For many St Lucians, what was most remarkable about our 83-year-old prime minister’s first budget address since taking office last December was that he had managed to stay on his feet for the full four hours of its delivery. Indeed, not a few still hold on to the view that the Herculean effort had contributed more to Sir John’s current state of health than had his widely reported contretemps with his Cabinet colleagues over St Lucia’s relationship with China.
Barbadians have been following the soap opera events which have been unfolding in St. Lucia. The political turmoil reached a climax recently when Sir John arose from his ailing bed to perform the official function of firing, yet again, Rufus Bousquet the External Affairs Minister, who was previously fired back in 1995. At the base of the decision to fire Bousquet was his involvement in the premature recognition of Taiwan with the consequential retaliatory severing of diplomatic relations by China. What made the action by Sir John so amazing is that he had to revoke the appointment of Stephenson King, his acting Prime Minister to perform the firing and then immediately reappointed him to the position. Certainly an indication of how strongly Comptom must have felt about the need to act. By King’s own admission he will have to oversee a cabinet which is split for the next six months at the minimum. It is known among St. Lucians that there is the “super 8” within the cabinet which will make the unambitious King have to utilize previously unknown leadership skills.
If BU were a country we could be accused of meddling in the domestic affairs of a sovereign country. Thankfully we are not and we can describe the mess which is unfolding in St. Lucia as laughable and must be highly embarrassing to the leaders and people of the other Caribbean nations. What is does is to feed the embedded perceptions of the developed that we are still banana republics in this part of the world.
Is BU being too harsh?
Investigating this story has been an eye opener. Unfortunately very little of what is going-on in St.Lucia is being reported by the Barbados media which would give Barbadians a good feel for what is happening. BU could have tackled this issue in so many ways, at the top of the list – why elect an 80+ Prime Minister? or why is it that the CARICOM or the sub-region known as the OECS refuse to present a harmonized foreign policy to the world? We decided to focus on why would St. Lucia recognize Taiwan given China’s involvement in the economy of St. Lucia along with the chain of events which has seen the firing of a Minister and the return of Sir John to his ailing bed for at minimum six month.
A couple hours reading the St. Lucia Star newspaper and a couple phone calls to friends in St.Lucia and we feel that there is a picture to be painted. Sir John’s UWP accepted campaign funds from the Taiwanese which turned out to be a contra position to the SLP which accepted party funds from the Chinese. This simple action evolved to a situation where a soft promise was made to Taiwan that St. Lucia would join St.Kitts and St.Vincent and the Grenadines by giving diplomatic recognition to Taiwan above China. To fast forward – the move to recognize Taiwan appears to have occurred when Sir John was away from Cabinet. To have made such an important decision with the Prime Minister absent from cabinet boggles the minds of the BU household. To understand how such a decision could have been made is to understand the influence of the “super 8” which describes the eight Ministers within the government which appear to be out of step with the Sir John faction. It explains why Sir John has hamstrung Stephenson King by giving him five top ministries.
This story is so messy and filled with plots and sub-plots that it has now reached the point where as Barbadians we should be guarded of the system of democracy we practice~it can so easily be put asunder.
The one lesson which Barbadians and the political parties should heed out of the unraveling St.Lucia story is the importance of regulating campaign funding. It is clear to BU that because of a lack of funds the UWP accepted campaign funds from the Taiwanese, what is now obvious is Sir John’s change of heart to renege on soft promises made to Taiwan.
BU agrees with businessman Bizzy Williams who believes that campaign donations from businesses and individuals should be against the law. BU wish to add countries to the list as well. In the days and months to come BU suspect that we may have to do a follow-up to this story. There is a hint that many government ministers in the St. Lucia cabinet have current ambitions to lead the government. There is also a more than a hint of rampant corruption as a result of the current weak leadership of Stephenson King, who the pundits say is not leadership material. His only claim to the job must be his loyalty to Sir John.
With an election up coming ALL Barbadians and candidates should Be-Wary!
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Looks like the beleaguered Comptonless government is under more pressure now that Minister Frederick is being questioned by police over alleged tax evasion.
Word on the ground indicate that Kenny Anthony is not an option and the SLP may stand a better chance if he were to step aside.
Sir John Compton on life support in Martinique. St.Lucians told to prepare for the worse by Acting Prime Minister Stephenson King.
Where does the need arise to go back to the polls?
He has appointed a deputy and automatically he becomes the PM.
Then a Byelection is held to fill the seat made vacant by the PM’s eventual death.
Why is there even talk about an election this is silly and uncalled for.
WIV~there is a prevailing opinion that the Compton’s UWP was elected on the back of Compton who returned to the party at 80 and ousted the academic Vaughn Lewis. Therefore logically if he is not able to lead some might say that it becomes an ethical issue whether the party should go back to the polls.
I fully understand that as well but respectfully I must say that the electorate knew this to be the case when the election was called and they choose to install him and his party as the gov’t of the day, you must remember he could not win the election singularly so they choose to elect he and his party.
Honestly I think that they are spinning tops in mud they have an elected official who was appointed as the Deputy PM and he takes up the role and rules the country.
Sir John went across the border last night. I just wonder if the strain and stree of running a cabinet rushed his demise. Hope he rest in peace.
May he rest in peace.
Confused Bajan if strain of running a cabinet were to kill persons the RT Hon Owing See Thru Arthur should have expired 10 years ago.
st lucia online
Back in June last year we touched on the tricky position which Prime Minister Stephenson King had found himself. It has come home to haunt him now. he needed to go back to the polls and gotten a mandate from the people. Our politicians never learn. In the meantime the work of the people suffers as these weak black men squabble.
why is it that stephenson king our prime minister has no kids?what legacy is he leaving behind?look at how appropriate it was when sir John passed away.Shame on the prime-minister.he wasnt even married .he only got married recently since he became prime minister