THE absence of talk shows on radio and television, at least for this week, seems to have spurred St. Lucians to take to social media to express their views about Neville Cenac’s appointment as the island’s Governor General as of January 1.
As predicted, when he was named as a possible candidate for the post, the announcement lit up social media as St. Lucians vented their feelings about the appointment. Some were for it, while others are so against it that they have resorted to calling Cenac all sorts of names, including a betrayer.
There was no doubt that Cenac’s political move when he crossed the floor to become a minister in the government of the United Workers Party led by deceased Sir John Compton 30 years ago would feature prominently in the backlash to his appointment.
But some comments directed people to the constitutionality of the announcement such as this, noted on social media by Earl Huntley, a former Foreign Minister and diplomat from St. Lucia.
Said Huntley: “I note that the appointment of Neville Cenac as Governor General is backdated to 1st January 2018. However, I am of the opinion that St. Lucia is still effectively without a Governor General because Mr. Cenac will not be sworn in until 12th January 2018 and therefore can only take up office at that time.
“If Prime Minister Allen Chastanet was to suddenly become incapacitated today or before 12th January and unable to perform the functions of his office, St. Lucia would be rudderless because there will be no Governor General in office to appoint someone to act as Prime Minister.
“According to Section 20 of the St. Lucia Constitution, when the Office of Governor General is vacant, then someone is appointed to act as Governor General. If there was going to be a period of time (however short) between the departure of Dame Pearlette Louisy as Governor General and the new Governor General being sworn in, then someone should have been appointed to act as Governor General.
“The alternative was for the new Governor General to be sworn in on the day after Dame Pearlette Louisy demitted office — 1st January 2018. Any legal experts (not accountants, please) care to comment?”
Huntley’s comments raise another issue, including whether Cenac can perform any constitutional task, seeing that he is not yet sworn in as Governor General.
Cenac’s appointment to the post continues to generate varied comments, some debasing some positive. It must be noted, however, that there seems to be more comments of a castigating nature than constructive ones.