Opposition leader Allen Chastanet has asserted that racism plays a part worldwide, especially in politics.
As far as he is concerned, people use racism as a ‘last card’ to bring emotions into a debate when evidence is lacking to justify a particular position.
He made the remarks in invited comments concerning racism and politics in Saint Lucia.
“Racism in Saint Lucia is not new, racism globally, sadly, is not new and the world is trying to address these issues. We have seen a lot of movements recently to bring that about,” the former Prime Minister observed.
“Race has been applied on both sides. It’s not right. It divides the country, but at the end of the day I am proud of my own personal heritage here in Saint Lucia,” Chastanet stated.
“My grandparents, my family members, we have all been Saint Lucians, we are Saint Lucians and more importantly I certainly come from a mixed race and I am proud of my history. I have never run away from my history. I am proud to talk about it and embrace it as part of who I am,” the Micoud South MP stated.
After his July 26, 2021 election defeat, Chastanet indicated that the Black Lives Matter Movement here was among the contributors to the loss; however, he described the movement as a very important one.
But he explained that, like many other movements, sometimes outside forces exert an influence.
“I think that leading up to the elections, the labour party did use the Black Lives Matter Movement and influenced it for politics,” the United Workers Party (UWP) leader told St Lucia Times.
“The narrative that Allen Chastanet was a foreigner in the country, I look like a foreigner, I speak like a foreigner and I am different to everybody else, certainly was something applied to undermine my character and I think there are no two ways about it. But I don’t think that by itself it influenced the outcome of the elections,” he expressed.
But he said the issue played a part.
Nevertheless, Chastanet declared that he and the members of his party take responsibility for their election loss.
“You look at the situation where you had COVID and COVID was dealing with confinement and then you had Black Lives Matter which was speaking about freedom. So a simple thing where you take a slogan that ‘I can’t breathe’ which was a black man who was pinned against the ground and killed. But you make that come across as COVID was attempting to do the same thing and the person that was the imposer of the restrictions of COVID was Allen Chastanet and so therefore that’s the inference that was being made all along,” the former PM noted.
However, Chastanet said his administration at the time applied the protocols because they represented the best practices to save lives.
In this regard, he declared that the protocols had nothing to do with restricting the movement of people or racism.
“But cleverly, the labour party was able to merge those two issues as being the same,” Chastanet observed.
And he admitted that he and his party did not do a good enough job of pushing back on those issues and causing people to see the ‘full story’.
According to Chastanet, the genius of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) campaign was its half-truths.