United Workers Party (UWP) leader Allen Chastanet, who returned unopposed as party leader recently, has told reporters that he feels ‘very strong’ while expressing gratitude to supporters.
“I feel very strong. I am just grateful for the support of our party,” the Micoud South MP stated.
And he asserted that over time, more citizens understand what building a new Saint Lucia is all about and the successes his former administration achieved.
The electorate voted Chastanet’s government out of office at the July 26, 2021, general elections, which the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) won by a landslide.
However, the former Prime Minister pointed to his then Government’s handling of COVID-19 and the administration’s recovery plan as second to none.
“The year immediately after COVID, the economy grew by twelve and a half percent. I believe the pronouncement is that it is going to grow by double digits again this year,” Chastanet said.
“And when you look at what’s going on in the economy – Cabot, Daher Mall, the Hotel at Pointe Seraphine, the Millennium Highway, the bridge in Cul de Sac, the water project in Vieux Fort, the five schools that we were redoing with CDB, community centres, the bridges the infrastructure, and then now you see tourism,” he told reporters.
According to Chastanet, his former Government opened the doors to tourism against the protests of the opposition labour party.
“Remember, they said that we were the only persons who believed that tourism would recover and that we were crazy,” he recalled.
However, the former Tourism Minister declared that the early successful reopening of Saint Lucia’s borders made the country the fastest-growing tourism destination in the Southern Caribbean.
“I think the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico were the only ones that were ahead of us and that created a foundation and we saw another significant recovery in tourism this year,” the opposition leader observed.
Chastanet said he was very proud, and people increasingly recognised the merits of what the UWP government was doing.
“Those persons who were saying ‘You can’t eat roads,’ suggesting that the Government was spending money on infrastructural projects and not helping to provide support for people. People now today would appreciate that that was towards the economic recovery of the country and it was the right thing to do,” he declared.
Chastanet said he genuinely believes the people elected the SLP on a social conscience platform.
But he lamented that this has yet to translate into policy.