Victory bought

Political scientist claims UWP paid for election win

As Allen Chastanet took the oath of office Tuesday as St Lucia’s new prime minister, one political scientist accused his United Workers Party (UWP) of buying victory in yesterday’s general election.

A perplexed Dr Tennyson Joseph, who had earlier predicted that the then incumbent St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) of Dr Kenny Anthony would have won no fewer than 11 of the 17 seats, but would likely take 12, said money likely played a role in the UWP’s 11 to six win.

Allen Chastanet
Allen Chastanet

“What we have been seeing in Caribbean elections is that we are trying to analyze them based on broad issues like issues of policy, development and leadership, but truly what swings those elections is money and . . . the people who can do the money thing better are very often the ones who can in fact win an election,” the Head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) told Barbados TODAY.

Stressing that he was not being unkind to the new Prime Minister, Joseph said he was simply trying to account for the outcome of yesterday’s poll.

However, pollster Peter Wickham, with whom Joseph had sparred publicly over the results of a survey conducted by Wickham’s polling company CADRES, seemingly dismissed the academic’s analysis.

Wickham, whose poll had found the election too close to call, had earlier withheld comment, telling Barbados TODAY he would await Joseph’s analysis “since he has a superior intellect and understanding of the Caribbean environment”.

However, he later attributed the SLP’s defeat to a combination of arrogance and the party’s failure to confront the pertinent issues.

“[The] St Lucia Labour Party was happy to repeat the argument that the UWP had never won an election under anyone other than [its founding leader the late Sir] John Compton . . . when the fundamental issues that were on the table were not being addressed.

“Allen Chastanet had essentially outlined a plan that he thinks would help to revive the economy and give it some life, while the SLP was focused on the extent to which he was unsuitable because he lacked ‘St Lucianness’, and that was something that . . . became very popular. I think that’s where it went wrong,” Wickham said.

Although Chastanet is St Lucian, several voters called into question the colour of his skin, and his ability to lead the country.

“He is a St Lucian, I think it’s a ridiculous concept, that nonetheless he was being told that he was not St Lucian enough. It’s one of these concocted intellectual discourses that I don’t have a lot of time for and I think that he’s essentially proven the extent to which it was a ridiculous basis on which to premise an election contest,” the pollster added.

“We had a majority of people that were desiring a change of government we had a situation where Allen Chastanet had improved in the eyes of St Lucians over the period of a year, he had doubled his support among the uncertain voters or the uncommitted voters, and for all of those reasons to me the trend in terms of where
St Lucia was going was fairly clear.”

Meantime, in today’s interview with Barbados TODAY, Joseph had difficulty comprehending how St Lucians chose Chastanet over Anthony, who he said displayed superior leadership skills and whose party presented the better candidates.

The UWI official added that, unlike most of the region’s past leaders, the new prime minister was not rooted in any movement, such as labour unions or mass-based political organizations, but came from the business class.

This, he argued, made it difficult to anticipate the social programmes Chastanet would introduce, warning that St Lucians could be fed some bitter policies like the privatization of beaches.

The UWP was engaged in a lengthy and bitter leadership struggle and infighting after Chastanet moved to replace then political leader and former Prime Minister Stevenson King who had refused to step down, with one female party activist describing Chastanet as “Machiavellian in his approach” and tending “to have a problem with women”.

King was also ousted as opposition leader and replaced by Chastanet supporter Dr Gale Rigobert, a former UWI lecturer.

However, Wickham said the party had put the in-fighting behind it. Nonetheless he warned the new administration would face the wrath of St Lucians if the bitter internal war returned.

“If the UWP descends back into confusion and disunity, then that’s where we’re gonna have some problems. But my sense is that they have learnt their lesson, they understand what is expected of them and what they have to do,” Wickham said.

7 Responses to Victory bought

  1. Sue Donym June 8, 2016 at 8:44 am

    What’s the going rate for sour grapes? Somewhere near the cost of biased thinking. A political scientist must learn to assess fact and available information ahead of personal preferences.

  2. Carson C Cadogan June 8, 2016 at 8:50 am

    “Political scientist claims UWP paid for election win”

    As long as the Barbados Labour Party is involved, huge sums of money will be spent to win the elections as was done here in Barbados by them in 2013. But it didnt work at that time. That does not mean that they and their backers have given up on the strategy.

    The Democratic Labour Party need to take note. The Barbados Labour Party and their backers will spend millions upon millons of dollars on the 2018 general elections. Be prepared for the onslaught. They need to sure up their war chest.

    THE 2018 GENERAL ELECTIONS WILL BE THE MOST EXPENSIVE in the history of Bajan elections since our Independence.

  3. jrsmith June 8, 2016 at 11:46 am

    These educated people one after another has become laughing stocks, I think this is good for ST, Lucians, this is they (Donald Trump) they country would start doing well. so they bought they votes but was it for rum corned beef and biscuits as they do in Barbados…

  4. Tony Waterman June 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    @PERPLEXED Dr Tennyson Joseph!!!!!
    Meantime, in today’s interview with Barbados TODAY, Joseph had difficulty comprehending how St Lucians chose Chastanet over Anthony, who he said displayed superior leadership skills and whose party presented the better candidates.
    This is just your Elitest View, you seem to think that EVERY St.Lucian should do what YOU want thgem to do, and i am Wondering, is that because hold a Phd. and they don’t ???
    Perhaps you will do good in Communist China or North Korea, but in St.Lucia i think they are Educated Enough to make Competant Decisions, which they just Did so why not see how you can help your NATIVE Land move Forward or just BUTT OUT.

    • Brimstone June 8, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Well said……..

  5. Brimstone June 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm

    Well said ………………………

  6. sam Pillie June 12, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Dr. Joseph is a SORE LOOSER and I am disappointed.

    He reminds me of Karl Rove who works with the GOP and predicted that Mitt Romney would beat Obama in the last USA elections.


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