UWP shows support for government, lambasts SLP in the process

By Gideon Aurelien

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Norbert Williams, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s political attaché

(SNO) — The United Workers Party (UWP), in an unsurprising statement today (Sept. 17) at its first press conference since it formed the government in 2016, said it stands in support of the Allen Chastanet-led government in the administration’s effort to deliver on the promises it made during the last election campaign.

“The United Workers Party and the United Workers Party administration are resolute in rectifying the issues that face Saint Lucians and to deliver on the promises made during the election campaign,” said Norbert Williams, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s political attaché
.

The party then took on the main Opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) on various issues expounded on by the SLP over the past months.

On the no-confidence motion the SLP said it would file in the House of Assembly, the UWP said that this was no surprise to them as “the SLP seems bent on employing every trick in the book to create an atmosphere of instability and weaken confidence in Saint Lucia by investors and other international agencies”.

“It falls in line with the statements made by the SLP which have gathered the attention of the Financial Times in their August 22, 2018 article regarding statements made about redoing overdue diligence investigations on CIP investors and requiring a payment for the balance on what has been originally legislated for CIP payments,” said Williams, describing the statement by the SLP as malicious, since what the SLP says cannot be done because the CIP holders were granted passports under the laws of the country.

Regarding government’s attempts to put in place a border control management agency, Williams applauded government’s withdrawal of Cabinet Conclusion 247 which sought to establish the agency, claiming that this was done after consultation with the Customs and Excise Department and the involvement of the Civil Service Association (CSA), the bargaining agent for employees of the department.

He, however, did not speak on the several meetings employees of the Customs and Excise Department had with their bargaining agent, complaining of the manner in which government was going about its formation of the agency.

The employees’ main bone of contention was the statutorization of the agency as noted in Cabinet Conclusion 247 of 2018. They believed that inevitably some of them would lose their jobs if the new entity is formed as a statutory body.

They made it clear that they were not sold on statements made by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, that none of them will lose their jobs in the process of establishing the new border control management authority.

In fact, to prove their point, employees of the department last week staged a sickout, a move that resulted in reduced income for the government that day and a loud cry from business people wanting to clear their goods on the day of the sickout.

Williams said that the country, in recent times, had been bombarded with “a lot of fake news”, “a lot of lies” and “a lot of propaganda”. He pointed to statements made by the SLP regarding the management structure of the Owen King European Union Hospital (OKEU) as some of the fake news spreading in the country.

He stated that government has made no definitive statement on the management structure to be used at the OKEU Hospital and that consultations and the way forward are still not finalised on how the OKEU Hospital is going to be managed.

He criticised the SLP for the constant complaints about privatization and showed how much the SLP was in favour of privatization when they were in power by reading from former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony’s 1998 Budget Address, showing that Anthony embraced privatisation during his time as prime minister.

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