Saint Lucia gears up for elections
Bevan Springer | 11/9/2011, 4:01 p.m.
NEW YORK (November 10, 2011)-Ending months of speculation in this Eastern Caribbean island nation, the prime minister of St. Lucia announced the general election will be held on Nov. 28.
Saint Lucia's Prime Minister Stephenson King made the announcement over the weekend, signaling an intensification of the political battle between the ruling United Workers Party (UWP) and its main parliamentary opposition, the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), led by former Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony.
Three other minor political parties will contest the elections in this vibrant Caribbean democracy.
King will be leading his party into a general election for the first time after assuming leadership of the party shortly after the death of Sir John Compton. Compton was widely regarded as the "Father of Independence" and led the UWP to an upset victory in the 2006 general elections.
Campaigning on the theme "One Good Term Deserves Another," King said he was predicting victory based on his administration's track record of ably managing the economy in "very trying circumstances."
According to a government release, Saint Lucia continues to receive a vote of confidence from reputable international agencies and authorities. The World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, in their global service for international businesses, ranked Saint Lucia right at the very top in the Caribbean for ease of doing business.
"While the opposition steadfastly refuses to acknowledge our outstanding success in managing the economy, the international institutions and global community recognizes our effort," King told supporters at a Sunday rally.
In the 2006 election, the UWP won 11 of the 17 seats in the parliament with the SLP, which had been in office for the previous two terms, winning the other six.
The government's majority was decreased by one seat after the resignation of Compton's daughter Jeannine, who represents her late father's constituency of Micoud North.
Meanwhile, the rapidly rising election fever is not holding back the country from planning for the future. The Saint Lucia Tourist Board recently announced a $1.1 million partnership with telecommunications giant Digicel to enhance major national events for which the island has gained global recognition.
Digicel is known for its corporate sponsorship of local communities throughout the countries it operates.
The two organizations signed a new three-year contractual arrangement to help grow and develop "Saint Lucia Jazz," the island's premier cultural showpiece, the summer carnival and the popular maritime Atlantic Rally for Cruisers, along with other possibilities.
Saint Lucia's nationals go to the polls on the same date as their southern CARICOM neighbor Guyana.