Regional Opposition Leaders Discuss Forum In Saint Lucia – St. Lucia Times

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Seven regional opposition leaders met in Saint Lucia on Saturday to establish a ‘Leader of the Opposition Political Parties Forum’.

A release on the meeting said Allen Chastanet of Saint Lucia, Dr. Keith Mitchell of Grenada, Dr. Godwin Friday of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Jamal Pringle of Antigua and Barbuda were in attendance.

Dr. ‘Shyne’ Barrow of Belize, Dr. Ronnie Yearwood of Barbados, and Roy McTaggart of the Cayman Islands were also present.

According to a release from Saint Lucia’s opposition leader Allen Chastanet, Saturday’s preliminary gathering sharply focused on the need for higher awareness of the constitutional significance and resultant responsibility associated with the office of Leader of Opposition.

The release also said the meeting sought to develop a framework for parliamentary oppositions in various Caribbean countries to share best practices and further strengthen their constitutional roles.

The gathering reached a consensus on the importance of an opposition forum.

In addition, it agreed to invite other opposition leaders to formalise a regional platform for closer collaboration.

Addressing reporters at a press conference, Saint Lucia’s Allen Chastanet disclosed that many regional opposition leaders have had a shared experience.

“Many times, the leader of the opposition’s position is demonised. We are treating it as a political adversary rather than recognising its constitutionality and the purpose it plays in our democracy,” the United Workers Party (UWP) leader asserted.

In this regard, the former Saint Lucia Prime Minister told reporters that the opposition only saw the expenditure estimates a few days before the presentation.

Chastanet said there was little explanation regarding the estimates.

“Shouldn’t there be a mechanism where civil servants, particularly those from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development, meet with the leader of the opposition’s office to give them better details?”

The Micoud South MP declared that civil society representatives are often scared to meet with opposition leaders.

Chastanet explained that the regional opposition leaders forum aimed to create greater recognition among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) citizens regarding the opposition leader’s office and its role in a democracy.

He declared that citizens should see any attempt to silence, demean or undermine the opposition leader’s role as undemocratic.