the night’s speakers addressed different aspects of the Manifesto setting the stage for Political Leader, Allen Chastanet. Dr. Ubaldus Raymond led off the proceedings.
He decried Labour’s poor record of high debt, record levels of unemployment, business closures, victimization and heinous taxation. He said that the UWP believed in private sector led growth, fuelled by small businesses.
In defending the Party’s relief from the present tax burden through its “Five to Stay Alive” initiative, Dr. Raymond explained that once Saint Lucians had more money in their pockets it would stimulate the economy and see a resurgence of business activity and more jobs.
He said that the UWP did not believe in having people wait on government to give them a job, but preferred jobs to be created by the private sector and self employment. With better management of the economy and a reduction of the tax burden he said job creation will be an achievable target.
Dr. Gale Rigobert, candidate for Micoud North, was next up. She spoke to foreign policy and the need to ensure that the name and reputation of Saint Lucia in the international community is protected at all times.
She also said that the scarce resources of the country would be better spent on overseas missions that concentrate on strategies to bring economic benefits to the country and not particular individuals or political parties.
She further explained that there will be a new, short-term priority for permanent overseas missions which were expensive to maintain. “We will leverage information communication technology give life to electronic diplomacy without having to fly over the waters all of the time. We can engage meaningfully without having to incur humungous cost to you the taxpayers,” said Dr. Rigobert.
Ezechiel Joseph, candidate for Babonneau, reaffirmed the Party’s stance that the banana industry is critical to the development of agriculture in Saint Lucia. He said that a new UWP Government would support banana farmers to raise the level of production. Fisheries are also in line for a major makeover with the introduction of deep sea fishing and better technology. He revealed that a new UWP Government would investigate open ocean aquaculture in the seas surrounding Saint Lucia to expand what the Party had started with onshore aquaculture in its last term in office.
Lenard Spider Montoute, candidate for Gros Islet, spoke about the importance of sustainable development which he explained impacted every aspect of national development. He said that the UWP would review, rationalize and develop a new National Development Plan to ensure balanced development and planning across Saint Lucia.
He said that Urban Renewal would be an important plank in the development of urban centres to improve housing, sanitation, stimulate business activity to create employment and improve safety and security.
Mr. Montoute also took the opportunity of speaking directly to his constituents to refute what he termed were the shameful attempts to question his honesty and integrity by his opponent and outgoing candidate for Gros Islet, Emma Hippolyte. He said he would not be going into the gutter with his opponent, and chose instead to set the record straight on several of the lies told about him by the Labour Party.
Political Leader and Prime Minister-in-Waiting, Allen Chastanet delivered a speech from the heart. He said that a revolution was taking place in the country, that people had had enough. “They have had enough of a government that has not cared; a government that has been heartless,” he charged, “a government that has been rudderless and a government without any vision. This election is about putting right what has been wrong.”
Declaring that the UWP Manifesto was a roadmap to bring change to the country, Chastanet focused on the indignity that Saint Lucians had to endure from the Saint Lucia Labour Party caused by their harsh, uncaring economic policies. He said his Party would not accept any economic policies that would pay that kind of price.
He said the UWP would concentrate on restoring the heart and soul of Saint Lucians and that the Manifesto was a roadmap to creating wealth for all Saint Lucians.
To loud applause, he insisted “if you put the people first then we will have a great country.”