St Lucia opposition boycotts governor general’s address to parliament
The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) boycotted the delivery of a message from the governor general, Sir Emmanuel Neville Cenac, at a joint session of parliament on Tuesday.
This is consistent with the party’s position on the appointment of Cenac as governor general and the absence of SLP members of both houses of parliament at his swearing-in and from the delivery of a throne speech by Cenac on January 12, 2018.
Earlier, the opposition members of the House of Assembly participated in the installation of Andy Daniel as new speaker of the house.
In the Senate, the opposition did likewise, when Jeannine Giraudy-McIntyre was installed as the new president.
These new appointments were precipitated by the resignation of former speaker of the House of Assembly, Leonne Theodore-John, to take up a diplomatic posting as minister counsellor at Saint Lucia’s High Commission in the UK.
Political leader of the SLP and leader of the opposition, Philip J. Pierre, following the appointment of Cenac said that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet failed to follow convention and good governance practices by consulting the leader of the opposition on the appointment of the governor general.
“That is what happens when governments act in haste,” placing this crisis and looming troubles directly at the feet of “the government’s incompetence and the government’s desire to prove that they are in charge and they can do whatever they want,” Pierre said.
He added that Chastanet has so far displayed callous disregard for custom and convention that characterize a civilized society and ensure good governance and respect for the rule of law.
“Had he done so, he would have been cautioned against the risk of potentially bringing the office into disrepute and derision given the unprecedented election events of 1987… The result of his high-handed approach to governing the country is now bearing fruit. The country is divided and polarized on an issue that should be acceptable to the majority,” he said.
Cenac’s appointment as governor general prompted a vigorous response from the SLP, saying that the office should be occupied by a person whose character is beyond reproach, commands the respect of the population, is trustworthy and a unifying force within the country.
Pierre said that supporters and in particular the constituents of Laborie remain disgusted and hurt by the events surrounding the switching of political allegiances by Cenac following the 1987 general election.
“He presented himself to the electorate as a Labour Party candidate, won the elections, and days later joined the opposing United Workers Party to be appointed a minister,” he recalled.