Caribbean Regionalism Set to Suffer Under New St. Lucia Leadership

Caribbean Regionalism Set to Suffer Under New St. Lucia Leadership
View of Castries, St. Lucia, Sept. 5, 2009 (Flickr photo by arecknor, licensed under the CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

St. Lucia went to the polls earlier this month, with the conservative United Workers Party, led by Allen Chastanet, beating the incumbent Labour Party on a platform promising tax cuts and economic growth. In an email interview, Tennyson Joseph, the head of the political science department at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill, discussed the elections and the state of politics in St. Lucia.

WPR: What were the main issues that dominated the recent elections in St. Lucia, and what explains the conservative United Workers Party’s victory?

Tennyson Joseph: The main issues that dominated the June 6 general election in St. Lucia were questions about the country’s recovery from the 2008 financial crisis and the ability of Prime Minister Kenny D. Anthony and his St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration to restore health to the economy, especially in terms of jobs and income. Many in St. Lucia feel that Anthony focused too much on macroeconomic issues, while ignoring complaints from citizens that they did not feel as though they were benefitting directly from the government’s economic policies. On the non-economic side, the government was facing questions over its appointment of a Saudi billionaire as a nonresident ambassador to the International Maritime Organization, which many felt had hurt the country’s international reputation.

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