By Melanius Alphonse
Over the years I have been accused of being too critical of the government of the day in Saint Lucia, without offering a new direction.
In this regard I would respond that this is a false assertion. However, while I have been critical, it is within my civic obligation; I have had every and within reason to be and, further, I have been an equal opportunity critic, without regard to whether the administration was the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) or the United Workers Party (UWP).
Everyone knows the serious problems that the country faces and it serves no purpose to rehash them at this time in terms of ongoing recriminations. What we need are effective and practical solutions, some of which are included in my numerous writings with a sense of objectivity.
This to my mind can only be achieved without recourse to party politics, whether SLP, UWP, Lucian People’s Movement (LPM), National Development Movement (NDM) or the Green Party. What is needed is national unity, not blind political agendas and ideology.
As noted, we all know what the major issues are, including the IMPACS report, citizen security, the need for sustainable and appropriate foreign direct investment, preservation of the environment and addressing the dysfunctional administration of justice.
Possibly the most intractable of these is how to resolve the fallout from Operation Restore Confidence in 2010/11, notably the Leahy Law sanctions, and the current administration is now the third that has been faced with finding a solution.
The ability to act is equally challenging; however, cooperation and partnership can address this obvious albatross around the neck of all Saint Lucians.
Based upon my own discussions with those that are in a position to be able to help in this regard, there is a way out but, in my view, this will take genuine national cooperation separated from political agendas and party or personal self-interest.
Saint Lucia must move from a position of being ignored, if we are to attain peace and prosperity. Since my withdrawal from the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) in March of 2015, I have been engaged regionally and internationally in socio-economic, security and governance issues.
I therefore encourage all Saint Lucian patriots to stand with me and eschew the party politics of the past and work to move forward as a country, not as separate interest groups of whatever kind.
In times of crisis, business, government and we the people must seek to fortify the future with resources on a higher level than previously.
There are opportunities to be grasped. For example, we have seen that Grenada seems to be determined to shoot itself in the foot when it comes to attracting and retaining foreign investment. Let us demonstrate to the world that Saint Lucia, on the other hand, is open for business, by creating a secure and welcoming environment in which it can flourish.
This we can accomplish, but let us all consider the specifics of what must be done to achieve prosperity, beginning with a reset agenda on socio-economic, security, governance, trade and international relations, on a bilateral and multilateral level.
This choice is one that must be made with sharp focus on the greater good of people from all walks of life.
“So mote it be,” in the cornerstone of our sovereignty.
NOTE: Melanius Alphonse is a management and development consultant, a long-standing senior correspondent and a contributing columnist to Caribbean News Now. His areas of focus include political, economic and global security developments, and on the latest news and opinion. His philanthropic interests include advocating for community development, social justice, economic freedom and equality. He contributes to special programming on Radio Free Iyanola, RFI 102.1FM and NewsNow Global analysis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org