The Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) youth arm has condemned what it describes as violent threats by the ruling United Workers Party (UWP), against youth in the media.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party Youth Organisation (SLPYO) issued a statement Sunday on the issue.
The statement is reproduced below:
The Allen Chastanet led United Workers Party [UWP] regime has once again demonstrated their scant regard for democracy and their abhorrent posture toward Saint Lucians whom they recklessly assume to be affiliated with the Saint Lucia Labour Party [SLP] and of late the local media and press corps.
The conduct displayed by your Minister for Economic Development Guy Joseph toward journalist Miguel Fevrier was inexcusable, appalling and has promoted an archaic and discriminatory stereotype that teachers and educators, NGOs and indeed government agencies responsible for social justice and reform initiatives have been working to dispel from our society.
Mr. Prime Minister further evidence of your party’s penchant for victimization and questionable conduct was again exhibited when Stephen Dorelien, a senior member of the UWP, brazenly threatened to physically assault Tresha Lionel, a young female journalist, as she was carrying out her duties in the Vieux-Fort North constituency.
Mr. Prime Minister it was you who set the tone for your Cabinet of Ministers and UWP operatives only months after coming into office in 2016 when you shamefully sought to malign and disparage a local journalist who interviewed you on a matter of national interest.
Subsequent to your disturbing antics, your Ministers and UWP surrogates have blindly followed your lead and verbal attacks, insults and unwarranted confrontations against the media and press in particular has persisted during your term in office and has set a troublingly precedent for young Saint Lucians aspiring to serve in government.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party Youth Organization [SLPYO] categorically condemns these attacks perpetrated by members of your UWP regime. We remind you elected Members of Parliament and Ministers are accountable to the people, political parties and the surrogates you have installed in senior roles in government ought to conform to respectable standards of comportment and discourse.
Mr. Prime Minister, the SLPYO believes the victims of Minister Joseph’s and Mr. Dorelien’s abuse and the Saint Lucian public deserve an immediate apology for their distasteful behaviour.
We call on the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dominic Fedee, who himself was a media worker, to advise his colleague Ministers on the functions of the press.
The SLPYO expects the Broadcast Minister to promptly issue a public statement on the recent attacks on the press and to give assurances such incidents will be discouraged and appropriately addressed.
The SLPYO wishes to remind the Prime Minister and the UWP Saint Lucia remains a democratic society. Despite your government’s intolerance for scrutiny and criticism, our Constitution affords every citizen protection and the right to freely express their views and opinions on any subject in a responsible manner. Mr. Prime Minister, be so guided accordingly;
“…A person shall not be hindered in the enjoyment of his or her freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference, freedom to receive ideas and information without interference, freedom to communicate ideas and information without interference (whether the communication be to the public generally or to any person or class of persons) and freedom from interference with his or her correspondence [SAINT LUCIA CONSTITUTION PROTECTION OF FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION].”
The SLPYO holds steadfast in advocating for equality, opportunity and justice for Saint Lucia’s youth.