Mia Mottley defends visit to Saint Lucia

Barbados Today:- Two respected political analysts have found themselves on opposing ends of the St Lucia general election debate, with St-Lucia born Dr Tennyson Joseph and Barbadian Peter Wickham trading strong punches in the run-up
to Monday’s general elections there.

The controversy follows pollster Wickham’s release of his latest public opinion poll this week, which concluded that the race between the Dr Kenny Anthony-led ruling St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the Allen Chastanet-led Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), was simply too close to call.

To add to the Barbadian political intrigue in the Castries poll, a recent visit by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley to St Lucia has also become the subject of regional political debate, with prominent Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan among those questioning her judgement, as one seeking to become Prime Minister of Barbados, appearing to support the opposition and not the incumbent St Lucia government.

In a voice note, which was shared with Barbados TODAY, Astaphan, who is a close advisor to Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit,  also revealed that Barbadian political strategist Hartley Henry was advising the UWP on its campaign.

However, Mottley told Barbados TODAY this evening her visit was strictly to provide legal representation for a client but while there she attended meetings of both political parties.

Asked about the presence on the ground in Castries of a team of some of her personal advisors, including Debbie Hughes and Lucille Moe, who are said to be working for the UWP, an incensed Mottley responded: “What is this? Am I being followed by the Gestapo?”

Reacting cautiously to reports that Mottley was seen in St Lucia over the past week, Joseph, who is a former candidate of the SLP, said it was important to know what she was doing there.

However, Wickham was totally dismissive of the concern, pointing out that it was common practice for West Indian politicians to attend mass meetings at election time in the region.

He, however, did not mince his words after hearing Joseph’s criticisms of his latest poll.

Arguing that the head of the Department of Government at Cave Hill was not a “pollster” but a “philosopher”, Wickham accused Joseph of venturing into a field for which he was not trained.

He went on to defend his latest survey, explaining that even though the elections were too close for him to call, the current momentum was in his professional estimation with Chastanet and his UWP.

“The uncertain vote had gone significantly in Chastanet’s favour and a majority of uncertain voters wanted a change in Government,” Wickham said, adding that “all of the indicators are favourable to the UWP.

“It is not only the Saudi Arabia affair [that surrounds Anthony’s appointment of billionaire  Walid Juffali as St Lucia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization], but the bigger issue for most St Lucians is the level of unemployment which stands at 24 per cent. People are most concerned about unemployment and people are needy,” Wickham said.

However, Joseph questioned Wickham’s emphasis on “swing analysis” which he claims “does not drill down into specific constituencies” to give a clear picture of possible voting patterns.

Based on his own critical analysis of the voting patterns in St Lucia over the years, Joseph, who is originally from southwest village of Choiseul and contested the Choiseul/Saltibus seat in 2006 for the SLP, contended that the ruling St Lucia Labour Party would not have a hard time winning Monday’s general elections since there were at least seven “safe” seats, which means it would only need two more seats to retain the Government and a majority in the 17-member parliament.

Maintaining that it was not difficult to read the St Lucia elections, the academic pointed out toBarbados TODAY that in 2006 the ruling SLP won six seats to which it added the Dennery North seat in 2011.

“In other words, the SLP has seven seats for sure going into this election. This means that the party only needs an additional two seats to win the general elections.”

While dismissing Wickham’s poll, which Joseph said was conducted for the UWP, he pointed out that a recent poll released by the SLP assured the ruling party of 11 seats in the upcoming poll.

Joseph, who served briefly as Prime Minister Anthony’s Administrative Attaché between 2000 and 2003, and was an Opposition Senator for a brief period in 2007, said that result was consistent with his own “reading” of the situation.

“The reading which we are getting from St Lucia, the election results will be either 12-5 or 14-3 in favour of the SLP. It can be as low as 11-6, in favour of the SLP, but it is not expected to go lower than that,” Joseph told
Barbados TODAY.

Though acknowledging that the highly controversial appointment of the Saudi Arabian billionaire did cause some political fall-out for the SLP, Joseph contended that it would have very little impact on the results of the general elections.

An expert in Caribbean affairs, he made the point that the UWP has never won a general election in St Lucia without the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton as its leader.


  1. Anonymous
    June 3, 2016 at 8:53 am

    what about the prime minister of Dominica appearing on national radio station speaking in favour of the slp

  2. opps!!!
    June 3, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Ralphy was here in 2011. Estaphane was here in 2011 with jadia on red zone. SLP desperation.

  3. SLP
    June 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

    On Monday, we are retaining the SLP In Power.

  4. April Showers
    June 3, 2016 at 10:00 am

    Choops. Is this really news? Besides my friends from Barbados tell me this lady is one of the brightest politicians of her generation and looks set to win the the next election on Barbados.

    Kenny must really be feeling the pressure.

  5. Waps
    June 3, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Tell Anthony Astaphan why did Ralph Gonsalves, Kenny Anthony and others come to Dominica to campaign for the Labour Party. Yo pe. They know Kenny going.

  6. The Commentator
    June 9, 2016 at 2:15 am

    It must be a very bitter pill for Dr. Tennyson Joseph, a Che Labour, to swallow to see that his dear cousin, Bradley Felix, contributed to the demise of the SLP at the polls. Bradley, the banker, aligned himself with the winning team but Tennyson, the historian and political scientist, used an uncalibrated time machine which kept telling Tennyson that Labour will win.
    That distasteful SLP advertisement which accused Bradley of being responsible for Non-Performing Loans (NPL) at Bank of St. Lucia (BOSL) was the final nail in Lorne’s coffin. The SLP should know by now that one cannot run and win an Election on mwepi and mauvais lang alone.
    Tennyson is a bright boy but he should not allow his loyalty and love of Labour to cloud his great superior intellect and judgment. IN THE INTERIM TENNYSON SHOULD GET A NEW TIME MACHINE AS HIS UNCALIBRATED TIME MACHINE IS BROKEN BEYOND REPAIR. GO BACK TO THE FUTURE TENNYSON.