Election rub

Mia defends St Lucia visit

Two respected political analysts have found themselves on opposing ends of the St Lucia general election debate, with St-Lucia born Dr Tennyson Joseph and Barbadian Peter Wickham trading strong punches in the run-up
to Monday’s general elections there.

The controversy follows pollster Wickham’s release of his latest public opinion poll this week, which concluded that the race between the Dr Kenny Anthony-led ruling St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the Allen Chastanet-led Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), was simply too close to call.

To add to the Barbadian political intrigue in the Castries poll, a recent visit by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley to St Lucia has also become the subject of regional political debate, with prominent Dominican lawyer Anthony Astaphan among those questioning her judgement, as one seeking to become Prime Minister of Barbados, appearing to support the opposition and not the incumbent St Lucia government.

Mia Mottley

In a voice note, which was shared with Barbados TODAY, Astaphan, who is a close advisor to Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit,  also revealed that Barbadian political strategist Hartley Henry was advising the UWP on its campaign.

However, Mottley told Barbados TODAY this evening her visit was strictly to provide legal representation for a client but while there she attended meetings of both political parties.

Asked about the presence on the ground in Castries of a team of some of her personal advisors, including Debbie Hughes and Lucille Moe, who are said to be working for the UWP, an incensed Mottley responded: “What is this? Am I being followed by the Gestapo?”

Reacting cautiously to reports that Mottley was seen in St Lucia over the past week, Joseph, who is a former candidate of the SLP, said it was important to know what she was doing there.

However, Wickham was totally dismissive of the concern, pointing out that it was common practice for West Indian politicians to attend mass meetings at election time in the region.

Peter Wickham
Peter Wickham

He, however, did not mince his words after hearing Joseph’s criticisms of his latest poll.

Arguing that the head of the Department of Government at Cave Hill was not a “pollster” but a “philosopher”, Wickham accused Joseph of venturing into a field for which he was not trained.

He went on to defend his latest survey, explaining that even though the elections were too close for him to call, the current momentum was in his professional estimation with Chastanet and his UWP.

“The uncertain vote had gone significantly in Chastanet’s favour and a majority of uncertain voters wanted a change in Government,” Wickham said, adding that “all of the indicators are favourable to the UWP.

“It is not only the Saudi Arabia affair [that surrounds Anthony’s appointment of billionaire  Walid Juffali as St Lucia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization], but the bigger issue for most St Lucians is the level of unemployment which stands at 24 per cent. People are most concerned about unemployment and people are needy,” Wickham said.

However, Joseph questioned Wickham’s emphasis on “swing analysis” which he claims “does not drill down into specific constituencies” to give a clear picture of possible voting patterns.

Dr Tennyson Joseph
Dr Tennyson Joseph

Based on his own critical analysis of the voting patterns in St Lucia over the years, Joseph, who is originally from southwest village of Choiseul and contested the Choiseul/Saltibus seat in 2006 for the SLP, contended that the ruling St Lucia Labour Party would not have a hard time winning Monday’s general elections since there were at least seven “safe” seats, which means it would only need two more seats to retain the Government and a majority in the 17-member parliament.

Maintaining that it was not difficult to read the St Lucia elections, the academic pointed out to Barbados TODAY that in 2006 the ruling SLP won six seats to which it added the Dennery North seat in 2011.

“In other words, the SLP has seven seats for sure going into this election. This means that the party only needs an additional two seats to win the general elections.”

While dismissing Wickham’s poll, which Joseph said was conducted for the UWP, he pointed out that a recent poll released by the SLP assured the ruling party of 11 seats in the upcoming poll.

Joseph, who served briefly as Prime Minister Anthony’s Administrative Attaché between 2000 and 2003, and was an Opposition Senator for a brief period in 2007, said that result was consistent with his own “reading” of the situation.

“The reading which we are getting from St Lucia, the election results will be either 12-5 or 14-3 in favour of the SLP. It can be as low as 11-6, in favour of the SLP, but it is not expected to go lower than that,” Joseph told
Barbados TODAY.

Though acknowledging that the highly controversial appointment of the Saudi Arabian billionaire did cause some political fall-out for the SLP, Joseph contended that it would have very little impact on the results of the general elections.

An expert in Caribbean affairs, he made the point that the UWP has never won a general election in St Lucia without the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton as its leader.


9 Responses to Election rub

  1. jrsmith June 3, 2016 at 5:04 am

    Why would anyone from Barbados want to interfere with the elections in (St. Lucia ) now you see why Barbados is at this bad cross roads again. The time should be spent trying to sort out the fraudulent corrupt behaviour of our Barbados government.

    I was told stop worrying about Barbados politicians, the yard fowls will always win they are all crooked.. because they protect each other,

  2. seagul June 3, 2016 at 7:27 am

    ————– Barbados is a wonderful country full of good people – but we have this one huge problem with a long-established culture of corruption and entitlement in politics and government service. International visitors to the Barbados Free Press are usually shocked when they learn that Barbados government officials are not prohibited from accepting gifts of any value—from land developers or companies that receive government contracts.

  3. Green Giant June 3, 2016 at 8:42 am

    If you have political operatives on foreign soil during elections week and conveniently you are doing a client’s business during that time, why can’t local media ask you questions?

    Politicians in St. Lucia, and their representatives are concerned about the level of B L P personnel on the ground there assisting the opposition. That should be of concern for our local media.

    If a politician while in opposition can be so affront to media questioning as to respond. “What is this? Am I being followed by the Gestapo?” If the media can’t ask her questions now, how can they if she becomes PM?

    That’s why i’m expressing my concerns here often about the change of party and not change of governing procedures.

    I hope we are all not blind to the true level of corruption existing on both sides of the fence in this country.

    • Ras Milke June 3, 2016 at 10:26 am

      MIA, MIA, so if you had to become PM dah is wuh you gine tell the Press when dem ask you a question, you best stop in St.Lucia.

  4. Coralita June 3, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Peter Wickham is Mia’s right hand man, so there is no surprise that the entire contingent is all wrapped up in supporting the same political party in St. Lucia.

    Partisan politics may blind some; however, the rest of us have our eyes and ears wide open.

  5. jrsmith June 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    @ Ras ,Milke and Corilita , hail, hail, on the button. I am a dems supporter but until the next general, I kind of swinging towards Mia for some time now but she cant play games . to se our politicians in government for some time now look so dishonourable and non trustworthy. she should be stamping all over our the bad government. she should not even visit ST, Lucia at the present time..
    The Audit General report puts her in the driving seat…our Priminister and all his cronies all ducking and diving at the present time avoiding questions…

  6. Johnathan June 3, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Don’t understand why Mia like anyone else who want to visit St. Lucia at any time shouldn’t be free to do so elections or not. Mia is an outstanding Caribbean lawyer who clearly stated her reason for being their. Isn’t she as independent person entitled to speak with who ever she wishes? This political witch hunt is so nonsensical espesially in light of the fact that all of these Caribbean leaders visit their friends during elections time and support who ever they wish. What makes her different? Kenny’s assertion is so empty and unfounded it is not even worth discussing. Are we having a different standard for Mia because she is a woman when the others were doing just what she is being accused of with any backlash. Wish you well Mia…

  7. Sherlock Holmes. June 3, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Mia Mottley it appears that you have tried to impression that you are in St Lucia on legitimate business,you speak of being there to advise a client,something that would be difficult to refute,on the grounds of lawyer client privilege and you stated that you call the Prime Minister Anthony and told him that you were there which was a reasonably good tactic,you declared your hand to him early, but do you believe that he believed you? You obviously tried to nip suspicion in the early, one of your greatest problems and one that will always create problems for you is right in your camp,the infamous Peter Wickham, he just cannot be trusted and given time he will orchestrate your demise politically,quite recently Joseph whom i always felt was one of your staunch supporters took him to serious task and shared some serious blows to his credibility,this is a situation that i am watching unfold as we all know that one cannot serve two masters. The visit to St Lucia though it can be said that a person can visit where they choose and at what time, may have not been the best thing to do,seems like another blunder.

  8. Sherlock Holmes. June 3, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    correction should read …….have tried to give the impression


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