Former St Lucia PM hails UNC leader as ‘visionary’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Allen Chastanet. –

ALLEN Chastanet, opposition leader and former prime minister of St Lucia, defined UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar as a “visionary” and tipped her to become TT’s next PM.

Chastanet also divulged plans to create a body for opposition leaders from the region to ensure their voices were heard by the Caribbean Development Bank, World Bank, and Caricom.

He delivered a vibrant address at the UNC’s anti-crime talks in Sangre Grande, on Monday night.

“I am here tonight to stand in solidarity with your former prime minister, and more particularly because she is a leader of the opposition,” Chastanet told a packed audience.

“I am here tonight to give her support and say that she is in the right direction.

“She is setting an example for all the other leaders of opposition that our job is not just to protest or oppose (but to) create platforms like today to give the people a voice to speak.”

Chastanet congratulated the opposition leader for developing the country and creating a platform for people affected by crime to speak out.

“Our constitutions officially include the Office of the Leader of the Opposition as part of our government.

Armed with a copy of St Lucia’s constitution, which he described as a contract between the citizens and government providing the safety of citizens, among other protections.

“One of the things that the constitution does is to enshrine liberties and rights to all of us and to make sure that government does not use its power against anyone in our country. It cannot use that power to oppress and suppress the rights of individual citizens in our country,” he said.

The general safety of citizens is not something they should be grateful for.

“The constitution requires every government to provide that security to all of us,” Chastanet said, adding that citizens should not be burdened with additional costs to protect themselves and private property.

Chastanet said cycles of crime affect all Caribbean islands, including St Lucia, largely owing to the movement of guns and drugs by international cartels, forcing the need for a more stringent regional security system.

He suggested airport taxes could be used to fund the operation and protect the region, adding that St Lucia had already made such a commitment.

“I want to know that the brightest and the best police officers will now be working for that regional organisation,” he said.

“One of the first things we must accept is that crime is no longer national. The gangs which are creating the most problems in our country – they are regional and international networks.”