Election Eve / by Alan Strathman

Here is an old joke I just made up:

What do you call an election on a Caribbean island?  A political party.

Last night I took a bus from the north of the island all the way south to Laborie, down the east coast highway. And it was unlike any other experience I have had.  You may remember that in a recent post I mentioned that St. Lucians are treating the election tomorrow like it is a sport. Last night it became obvious that it is much more like a party.

It is hard to describe the bus ride I took.  It started about 6:20, when it was starting to get dark. First the drive took twice as long as usual. The reason is because we were dealing with all the traffic from a red (SLP) rally going south to a village called Desruisseaux and all the traffic going north to a yellow (UWP) rally in Cul-de-sac.

So, going south, we were in the middle of caravans and convoys of cars, pick-up trucks, busses, dump trucks, flat bed trucks with everyone hanging out the windows, filling the beds of trucks, drinking, blaring horns, and blasting music.  Both sides of the road most of the way down the island were lined with people wearing red or yellow and waving flags, banners, or any red or yellow thing they could find. When a group of vehicles passed by a group of similarly-minded people on the side of the road, they would just put their trucks/cars/busses in park in the middle of the lane, get out, and party with the supporters. 

This is a two-lane road, one lane in each direction. So when someone parks their truck in one of the lanes it creates a huge problem.  And this was happening in both directions! Our bus driver did a great job passing when when the opportunity presented itself, and even when it didn't. At times we were driving as fast as possible in the lane of oncoming traffic for a minute or more. Had he been more conservative in his decisions to pass or not we would still be on the road.  

Here are a couple of pics taken by Brenda and Krista, fellow PCVs, who were in a bus ahead of us.

I am glad we survived.  Because they are using the school as a polling place there is no school tomorrow. And, evidently, school will be cancelled on Tuesday because the winning party will likely declare Tuesday a national holiday of celebration. If I was Lucian, I would vote for whichever party agreed NOT to cancel another absolutely necessary school day.