Saint Lucia Government and Politics

State and politics

GOVERNMENT

According to AllCityCodes.com, Saint Lucia is a parliamentary democracy and member of the Commonwealth. The head of state is the British monarch, represented in the country by a general governor. Parliament consists of two chambers in the British pattern: the lower house has 17 members, elected in one-man constituencies for up to five years. In cases where a President is not elected, Parliament will receive a total of 18 members. The upper house has eleven senators, who are appointed for five years by the Governor-General on the proposal of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition.

Policy

Political life is dominated by the conservative United Workers’ Party (UWP) and the Social Democratic Saint Lucia Labor Party (SLP). In the May 1997 elections, SLP won a clear victory and won 16 of the 17 seats in the House of Commons. After 15 years in opposition, SLP was able to form government again. Kenny Anthony (born 1951) was named Prime Minister. In 2006, the UWP won big in the elections and regained power. Party leader John Compton (1925–2007) again became prime minister and head of government. Compton was Saint Lucia’s leading politician from 1964 until independence in 1979, when he became the country’s first prime minister, a post he also held in 1982-96. He passed away in September 2007 and was succeeded by Stephenson King (born 1958).

SLP and Kenny Anthony regained government power in the 2011 election but lost it to the UWP in 2016, when Allen Chastanet (born probably 1961) became new prime minister. UWP was then given eleven of the 17 electable seats. Of the total 18 MEPs, three (17 percent) were women, including the President. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of ST and its meanings of St. Lucia.

Judiciary

The legal system is a unique blend of pre-revolutionary French law and later imported English law. In 1879, the island got its own civil code, the Civil Code, modeled on the 1866 civil law in Quebec as a model; it constitutes a codification of pre-revolutionary Parisian custom (Coutume de Paris). The judiciary consists of Magistrates’ Courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, with the option of appeal to the Privy Council in London. The death penalty can be punished for some serious crimes.

History and Politics

The first residents

The first known residents of St. Lucia were the Taino of the Arawak people. They probably immigrated from South America around 300 AD. They named their island Iouanalao, which means “land of the iguanas”.

Between 800 and 1000 island Caribs (Kalinago) came to St. Lucia and displaced the Taino. This happened on most of the islands of the Lesser Antilles.

French and British

In the 16th century the Dutch, the French and the British tried to set up trading posts on St. Lucia, but all failed because of the resistance of the Caribs. In the 1550s, the French pirate François Le Clerc came to the island and set up his headquarters there. From here he and his crew attacked Spanish ships that were sailing by.

Around 1600 the Dutch finally set up a settlement at what is now Vieux Fort. In 1605, English settlers stranded here, but only a few of the colonists survived and eventually fled.

In the further 17th and 18th centuries, both the French and the English tried to gain a foothold. Ownership of the island kept changing back and forth. The island has been declared a French colony of Sainte Lucie several times, and has been declared a neutral area in between. The sugar cane cultivation led to an economic boom. Slaves were brought to the island from Africa for management purposes.

In 1778 there was the naval battle of St. Lucia. The British triumphed and secured their sea superiority in the Caribbean. The fighting for the island continued nonetheless. It was not until 1814 that St. Lucia finally became a British colony.

The 20th century

In the 1950s, bananas became the main crop. In 1967 the island was allowed to administer itself, the foreign policy remained with Great Britain. In 1979 St. Lucia was given independence. The country remained a member of the Commonwealth, making the British Queen head of state. It is represented by a governor general. Allen Chastanet has been Prime Minister since 2016.

Saint Lucia Head of Government

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