Yesterday August 2nd, 2021, on the emancipation day holiday, the Prime Minister (PM) of Saint Lucia was received by a mass crowd in Marchand, a community within the constituency of Castries East, which he was elected to represent. Marked with great fanfare, a strip of red cloth representing the traditional royal welcome of a red carpet, the PM greeted and took photos with his most fervent supporters.
Not too long after, the PM led the mass crown through the community touring particular points of interest. While some waited for his return, many followed him on the journey. One of the stops along the way was the Boulevard Comfort station in Marchand, which seems to have been repurposed into a mechanic shop where two vehicles were visible. The distinct sounds of metal on metal suggest that work was being boon while they stopped by. The PM promised to rehabilitate the comfort station, among many other works, to rectify the neglect of his constituency by the former administration.
The PM was accompanied by the granddaughter of a firm supporter of the Saint Lucia Labour party (SLP). A 6-year-old lives in the Marchand Boulevard maned Zarah. While standing next to an SSU officer and questioned about his grandaughter on the Facebook Livestream of Philip J. Pierre, Zarah’s grandfather said.
“Zarah is a Lil child who knows about politics because every day she says Chastanet has to go, and Chastanet is a thief.”
After stopping to accept a coconut from a motherly figure in the community, too must jubilation from those you followed, a young boy was momentarily caught on camera. He was apprehensive of being seen on the Live stream, which had over a thousand viewers. What interested me about this moment was his reasoning for not wanting to be caught on camera. A lady nearby thought it was because his teacher would disapprove of such a young boy being mixed up with the mass crowd. But the young boy clarified that it was because his mother was a “Flambeau.” When the PM’s assistant running the Facebook Live asked, “Your mother is a flambeau?” to which the young boy said, “Yes uh.” They continued for a moment discussing his mother’s supposed political affiliation with light-hearted laughter before they commenced on their way back to the starting point where the PM would eventually deliver a few closing remarks.
I am bringing these two young Sons & Daughters of Saint Lucia to your attention because it demonstrates a point I have long lamented. In Saint Lucia, we confuse political indoctrination for education. The cancer of partisan politics first develops in the minds of impressionable youth who often grow up to become ardent party hacks. By no means is it their fault because the environment conditions their consciousness and moulds their neural network.
The actual youth, those under 18 years old, are who we must focus on if the future is to be any different from our past.
At the end of the event, I would like to highlight a few statements I would like to highlight during the PM’s closing remarks. I will leave a series of quotes and leave its interpretation up to you.
“This is not going to be the last time we are going to be walking. We have to be walking all the time because we have to protect that victory. We have to make Marchand the capital of Castries again.”
“The first promise that we made, we have done it. From September this year, there will be no facilities fees for the children going to school.”
“From this week, we are going to start to work on St Jude. We have to get St. Jude going for the people of Saint Lucia.”
“Listen to the truth; do not get moved by rumours and innuendo. The rumours have started; do not let the rumours confuse you — stand firm.”
“I am sorry we could not have the motorcade as planned, nor could we have the swearing-in of ministers in the park because we have to be careful with the COVID spread. I will not have anybody blaming us for anything.”
I will end by addressing this last quote because when word first reached me about the cancellation of the Swearing-in of the Cabinet of Ministers in Mindoo Plilp Park, it was positioned as a prudent decision. After all, the new PM did not want to spend money unnecessarily, knowing the government’s difficult fiscal situation. While this still may be true, his comments indicate otherwise. It alludes not even to a genuine concern about COVID but instead not to be blamed for a potential spread and give the opposition ammunition for an early offensive attack.
I sincerely hope that after all the election campaigning and yesterday’s events led by the PM, the Commissioner of Police unduly denies no requests for the right to assemble and express consciousness on the grounds of COVID restrictions.
We should all be taking these matters as seriously under this administration as we did during the last. But time will tell if the patriots go to sleep while others wake up.
Be strong, stay safe, and God bless Saint Lucia.