St. Lucia opposition selects new leader

By Admin Wednesday July 31 2013 in Caribbean
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CASTRIES: Former Prime Minister, Stephenson King is no longer the leader of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) after his former tourism minister, Allen Chastanet scored a convincing victory in Sunday’s poll.


King, who led the UWP into defeat in the 2011 general elections, was defeated by a 264-99 margin.


Party officials said that they were pleased with the voting procedures and the 364 delegates representing the island’s 17 constituencies were allowed to cast their ballots in an orderly manner.


Although there were rumours of planned disruptions by supporters opposed to Chastanet, there were no incidents.


Former foreign affairs minister, Rufus Bousquet, who sought the position of chairman, was also defeated.


In his acceptance speech, Chastanet said that his first task would be to unite the party.


“The process of reconciliation begins immediately, and I am making a special appeal to every supporter to reach out and embrace one another, extend a handshake or exchange a smile, remembering we have one common purpose and one goal, to remove the St. Lucia Labour Party from the backs of the suffering people of this country.


“We would need each of you to be involved in the various aspects of the restructuring process; every skill set is necessary, every expertise counts.


“We would make a concerted effort to include the youth, the women, our constituency branches, our stalwarts, and current and past candidates and every political fodder in St. Lucia,” said Chastanet.


King, who initially refused to shake his opponent’s hand, later addressed party supporters and urged them to unite for the task ahead.


“I know what it is to be down and out but I also know what it is to keep fighting until the end, as the task ahead would require the energy, effort and drive of all UWP supporters,” he said.


King also said he was looking forward to working with the national executive in the future.


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