Demonstrators took to the streets of Castries and Vieux Fort Wednesday in competing marches for and against the United Workers Party government.
In Castries, the opposition St Lucia Labour Party called its supporters onto the streets, it said, to express public concern over the decisions and policies of the current administration.
The placard-bearing demonstrators marched from the Vigie Playing Field, down the John Compton Highway and through the city centre before gathering for a rally on the Castries market steps. There, they were addressed by members of the St Lucia Labour Party.
“I think this is a national event. I think people have grievances that they want to express to the government. The government has been very intransigent in the way that it has responded. It has instead accused every Tom, Dick and Harry who have raised a voice in opposition to a decision or to something that they are pursuing, they label them as Labour Party supporters…It’s a national matter and I think people are responding very well,” said Leo Clarke, SLP General Secretary.
The demonstration in Vieux Fort was organized by a group calling itself the Vieux Fort Coalition of Stakeholders for Development. It said it wanted to show support for development in the south of St Lucia.
The demonstrators, holding their own placards in support of the government, marched from the Phillip Marcellin Grounds and through the streets of Vieux Fort before ending for a rally at the Vieux Fort town square.
Demonstrator, Ian Ferdinand said he came out to secure a better future for his children.
“I am here today in support of development in Vieux Fort. For too long we have suffered in the south. In 97, Kenny Anthony asked Vieux Fort people to give Vieux Fort a Prime Minister, but what he did not say was give Vieux Fort a working Prime Minister. We have had nothing from Kenny Anthony. Now we are in progress with United Workers Party. I have two boys and this is why I’m here for my boys,” Ferdinand said.
In Vieux Fort, the demonstrators were given “fact sheets” with information on the controversial DSH development plans before they were addressed by members of the government including Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.