Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has congratulated Allan Chastanet on his “tremendous victory” in the general election in St. Lucia and praising his predecessor, Dr.Kenny Anthony, for having served the island well.
Chastanet, an economist, led his United Workers Party (UWP) to a resounding victory in Monday’s general election, with the party winning 11 of the 17 seats at stake. The other six were won by the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP).
Prime Minister Gonsalves told reporters Tuesday he had telephoned Chastanet congratulating him on his “tremendous victory”.
“His party was 11-6 down before the parliament was dissolved and is now 11-6 up. That’s quite a turn around,” said Gonsalves, adding that he had also spoken with Anthony, whom he described as his personal friend.
“Anthony, of course, has served St. Lucia well but people make their decisions and you respect the decisions of the people,” he said.
“Everyone knows that Kenny Anthony has been my friend and he remains my friend and every prime minister and president in the Caribbean is my friend. And this morning, as you would expect, I began the early days of what I hope would be a very warm friendship with Allan Chastanet, the prime minister-elect.”
Gonsalves said he and Chastanet had a good discussion on a number of matters.
“And when he is settled in, I invite him to come to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which he said he would come, for a couple days for us to talk about several things.
“We talked briefly about the work we have to do with relation to the OECS and CARICOM and LIAT. He is a man of much accomplishment. He has come from a family which is self-made and I am quite sure that he would do well for the people of St. Lucia and he would work very well with his colleagues in CARICOM. And I believe that the relations between St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines would be further strengthened,” Gonsalves said.
He said he knows that people would be saying that the UWP and the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) here traditionally have fraternal links.
“Of course, but I have a good relationship with Stephenson King, when he was prime minister when he headed the government. I had a very good relationship with Sir John Compton, of blessed memory,” Gonsalves said.
Gonsalves said that while the ruling New National Party (NNP) in Grenada had close links with the NDP he and Mitchell are good friends and get along quite well.
“I believe that Allan Chastanet and the UWP benefitted greatly from having persons who normally work for the Unity Labour Party, like Peter Wickham the pollster and Hartley Henry, the political consultants, who hitherto, previous elections had worked with the St. Lucia Labour Party, Kenny Anthony.”
He said it is interesting that Chastanet is the first UWP leader to have won an election in St. Lucia since the late John Compton.
“… in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the New Democratic Party has never won an election under the leadership of anyone but the founder, Sir James Mitchell. Other people may take lessons from that and act accordingly. It is not for me to give other people lessons. I just made observations about certain matter,” said Gonsalves, whose Unity Labour Party (ULP) secured a fourth consecutive term in office in December 2015 in an election that the NDP claims were stolen.
The prime minister said the important thing is that congratulations are in order for Chastanet and the UWP.
“I acknowledge the work of Kenny Anthony and thank him for the work on behalf of the people of St. Lucia and certainly on behalf of the region and the work we have done together between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Lucia,” Gonsalves said.