A large crowd of United Workers Party (UWP) supporters joined hands with their leader Allen Chastanet and other senior party officials on Thursday evening, to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) government and its leader Dr. Kenny Anthony.
The protest commenced at the Vigie field around 5 p.m. with hundreds holding placards and banners, which had messages for the current administration and which symbolized the distress citizens are faced with, especially under an SLP-government.
Chastanet was joined by his close ally – Member of Parliament for Castries South East and former Minister of Works and Communication Guy Joseph, as well as former National Security Minister Guy Mayers, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Micoud North Dr. Gale Rigobert, among others.
Other senior party members such as former Minister of Public Service Lenard “Spider” Montoute, who was present for the previous UWP march in January of this year was clearly absent. And so was the former UWP Prime Minister Stephenson King.
But former Health Minister under the SLP government Sarah Flood- Beaubrun who was recently nominated to challenge Chastanet at the next UWP Convention for the leadership position turned up for the protest march and so was newcomer Dr. Andre Matthew, who also joined the procession. However, both individuals were separate from Chastanet and the others.
What started as “Kenny Must Go” chants turned into “We want Chastanet.” Coincidentally, this happened as soon as Flood- Babeneau joined the procession.
While some supporters’ claim this was not meant for her, others said it was a clear message which was directed at Flood- Beaubrun and indicates that they will only support Chastanet for the leadership position.
But even if these chants were meant for the former health minister, Flood- Beaubrun didn’t seemed bothered by it. She nevertheless put on her dashing smile and walked alongside UWP supporters, and eventually collected a flashcard with the words “Stop Kenny” and held it up.
It could be said that apart from protesting against the government’s policies, which was the main reason for the protest march, the senior UWP members also used the opportunity to start campaigning for seats at the next elections.
Both Joseph and Chastanet campaign banners were at the front row of the procession, which bore the words: Vote for Allen Chastanet (Micoud South) and Vote for Guy Joseph (Castries South East).
As usual, there were large crowds of onlookers at every corner of Castries, as the procession continued along Micoud Street and finally into the Peter Boulevard Square for what they dubbed, “The Peoples Parliament.”
A vibrant Nancy Charles, who put on the role of House Speaker had the crowd in loud cheers.
In a parliamentary-like style, each person who delivered a speech, had the opportunity to “pass a motion” calling for the dismissal of any minister, for his/her failure to perform efficiently.
At the end of each speech, Charles asked the people if they agreed to say “aye”, which promoted loud cheers and ended with the words, “the aye’s have it,” something that is customary in Commonwealth Parliaments.
Several members were called to the platform which included: Senator Mary Isaac, Sentor Ezchiel Joseph and Opposition Leader Dr. Gale Rigobert, among others. But the crowd blurted out more cheers when Guy Joseph and Allen Chastanet were called to the podium to speak.