The St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP), led by Dr. Kenny Anthony, is back in power after a five-year absence.
The party rebounded strongly following a surprising and decisive defeat in the last elections in December 2006 to secure a 10-7 majority win over the United Workers Party (UWP) and its leader, Stephenson King.
The late Sir John Compton led the UWP to victory in the last elections. He died in September 2007 and King took over as the country’s sixth prime minister.
Following last Monday’s victory, Dr. Anthony warned St. Lucians that difficult days lie ahead and he announced there would be no public holiday to celebrate the party’s win.
“I am afraid there will be no holiday,” he said. “We will get to work immediately. There is a hard job ahead of all of us and it’s important for the sake of this country that we take the right step from now on…You can celebrate quietly in your homes and in your communities before coming back to work to start the job of rebuilding our community.”
A graduate of the University of the West Indies and the University of Birmingham, Anthony easily won his Vieux Fort South constituency, which he has represented in Parliament for the past 15 years.
He was the Prime Minister from 1997 to 2006 and opposition leader for the past five years prior to Monday’s polls.
King comfortably retained his Castries North seat, but several of his colleagues and Cabinet ministers went down to defeat.
They include high profile tourism minister, Allan Chastanet, who lost to educator Harold Dalson in Soufriere; sports and social development minister, Lenard “Spider” Montoute, who went down to certified general accountant, Emma Hippolyte, in Gros Islet; national security minister, Guy Mayers, who was beaten by SLP deputy leader and former Caribbean Tourism Organization chair, Philip Pierre, in Castries East; health minister, Dr. Keith Mondesir, who lost to educator and calypsonian, Desmond “The Mighty Pep” Long, in Anse LaRaye/Canaries and foreign minister, Rufus Bousquet, who was beaten by lawyer, Lorne Theophilus, in Choiseul.
Jeannie Compton, the daughter of the late John Compton, failed in her bid to capture the Micoud North riding which was won by UWI lecturer, Dr. Gale Rigobert.
In the aftermath of the elections, it will be interesting to see whether the SLP will renew diplomatic ties with China.
St. Lucia first established diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1984, but switched to China in 1997 when the Labour Party unseated the UWP. Four years ago, the UWP renewed its ties with Taipei.