Saint Lucia
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Can Philip J. Pierre Deliver Term 2 For Labour?

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Philip J Pierre
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Philip J Pierre
Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

FAILED opposition parties and their online media mega-horns, whether languishing in a Caribbean wilderness or elsewhere, naturally (these days) hide behind invisible ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’, or simply create Fake News based on false stories to suit their narratives or pre-determined headlines.

This also happens everywhere reporters simply attend press conferences to fish for fishy stories, just for ‘Breaking News’.

Trying to remain relevant, the political hacks at media houses readily rely on creating fantasies from not-so-fertile imaginations, even praying that their expectations for eventually uncovering ‘government corruption’ will be fast-tracked by Fate.

And in some cases, political leaders talk and behave like homicide figures are mere numbers and don’t represent lives of human beings, each of who left grieving families.

Unable to survive alone on an imagined island of irrelevancy, opposition propagandists will gladly hold-on, for dear life, to even a sniff of anything wrong, even blaming governments for the aftermath effects of increasingly-unpredictable weather patterns.

But it’s not only the online political hacks going to all lengths today to hack away at the Truth and convey deliberately-distorted images aimed at influencing public opinion, as the online trend of hiding behind protected anonymity now features high-up on the agendas of those behind the wars between major international media houses. 

Just last week, one supposedly reputable international media entity published online an article quoting nameless persons and groups of invisible ‘reliable’ sources, making scurrilous allegations without offering any proof, about owners of a private US-based company doing business in Guyana.

Clearly intended to cast serious aspersions, the contributing writers ensured the article was pregnant with malicious innuendo intended only to malign by sullying the targeted business persons and their ties with Guyana.

Such articles are like manna from heaven and are held-on-to like a political life-saving jacket for opposition parties unable to win elections or offer themselves as alternatives.

But here again, the emphasis is more on form instead of content, on implied allegations instead of absence of verifiable facts.

Consequently, governments and courts in some parts are also paying more belated attention today to the increasing trends of media houses escaping culpability for sharing calculated fabrications and untruths, due to a now-disproven earlier-proclaimed inability to monitor the whole ‘world-wide-web’.

In the UK and Western Europe, for instance, courts are taking a closer look at issues like social media culpability for defamation, increasingly suggesting or ruling that publishers and platforms posting or hosting clearly defamatory online posts should or could be pursued by aggrieved parties.

There’s a narrowing gap between legal liability of traditional print and broadcasting media houses in limited spaces determined by readership, listenership and viewership, as anyone can also stream truth and lies to the world, with growing ease.

Clearly, the gap between what exists and the aged and outdated media laws, which allow the excesses that escape legal scrutiny in the absence of specified legislation, needs to be closed. 

In Saint Lucia recently, a fabricated story targeting a reputable local bank, falsely purporting to be a screen-shot of an article by a reputable local online news agency, was heavily-circulated and widely-shared at home and abroad, through several global online platforms.

The bank and the media house were/are able to prove the fictitious nature of the post and its clear intent was to negatively influence the bank’s shareholders and customers.

But the regional legal fraternity is expectedly split on whether local or regional courts can oblige international online media entities to declare (name and penalize) author(s) of intentionally-misleading and fabricated post(s).

By that yardstick, the Guyana government is supposedly unable to challenge the veracity of a clearly-concocted story with no traceable sources, undoubtedly intended to cast dark shadows over a country where oil and gas ensure light prevails in brighter and wider proportions, by the day.

But is that really so? 

Those who felt Guyana lacked the technical brains to run its own energy business successfully have arisen to several rude awakenings.

Likewise, those who between 2016 and 2021 underestimated then Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre’s capacity to lead his party to victory and become Saint Lucia’s next Saint Lucia Prime Minister also got their equal share of several rude awakenings over the past two years.

Like in Guyana, Saint Lucia’s political opposition has never come to terms with the magnitude of its embarrassing and crippling election loss on July 26, 2021 and has spent almost two years concocting lies about Prime Minister Pierre, inventing stories about owning properties he knows-not-of, falsifying claims of corruption and even opposing the nation’s final journey into the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

Having suffered such a beating of 13-4 from 11-6 in the July 26, 2021 poll that quickly metamorphosed into a 15-2 parliamentary majority for a ruling coalition facilitated by a former Party Leader (and Prime Minister) and a popular ex-Cabinet Minister, the former ruling United Workers Party (UWP) is still largely reeling on the ropes while trying to find its feet two years after its ignoble defeat.

Same in Guyana, where the opposition virtually has no legs to stand on and the ruling party it said wasn’t worth voting for in 2020 has performed so-well in office that its platform was again selected in the recent 2023 Local Government Elections (LGE), largely seen as an endorsement of the ruling PPP-Civic’s performance in government, at mid-term.

It mustn’t be felt, therefore, that Guyana lacks the legal brain-power to take global legal and media goliaths to task on matters of interpretation and definition of right and wrong.

Or, that Prime Minister Pierre doesn’t have what it will take to not only again break the inexplicable but true and established trend of triple consecutive revolving-door 11-6¬ election results in 2021.

Or, that he does not have what it’ll take to lead his party to again break the rotating cycle of switching governments between the two major parties every five years, by winning a now-very-rare second term in 2026.