Hilaire: Labour party needs renaissance

Doctor Ernest Hilaire has asserted that the opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), must have a renaissance to become more relevant to Saint Lucia.

The SLP lost the June 6, 2016 general elections by a margin of 11 to 6.

The loss triggered the resignation of Doctor Kenny Anthony as party leader.

Anthony, on the night of the election loss, also said he did not intend to serve as leader of the opposition.

Doctor Ernest Hilaire himself managed to win the Castries South seat by a small margin of less than fifty votes in his first foray into elective politics.

But despite the SLP election defeat, the former High Commissioner to London feels that the SLP will come back even stronger.

He recalled that the party had been re-energized in 1997 with the return of Doctor Kenny Anthony who became leader.

During the general elections of that year, the SLP won a 16-1 landslide against the United Workers Party (UWP).

Hilaire said the SLP now needs to go through some introspection.

The Castries South MP asserted that the party must first understand what happened at the elections on June 6, 2016, the mood of the electorate and why they voted the way they did.

“Once we can come to understand that we can then start making decisions as to the future of the party,” Hilaire declared.

He felt it would be premature to make decisions on the future direction of the party without fully understanding what happened at the last polls.

Hilaire, who was widely reported as the likely successor to Doctor Kenny Anthony as SLP leader, asserted that once thee is that understanding, a decision can be made on what is the best configuration to take the party into the future.

“For me the most important thing is not to be speaking about leadership and who should be leader and who should not be leader,” he declared.

The former High  Commissioner to London said that for him what was most important was to understand the electorate, why they voted the way they did , how they accessed the SLP government and what they expect of the party in the future.

The SLP will hold a convention later this year, when there will be an open election for party leader.

 

Castries East MP, Philip J. Pierre, who was deputy party leader, was endorsed recently as leader according to the SLP constitution.

Pierre is also the current leader of the parliamentary opposition.

“Let my successes take me wherever it goes,” Hilaire said, adding that as a first time MP he needs to represent his constituents to the best of his ability.

He acknowledged that at the same time the SLP needs to reenergize itself and prepare for the future.

Asked directly whether he sees himself leading the SLP, Hilaire said he could not pronounce on the future.

“For me my goal was to win a seat, which I have done,” he explained.

Hilaire disclosed that it was now for him to demonstrate his capacity as a parliamentarian and along the way decisions will be made as needed.

“I am in it for the long haul,” Hilaire said, adding that he will not be running ahead of himself.

He said he and former SLP leader, Doctor Kenny Anthony have never had any discussion about leadership of the party.

 

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