Ahead of a planned United Workers Party (UWP) protest march on Saturday in Vieux Fort, Vieux Fort South MP Dr. Kenny Anthony has declared the constitutional right of an opposition party to demonstrate.
However, Anthony has raised questions regarding the wisdom of the protest plan.
“An opposition party has a right to demonstrate if it so wishes,” the former Prime Minister noted.
“We always have to recognise the rights of our opponents to exercise the rights which the constitution bequeaths,” Anthony stated.
He recalled that when the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) was in opposition, it held very successful marches.
The UWP’s Public Relations Officer, Lenard Montoute, told an opposition Town Hall meeting that concern over St. Jude Hospital was one of the main reasons for the upcoming protest against the SLP administration.
“You may ask yourself, ‘Why would the opposition want to engage in a march on St. Jude when they are so responsible for what exists at St. Jude today?’ They were in office for five years. They damaged people’s reputations. They damaged people’s lives,” Anthony said.
He noted that the then UWP administration put up a building and promised completion before the general election, while refusing to disclose the cost.
Anthony also said the UWP administration gave particular companies the most direct purchase contracts ever in Saint Lucia’s history while no one knew what the endgame was.
“Why would they, given that history, want to march? But it is their right and we have to recognise their right to do so even if we may be displeased with the logic that they apply to the situation,” the Vieux Fort South MP stated.
Anthony said Saint Lucians did not understand the wisdom and logic of many things that occurred in the past, but in retrospect, many citizens are beginning to do so.
“Everything has a time and place. As a government, you do have to take difficult and hard decisions and people sometimes wouldn’t want to forgive you,” he explained.
” I am hopeful that when Saint Lucians look back that, collectively, we all can say we must never ever allow in this country the colossal wastage of funds that took place,” the former Finance Minister said.
Anthony said the taxpayers are paying for it.
“You know what’s going to happen? Between the experience of repairing the old St. Jude, rehabilitating the old St. Jude when I was in office and consider, at least $180 million had been spent,” the former Prime Minister recalled.
“Already, the Flambeau government under Allen Chastanet had spent about $150 million on the box, which is incomplete. So 180 plus 150,” Anthony noted.
“It is said that the box will take another 200 plus, so that means $530 million. To that now, when you are going to add what this government is going to spend on the current St. Jude and let us say for argument sake that it is 140 to 150 million. You realise that it would mean that over six, bordering on $700 million was spent on St. Jude Hospital?”
“How can we possibly justify this?” Anthony asked.
“When, if the former hospital had been completed, all we might have done is possibly have spent 150, 160 million and case closed,” the Vieux Fort South MP stated.
In addition he questioned how the UWP could decide to march, after leaving a mess behind.