Category Archives: Politics

National Students’ Council calls for support for student in #BlackmailFriday controversy

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National Students’ Council calls for support for student in #BlackmailFriday controversy

PRESS RELEASE
(Castries, Saint Lucia, Tuesday 24th January, 2017)
The National Students’ Council is an advocacy group aimed at strengthening the voice of students island-wide while ensuring that the right programs are available to look after student welfare and development. It is in regards to this that the NSC is very taken aback by recent developments involving the Minister of Finance and student of the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College. As a body which serves to bridge a divide between government and students, can we not expect a better example from our leaders?

In a time where there is an evident search for identity, young persons must  have sound role models to lead them in savory directions. Regardless the situation Students deserve their peers and government to support them emotionally  as opposed  to  further  tearing  them down. Hence the NSC calls for government services to aim at providing  support and guidance to the student in this time of evident need.

In recent months the use of social media to embarrass and disgrace young persons has become a rampant trend with an ever expanding range of victims. We can only hope and pray that the life of this young woman will not be greatly affected by the negative attention this unfortunate situation may attract. The NSC urges the public and fellow students to refrain from further hurtful remarks about the student as we would not want them for ourselves. If we as students and young people do not decide on our own, to elevate our thinking and our mindsets, we become simply statistics, destined only to the harsh realities of society. We need to continually embody the change we wish to see in order to inspire change from those who observe us. This is not a call only for peace or justice, it has become a call for lives and change. If we are a kingdom divided against ourself how can we stand?

Our hearts go out to the families of the individuals implicated who themselves have been the subject of ridicule. We urge students, leaders and all Saint Lucians to rise above our circumstance and accept the challenge to change.

Contact:
Keyanna Marcellin
Public Relations Officer,
Saint Lucia National Students’ council
1 (758) 713-8815

(Photo courtesy of the Saint Lucis Star Newspaper)

Close call as Saint Lucians vote today

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Close call as Saint Lucians vote today

Will the undecideds decide St. Lucia election 2016?

After just 14 days of campaigning, Saint Lucians will take to the polls today to select a new government. The Electoral Department has indicated that 160, 465 people are eligible to cast ballots at 430 polling stations in the June 6, 2016 General Election.

Thirty-Nine (39) candidates will vie for seventeen (17) seats  in the island’s 17th election since Independence in 1979. The major political parties, The United Workers Party and the Saint Lucia Labour Party, each have a history of winning eight national elections.

List of candidates 2016 elections

List of candidates in Saint Lucia’s 2016 general election

This election is generally accepted as being too close to call following disputed surveys by Peter Wickham of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES) and Don Anderson.

Voter turn-out is expected to be moderate with inclement weather being a factor, despite campaigning that saw the country ablaze with colour and aloud with exhortations to vote on the last day before the official poll.  There has been indication of a high level of undecideds who could influence projections thus far. Independents election 2016SLP Slate 2016UWP slate 2016

Advanced polling was held on June 3 for Fire Service Personnel, Police Officers and for the the first time Correctional Officers at designated polling stations around the island. There was also an effort to arrange for clients and patients of institutions such as Victoria and St. Jude’s hospitals, St. Lucy’s and Comfort Bay Homes to vote.

Polling stations open at 6:30am and close at 6pm today.

Choice Television will provide full election coverage and comprehensive analysis throughout the day. Watch at home or on the go by accessing the livestream here – Choice TV39 livestream.

The full list of candidates, voters, polling stations and other official election information is available here at the Electoral Department website.

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UWP Appoints New Communications and Strategy Manager

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Castries, Saint Lucia – 27 September, 2013 – The United Workers Party is pleased to announce the recent appointment of Elijah Anatole, who will join the team as the new Communications and Strategy Manager.
Within this role, Mr. Anatole will lead a team of experts in all aspects of communications to ensure that the Party’s latest news, views and concerns are shared with all citizens, both here and abroad.
His proven background as an author, journalist/reporter at the STAR Newspaper and CHOICE TV, not to mention, creative skills and ambitions will be an asset to the Party.
Chairman of the UWP, Mr. Ezechiel Joseph says, “Mr. Anatole is a respectable and talented young man and we (at the United Workers Party) welcome him with open arms. He has a great task ahead of him and we know that he is more than capable of delivering results.”
Anatole, in a short statement, expressed deep thanks to the Party for having confidence in him. He added, “This is a new turn of events in my life. I welcome this opportunity as one that will not only help me grow but also help the Party grow and evolve to be a more modern and appealing Party for both the young and the old. I am happy to be a part of the team and look forward to achieving great things together.”
Anatole’s appointment comes almost two months after Allen Chastanet successfully won his bid for leadership of the Party at July’s National Convention, with the installation of a new Communications and Strategy Manager being one of his first objectives.

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UWP CALLS FOR CLARIFICATION ON DR. ANTHONY’S DECISION TO ASSUME HON. EMMA HIPPOLYTE’S MINISTERIAL PORTFOLIO

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Castries, Saint Lucia – September 26, 2013 – In the August 26, 2013 Extra Ordinary Issue of the Gazette of Saint Lucia, the United Workers Party notes that the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia Acted as Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs for the period August 23-28, 2013.
Our information confirms that during that period, the Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs, Hon. Emma Hippolyte was out of state on official business approved by the Prime Minister. In fact, based on information from a reliable source in the United States, Minister Hippolyte attended a number of meetings in her capacity as Minister with a number of State institutions and organizations.

Minister Hippolyte

Minister Hippolyte

The United Workers Party is baffled by the need for Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony to assume the office of Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs while Minister Hippolyte was overseas conducting legitimate business in her capacity as Minister. It is also important to note that according to our information, Minister Hippolyte was not on vacation or medical leave.
As a result of these perplexed events, the United Workers Party wants the Prime Minister to provide answers to the following questions:
1. Is it a new policy of this Labour Administration for the Prime Minister to act as Minister for any Minister who travels overseas on Government business?
2. If the Prime Minister assumes a Minister’s portfolio, does the Minister who has travelled have full Ministerial responsibilities, authority and privileges while overseas?
3. Do we expect to see the Prime Minister assume other portfolios when other Ministers travel on official Government business?
4. Given that this Prime Minister has not assumed the portfolio of any of his Ministers in the past when they travelled on Official Government business, can he tell us why he found it necessary to act for Emma Hippolyte in this instance or was she technically fired as Minister for the period August 23-28, 2013?
We await a response so that Saint Lucians may better understand the policy direction of this Administration with respect to the status of Government Ministers when they travel on official Government Business.
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Minister for Health Welcomes Ambassador Barford

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On behalf of MOH I wish to welcome Ambassador Barford and his wife to our beautiful and sunny St. Lucia, and to our NNH complex facility which comprises the New National Hospital, The Mental Wellness Centre as well as Turning Point Drug Rehabilitation Centre. It is good to have you here Ambassador although we are sorry that you will not have time to take it some of our lovely and exciting West Indies T20 Cricket.

On behalf of the government and people of St. Lucia, I wish to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to the European Union, represent

This project is the brainchild of our Honourable Prime Minister in his plan for Comprehensive Health Care for the people of St. Lucia. We thank him for his vision.ed here today by Ambassador Barford; for this new hospital which will be handed over to the government and people of St. Lucia in the coming months.

It is very important that we recognize the immense contribution made by the European Union to our Health Sector: 

This hospital, which is funded by the European Union and the Government of St. Lucia, is the single, largest investment made by the European Union possibly in the Caribbean, costing over EC 167, million dollars for construction and equipping.

The completion of the New National Hospital will mark a significant milestone for my ministry and my government in our quest to provide an improved quality of health care services to the people of St. Lucia as well as visitors in a state of the art facility.

The Ministry of Health has also benefited from the European Union funded, National Strategic Plan for Health which was released in 2005 and again in the coming months, will be significant benefits to the Health sector under the 10th European Development Fund which amounts to over six million Euros and which will go towards training programmes and the strengthening of Primary Health Care Services.

This New National Hospital when completed will provide modern, quality care to all in St. Lucia. It will be supported by the augmentation of services at the Wellness Centers and Primary Care Facilities, with greater emphasis on primary prevention, specifically through health promotion and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. 

 The overall objective of this facility is the provision of improved secondary care services in Saint Lucia. These services will include:

Outpatient Care: Accident and Emergency, Observation beds, General outpatient clinic, Orthopedics Clinic, Ophthalmology Clinic, ENT Clinic, Children’s outpatient Clinic, STI Clinic, Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic, Day Surgery/Investigation Unit, Dialysis Unit

Inpatient Care: General Acute Wards, Children’s Wards, Obstetrics Wards, Gynecology Wards, Special Care Baby Unit, Intensive Care Unit.

Diagnosis and Treatment: Pathology Laboratory, Radiology, Operating theatres, Delivery Suite, Physiotherapy.

Medical Support: Pharmacy, Central Sterile Supply, Medical Records, Offices and Library, Mortuary

General Support: Hospital Administration, other Administration, Meeting Rooms, Main Entrances/shops, Chapel, Telephones, Building Maintenance, Laundry, Kitchen, Staff Dining, Goods Receipt/Distribution, On-Call Suite, Staff Changing Rooms.

Upon completion of construction phase, this facility is scheduled to undergo a process of commissioning for a period of approximately 6 months.  This commissioning process will include activities such as equipping, outfitting of kitchen and laundry, signage among others.

 

In the coming months the MOH along with other agencies and partners will continue to address significant issues pertaining to Public Relations, Statutorisation and Governance, Legislation,  Budget and finance, Information Technology, Change Mangement issues, Human Resources, Operational policies and procedures, transition and occupancy Decommissioning of Victoria Hospital.

The staff of the Ministry of Health will continue to work diligently to ensure these systems are implemented in a timely and through manner. This process will involve consulting and collaborating with our partners, stakeholders, Government agencies and departments. This will be a Labour of Love to realize a product which we all will be proud of.

 

In closing, we wish to acknowledge the significant work of former Ambassador Diaz and his team since the inception of this project and as well as Ambassador Barford who is committed to its continuation. Honourable Prime Minister and Minister for Finance and staff of his Ministry for support, guidance and of course resources.

Other ministries and department heads, staff members and partners. I wish to commend specially the hard working staff of the Ministry of Health.

EU Infrastructure Programme Officer

Sir Frederick Snow Site Supervisor

Senior Manager INSO

NAO’s Office

All who continue to make invaluable contributions towards the realization of this healthy dream. We look forward with great anticipation for its opening as we continue to recognize the time, talents and treasures of the EU and the government of St. Lucia.

I thank you    

Castries City Council Responds to Richard Frederick and Stephenson King

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Chair of the CCC, Peter Foster

It is imperative that a response be given to the statements of misrepresentation of the facts as presented by the parliamentary representatives of Castries North and Castries Central. This can only be construed as political mischief and the Board of the City Council will not stand idly by and accept such distorted information coming from persons who ought to know better.

The Board of the Castries City Council in the exercise of its duties sought to be guided by the principles of prudent management. Having inherited a situation that called for an immediate review of the activities of Council, the Board in its wisdom recognized the need to begin with areas where Council expends large sums to determine the merit of the expenditure.

MPs Frederick and King

As part of this exercise Council evaluated the performance of 33 sanitation contracts based on the numerous complaints and adverse perception of the public for the services rendered under these contracts vis a vis the levels of expenditure that was being incurred by the Council.

This exercise began with the Council conducting a geographical tour of the areas under the responsibility of the Council, taking into account areas for which sanitary services were contracted for. A thorough inspection of all the areas for which the contracts had been issued was undertaken and it was recognized that there were serious deficiencies in the services that needed to be addressed as the existing arrangements left much to be desired.

The total value for the 33 sanitation contracts amounted to EC$151,434.00 paid fortnightly at an average of EC$4,588.00 per contract. Further examination of the contract documents revealed significant flaws that included the following;

  • Contracts were apparently renewed in September of 2011;
  • That clause 1.3 of the contract which read “ Designated Area means the area described in the First Schedule hereto” which identified the areas for which the contractor is responsible was never included nor made a part the contract;
  • Contracts did not state the sums contracted for but yet sums were paid to persons nor;
  • was the provisions for witness in the contract ever witnessed;
  • That some contracts was not duly authorized – having only the signature of the contractor – yet the contractor was receiving fortnightly payments ;
  • Further to this it was identified that persons were being paid for the same area twice – as is the case of the LIAT Cargo shed area of Mandela Drive which was included as part of Small Vigie, paid to two individuals at a rate of EC 1500.00 a fortnight, with one also being paid under Serenity Park at the same rate.

Council recognized that the value of contracts issued for the Cariellie area represented an estimated 63% of total amount of EC151, 434.00 paid out fortnightly. It is imperative that council in its response highlight the case of John Henry who was noted in the former Ministers statement.

Mr. Henry’s contract as with all other contracts lacked the required schedule which identified his area of responsibility. Council was advised while on a tour of the City that Mr. Henry was responsible for the maintenance of the Cariellie Park and paid EC$ 4,000.00 fortnightly. Council cognizant of the fact that the Cariellie Park is incomplete and still under construction and is the subject of a matter in court felt it necessary to regularize this situation.

It left Council with the question – What exactly were you being paid to clean?

Council is of the view that prudent management must be exercised over the resources of Castries City Council and that there must be value derived from its undertaking.

In the matter of Thomas Haynes; contractual arrangements were at a cost of EC$ 11,460.00 fortnightly for the cleaning of the market, the arcade and the Marchand Market with an addition EC $ 500.00 added whenever pressure washing was done, using water the expense for which had to be covered by the Council.

The former Minister was quick to mention in his statement that Mr. Haynes injury as having being caused on the job. However, investigations suggest otherwise, as his injury was said to have been incurred as a result of carrying out work on his private vehicle.

As a recipient of this fort nightly sum, the facts are such that Council has been inundated with complaints from the market vendors on the conditions of the market and the vendors arcade not to mention the Marchand Market and that Council had for itself had a firsthand view of what was being expressed by the market vendors.

It begs the question that how could a bed ridden individual carryout the required supervision of a contract for the last four years, yet he has a contract for an additional 5years, to the extent that council – at a cost to Council had to undertake additional sanitary works at the market for which he was paid to do.

While there is merit in acknowledging the individual condition, there is greater merit in bringing to light, that as the former Minister he did not find it fitting to arrange some level of compensation to Mr. Haynes under his tenure rather chooses to pass the onus on the current Board of Council.

Additionally, this current Council inherited an arrangement that was agreed upon by previous Boards and the unions; these arrangements acted as a measure to cushion the effects from the reorganization of the sanitation department. This agreement forwarded and encouraged former workers to form themselves into small business. These small businesses would in turn be contracted by council to carry out the sanitary services for the Council.

Council’s investigations of this arrangement has revealed that contracts issued in September 2011 were made between individuals – in 90% of the cases, rather than with small business entities. However the investigation revealed that the respective partners had  no   knowledge whatsoever or ever benefited from these arrangements as in the case of a particular business performing the services and the payment is being made to another individual at a rate of at a rate of EC$5,310.00 fortnightly.

Such action defeats the original intent on the previous arrangement and brings into focus whether such action were intentionally designed to benefit specific individuals.

Council’s investigations also revealed that contracts were being issued to persons who council could not identify and in some cases who were otherwise employed in other companies in the private sector. This approach speaks negatively as the strategy to create employment deprived the unemployed of an employment opportunity.

Central Castries

In the case of Castries Central – of the 33 contracts inherited and reviewed by council only 5 are related to Castries Central valued at  EC $ 35,090.00 fortnightly. Council in its exercise of prudent management have restructured the current arrangement and issued 9 contracts using the same resources covering a wider area. This action has not only increased the number of persons employed from 25 to an estimated 45 and has provided the Central Castries area with a wider coverage of services by council.

Council’s actions seek to address the waste and mismanagement of the Castries City Council. No longer can Council continue along a path where documentation to support council’s commitments are missing or are not well constructed leaving room for potential fraudulent action; nor should Council endeavor to cast a blind eye to the inefficient use of the resources at its disposal.

In every case of the restructuring process, the Board has paid specific attention to the details of all contracts to ensure accountability and value. Councils Commitments to it constituents must be directed to bringing true benefit from it services. To this end the Council strives to ensure that there is no waste of resources, accountability of persons employed and efficient operations.

Human Resource Issues

A number of human resource issues also are being addressed. The Council also identified that there were a number of persons on temporary employment within the council that had been brought in for six month periods under the SSDF/Hope and NSDC projects. These persons after the completion of the six month programme continued in the employment of CCC for over 18 months. To regularize this situation, where some persons could have been kept on staff their temporary employment was terminated and they were reinstated in full time positions at the CCC after receiving good performance appraisals from the supervisors. Unfortunately not all could have been kept on due to poor performance and issues relating to high absenteeism. It is as a result of this persons such as Miss. Charmaine Ceasar and Mr. Matyr had their temporary employment terminated by the CCC.

Date June 6th , 2012

Statement by Chairman of CDF on the Planning and Production of Carnival 2012

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Statement by Chairman of CDF on The Planning and Production of Carnival 2012

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The present Board of the CDF, at its first meeting on April 4th, 2012 resolved to do all in its power to avoid the unnecessary miscommunication, confusion and controversy that marred what was otherwise an excellent carnival 2011. The Board resolved to do all it could to ensure that a harmonious working relationship would exist between the CDF and any group identified by Government to produce the major events for Carnival 2012.

By Cabinet Conclusion No.235 dated 30th April 2012, Cabinet approved the establishment of a committee consisting of principal stakeholders in carnival and empowered that team to plan and produce carnival. CDF welcomes the establishment of the Committee, and true to the sentiment expressed at its first board meeting, has set the stage for a true collaboration and conflict-free process between the Foundation and the Committee.

The Chairperson of the Foundation,  Petrus Compton, and the Committee,  John Joseph held an inaugural meeting on May 15th and agreed a series of measures designed to make Carnival 2012 a great production success. These included acknowledging the Committee as the principal agency in the planning and production of the carnival events, agreeing the exact terms of CDF’s support for the Committee, establishing clear lines of communication between the two bodies and agreeing on an approach with respect to the financial accountability of the Committee.

These decisions will ensure that all actors in the carnival scenario will be singing from the same song sheet and decision making will be greatly enhanced. CDF wishes to make it clear, therefore, that the CDF is NOT the body responsible for the planning and production of Carnival 2012. CDF is a part of the planning and production team, and an important part, given its history, institutional strength and experience, but responsibility for decision making and execution of decisions rests with the Committee.

Nevertheless, mindful of its statutory obligations, CDF will continue to provide leadership in respect of the developmental aspects of carnival generally. New ideas for cultural activities based around carnival will continue to be developed and the training of persons in the arts connected to carnival will be developed even further. CDF will continue to focus on shaping the overall development of the artistic, cultural and social dimensions of the carnival phenomenon, thereby ensuring that our carnival activities will continue to grow stronger, be more diversified and embrace more of our people. CDF will pay special attention to working with communities outside Castries to help them develop their carnival activities and strengthen their capacity to design, plan and produce high quality activities which will have a positive impact on economic activity in these areas.

Consistent with the sentiment that the production of this carnival should be as conflict-free as possible, the CDF has made available to the Committee the services of its Marketing Officer, who, under the guidance and instructions of the Chairman, John Joseph, will liaise with the media with regards to developments pertaining to Carnival 2012. We ask the media to note, and respect, this arrangement and direct all queries and requests for information to the Chair of the Committee and the Committee’s PR team.

CDF believes that this arrangement will conduce to a carnival free of friction and rancor and begin paving the way towards the creation of a Carnival or Festivals Commission, consistent with Government’s stated desire.

Thank you.

Petrus Compton