Philip Joseph Pierre was sworn in as the 12th Prime Minister of St Lucia since independence in 1979, on Wednesday July 28, 2021.
The 66-year-old economist/accountant, led the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) to a convincing victory in Monday’s general election, winning 13 of the 17 seats that were at stake in the National assembly. The SLP, was beaten 11-6 in the 2016 general election.
The United Workers Party (UWP) which held office until then, won only two seats, down from the 11 it enjoyed in the last parliament. Now former Prime Minister Allen Chastanet won his Micoud South seat, with two seats going to independent candidates, including former Prime Minister Stephenson King.
At the swearing in ceremony Pierre told the gathering that it is the start of a new beginning. The ceremony was held at the official residence of the Governor General, Sir Neville Cenac, on the Morne, overlooking the capital.
The new prime minister who served as deputy in a previous SLP administration headed then by Dr Kenny Anthony during the period 2011-16 promised to serve all the citizens of the country regardless of their social class or station in life.
In looking at the task ahead, Pierre called for patience “I ask for your patience in the coming weeks and months as we try to assess the state of the country’s financing and capacity to deliver early as possible, the commitments made to the people of St Lucia.”
During the election campaign, Pierre, who led the SLP for the first time into a general election, said that Saint Lucia had over the past five years, become the most indebted island within the sub-regional Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
“It give me no pleasure to report that among countries in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) our country has suffered the biggest economic decline, 23. 8 per cent for the year 2020. The country’s level of public debt has ballooned under this UWP government to almost four billion (dollars) (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) again the highest among countries within the ECCU.
“According to the ECCU, 60 per cent of the increase in the total public debts among OECS countries can be accounted for by the increase in St. Lucia’s Public debts,” Pierre said. (CMC)