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The battle for the leadership position of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) could be a hotly contested one come October this year, as some supporters are already split on who they want to see become leader.
Following the announcement that SLP stalwart, Phillip J. Pierre will be appointed acting leader, after former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony resigned, persons have been rushing to social media to publicly express their views.
While some are in support of Pierre, others prefer the second Deputy Political Leader Alva Baptiste, and some have also stated their approval for newcomer Ernest Hilaire.
Contacted for a comment on Tuesday, Pierre told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that he prefers not to make any statements until he is appointed acting leader of the SLP by the national council, later this week.
SNO also spoke with Hilaire, who pledged his continued support for the party, regardless if he is named the future leader or not, but refused to make any further statements until the next political leader is chosen.
While Pierre will be the acting leader until the next SLP convention, speculation has been rife that Hilaire could emerge as the new leader, as persons see him as someone who could help rebuild the SLP.
Persons have also been showing their support for Hilaire, while criticizing Pierre, stating that the SLP needs new blood if they are to retain governance of the country or even taken seriously again.
“Pip (Pierre) hope you ready to fight Hilaire and co…better yet just retire cuz you already spent 20 plus years as deputy leader and will never be leader (kinda reminds me of Gorge Odlum). Just pack your bags and go sail into the sunset of oblivion,” a supporter of the SLP said.
Another person said,” PIP as leader of the SLP, what a laughable joke . This guy has no guts for leadership. I wouldn’t trust him to lead a troop of boy scouts. He has been following all his life , remaining in the gutter playing cheap politics. The guy lacks statesmanship. No guts and no backbone.”
“PIP after so many years up to now they cannot make you SLP leader? Maybe you should take a page from Kenny book and run away form that party. Your navel string not buried there,” a Pierre supporter stated.
Meanwhile, former SLP candidate for Dennery South, Jerome Gideon is confident that whoever is chosen as leader at the next convention, he or she will be capable of working towards rebuilding the SLP.
Gideon also spoke about Dr. Antony’s decision to step down as SLP leader. “I think that is Dr. Anthony’s decision. He probably felt that it was his time to go on the results of the elections.”
He said despite the defeat he still believes that the SLP has a formidable team that could lead Saint Lucia in the right direction and this will be further strengthened in the upcoming years.
Some SLP supporters thinks that with the exit of Dr. Anthony, the party stands a good chance of doing much better at the next election, but this also depends on who becomes the next leader.