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Speech delivered by The Right Honourable Sir John G.M. Compton at his Swearing in Ceremony as Prime Minister of St. Lucia

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Speech delivered by

The Right Honourable Sir John Compton

at his Swearing in Ceremony

as Prime Minister of St. Lucia

December 15, 2006


My People of Saint Lucia, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Thank you for your support at Monday’s General Election.

When I addressed you on the eve of the Election I asked you to make an important choice…

You have made that choice. You have chosen the United Workers Party.

By that choice you have placed a tremendous responsibility on my shoulders and it is a responsibility that I accept with humility and with a determination to justify your confidence and that trust that you have placed in me and my Party.

As I joined our jubilant supporters in the William Peter Boulevard on Monday night I could feel the joy of the thousands of persons who had been holding their breath waiting to exhale, and who could now do so with the confirmation of the victory of the United Workers Party at the polls.

There is a general feeling that a weight has been lifted from the very soul of the people of St. Lucia.

But, this is not the time to dwell on our triumph. It is a time to focus on the road that lies ahead and on the many challenges that confront our nation.

You have made it clear, that the main issues of concern to you are crime, unemployment, and the restoration of sound management of the finances of the country and we therefore have no doubt as to what our priorities should be.

In keeping with the provisions of the Constitution, I have been invited by Her Excellency, the Governor General to form a Government and by this simple ceremony I have been sworn in As Prime Minister.

In the coming days I will appoint persons to hold the office of Minister in the various Ministries and departments of Government and will make appointments to the many Boards of statutory corporations that form part of the machinery of governance of our country.

In order to do this I expect the cooperation of members of these Boards and ask them to put their positions at the disposal of the Prime Minister.

As we move to address the development agenda that is before us, we have an obligation to put behind us the years of political tribalism that have been so glaringly demonstrated in the events of recent weeks.

We must renew our country, based on the recognition that the national interest takes precedence over individual or party political positions. I pledge that this Government will be the Government of all the people of St. Lucia.

We must now harness our scarce human and material resources behind the common national cause and engage the energies of all Saint Lucians in the process of national development, allowing each person to make the contribution of which he or she is capable.

As a nation, we must pursue this course or face the consequence of increasing marginalization and decline in a world where the priorities are being determined more and more, by the dictates of globalization and where the needs of small countries such as our own may be overlooked.

In our Manifesto we promised to structure the economy to achieve the high rates of economic growth that are necessary to reduce unemployment, to improve standards of living throughout the society and to generate the income required to finance the social and development programmes that will distribute the nation’s wealth equitably among all its citizens…. We will keep this promise.

We have promised to put an end to financial mismanagement and wastage of public funds that so outraged us all….We will keep this promise.

We have promised to target the creation of at least 7,000 new jobs in the growth sectors of tourism and information technology and this promise too, we will keep.

All of our efforts to create new jobs will depend heavily on having a trained workforce and in this regard, we will invest heavily in the training and re-training of our people to enable them to meet the requirements for employment in this era of globalization and of the CSME.

As we promised in our Manifesto we will revisit the Labour Code and will give adequate time to the trades union and employers, as well as the general public, to consult, with the view to introducing a Labour Code that is acceptable to all parties, so that labour relations are removed from a basis of conflict and confrontation and placed on a firm foundation of conciliation and consensus.

Very soon, we will begin the process required to prepare the Budget for the financial year 2007/2008 and our main priority will be to find savings that will enable the reduction of Government’s annual recurrent expenditure from present levels and use such savings for the development of our country.

These savings must be found, as it is not the intention of this new UWP Administration to introduce new taxes or to place the country further in debt. We are confident that we can realize this objective by the elimination of the unnecessary, wasteful and extravagant expenditure that was the hallmark of the former Administration. I take the opportunity to repeat that these savings will not be realized at the expense of the jobs of career public servants.

The 2007/2008 Budget will be the platform from which we will launch our efforts to implement the pledges and promises contained in our Manifesto as it will establish the financial provisions for the programmes and projects that we wish to introduce.

One immediate priority will be to start the campaign against crime, that will be based on a zero-tolerance approach to crime at all levels in the society, and we will give the Police a free hand to do their duty within the law. We will also establish an independent Police Complaints Commission to safeguard the rights of the public.

The establishment of a safe and secure society through the control of crime is necessary not only for the growth of our economy but also for the development of our society. We will put an end to the day-to-day political interference in the Police Force, and make the Police and the Courts fully responsible for dealing with crime and criminals.

A series of consultations will be held with the churches and all social partners to address the subject of the restoration of discipline in schools and the need to turn the tide of decline in the moral and social fabric of the country.

We will, without delay, initiate the arrangements leading to the re-establishment of a National Development Bank that will provide support for locally owned businesses and for nationals seeking to invest in new areas of economic activity.



Similarly, we will move to establish a Unit Trust company to encourage investment b Saint Lucians.

We will also move quickly to consolidate the various banana companies into one strong entity that will be in a position to benefit from economies of scale and to take full advantage of the opportunities for earning foreign exchange that still exist in that industry.

Work will start immediately on the implementation of the Universal Secondary Education System started by the UWP that provides comprehensive academic, vocational and technical education and we will initiate discussions with the University of the West Indies aimed at transforming Sir Arthur Community College into a full-fledged University within three years.

The success of our strategy for education depends on the teachers and we will undertake a full assessment of the working conditions for teachers with a view to improving them so that we can retain our teachers in whose training we intend to invest a great deal.

As part of this process we will re-introduce study leave with pay for teachers as well as for other public servants. We will also pay salaries to teachers during their basic training.

In the area of Health we intend to fully implement a National Health Service that is comprehensive in scope and will also train nurses and other personnel to support this service. We will pay salaries to nurses during their basic training.

In our Manifesto we have stated our intention to make Castries, Vieux-Fort and Soufriere duty-free shopping areas. We also intend to construct new cruise ship berths in Castries, Soufriere and Vieux-Fort and, by relocating all commercial cargo to a new port to be built at Cul-de-Sac, we intend to convert Castries into a dedicated cruise ship port and regional duty-free shopping destination. Planning for these initiatives will commence without delay.

These, and the other initiatives that we propose, will create numerous new jobs and investment opportunities for Saint Lucians, and build the economic and infrastructural capacity of the country, for long term growth and development in a globalized world.

As I have stated previously, my return to public life has only one purpose, and that is to restore our country’s fortunes and to ensure a bright and secure future for our people and especially for our children.

I thank you again for your vote of confidence that you have so clearly demonstrated, by electing the United Workers Party to office, and I ask you for your continued support. I also wish to thank my colleagues who have walked the long, rugged road with me.

The road ahead is not one that can be traveled by an elected Government alone … that Government must have the ongoing support of the entire nation if its efforts are to be successful.

My pledge to you, is that this Government of the united Workers Party is committed to the cause of bringing a meaningful improvement to the standard of living in St. Lucia and will do everything in its power to justify the confidence that you have resposed in us.

I thank God for giving me the health and the strength to carry out the task ahead. I am encouraged by the words of Isaiah the Prophet:

He gives strength to the wearied,

The young may grow tired and weary,

Youth may stumble and fall

But those who hope in the Lord shall renew their strength

He shall raise them on eagle’s wings

And bear them on the breath of the dawn

He will make them shine like the sun

And hold them in the palm of his hand

They will run and not grow weary

They will walk and not tire.”

This is my prayer as I assume this awesome responsibility.

As we enter the festive season and wish each other peace and a bright and prosperous new year, let us work together to make this wish come true.

Let us wish each other Peace, but let us say that this begins with me.

I assume this responsibility with malice towards none, but Peace to all persons of goodwill.

I again thank you for your support and ask of you nothing but your goodwill and your prayers.

Thank you, and may this season of Peace usher in a new year of Progress for our country.


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