Castries North MP, Stephenson King, has officially discarded the yellow of the United Workers Party (UWP) on whose ticket he last won the seat in 2016, with blue – the colour he has chosen as an independent candidate.
But the UWP says it will be naming a candidate soon to go up against King and believes that the party has a good chance.
The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has not so far announced a candidate.
On Thursday night King officially confirmed the open secret that he would not be participating in the July 26 general elections under the UWP banner.
“I find myself unable to recognise the founding principles of my party in the government that I am supposedly part of,” the former Saint Lucia Prime Minister said in a televised message to the nation.
He spoke of being repulsed by the blatant disrespect and callous contempt in which so many ordinary people have been held by ‘those who now hold political office’.
“In all good conscience, I cannot go to the people and ask them to endorse for another five years, what has just preceded us and to repose the leadership of this country in the same group of people in some mistaken belief that it will be alright in the morning,” King stated.
He explained that after deep and profound soul searching, consultation and prayers and having spent time attempting to share his wisdom with his colleagues to pursue a different brand of politics, he had reached the ‘inevitable and painful conclusion’ that he can no longer be part of an organisation that he can hardly recognise.
King described himself as a team player who had to first try and do all in his power, before announcing his decision to run as an independent.
UWP Chairman, Pinkley Francis, in an interview with Choice Television News on Thursday, said that afternoon he received a letter from the Castries North MP, expressing his intention not to contest the elections as a ruling party candidate.
But Francis said King’s letter did not indicate that he had resigned from the UWP.
“He simply said that he will not be representing the United Workers Party as a candidate, so there is no indication that he has left the party,” the UWP Chairman explained.
Francis said King’s move was disappointing.
“I didn’t expect that,” he stated, adding that the ruling party did not anticipate anyone defecting at this time.
However, Francis asserted that there’s work to be done as King has been representing the Castries North constituency for a number of years and has built loyalty and recognition.
Nevertheless, the UWP Chairman told Choice Television News that will not deter the ruling party.
“No one person is bigger than the political party, so we are going in as the United Workers Party with our candidate and I think we stand a good chance against Mr. King,” Francis declared.
“We have been working on preparing ourselves for this,” he said, noting that rumours about the Castries North candidate’s intentions had preceded King’s official announcement on Thursday night.
“We obviously would not take chances, so we have been working on preparing ourselves for this – obviously the news came in today, so it’s just about finalising plans and we’ll be making an announcement very soon with a candidate,” the UWP official told Choice Television News.
Headline photo: Stephenson King’s campaign office in La Clery, Castries, repainted in blue on Thursday