CASTRIES, St Lucia, CMC – The St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) came storming back into government in Monday’s general election, five years after it was swept aside by the United Workers Party (UWP).
SLP Leader Dr. Kenny Anthony told St. Lucians that the “days ahead will be hard, it will be difficult” and that the right message would be sent by not declaring a public holiday as has been the tradition over the years to celebrate the victory.
“I am afraid there will be no holiday (Tuesday), we will get to work immediately. There is a hard job ahead of all of us and it is important for the sake of this country that we take the right step from now,” he added.
Preliminary results show that the SLP secured a majority of the 17 seats, and could be victorious in as many as 11 constituencies given that some of the results were being contested by both parties.
The SLP victory crushed the hopes of outgoing Prime Minister Stephenson King, who had predicted a 14-3 victory for the UWP and a second consecutive term in power. King has not issued any statement either conceding defeat or congratulating the winner..
A number of cabinet ministers including Sports and Social Development Minister Lenard “Spider” Montoute, National Security Minister Guy Mayers, Health Minister Dr. Keith Mondesir, Tourism Minister Allan Chastanet and Foreign Minister Rufus Bousquet, all tasted defeat in the election, the ninth since the island attained its political independence from Britain in 1979.
But there were immediate calls for recounts in some constituencies, such s Gros Islet, where Montoute was defeated by
newcomer Emma Hippolyte by 15 votes.
For the first time in more than three decades, the name Compton, was not successful in the Micoud North constituency, where former University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer, Dr. Gale T.C Rigobert, defeated Jeannine Compton, the daughter of the late Sir John Compton, who contested the seat which her father held for more than three decades as an independent candidate.
Despite the heavy rains that have been a feature here over the past few days, some SLP supporters took to the streets during the early morning of Tuesday rejoicing at the party’s turn of fortunes following the 11-6 defeat it suffered in 2006.
Anthony easily won the Vieux Fort south constituency which he has represented in Parliament for the past 15 years, brushing aside Karl Wilfred Daniel, while King also easily retained his Castries North seat, moving past the challenge from Ubaldus Raymond.
Anthony said that he was asking supporters to “celebrate quietly whether in their homes (or), their own communities,” adding, on Tuesday “let us come back to work and start the job of rebuilding our country”.