WHILST his successor as Tourism Minister was scoring huge points with the most successful Jazz and Arts launch to date, followed by a massively successful Soufriere package, Allen Chastanet’s seemingly unending woes continue.
No doubt with his blessings, his handpicked maiden, Mary Isaac , summoned a May Day meeting of her union membership. Imagine that! Unsurprisingly, that evolved into a flop culminating with the police being called in to remove a shop steward from the meeting. Yes, today, the once mighty Civil Service Association is now the laughing stock among trade unions. A union previously dedicated to protecting the rights of workers has come full circle where its president can call in the police to evict or arrest one of its members. How much lower can Mary go?
A lot lower it would seem for the fiasco continued on Newsmaker Live this past Wednesday where Mary was Laura Jn. Pierre’s guest. Speaking of the host, though previously one of Chastanet’s choir girls, of late her relationship with “De Leader” has apparently gone sour. I wonder why? Has she discovered and understood what the other women of the hierarchy of the UWP have finally understood?
Even then, who would have thought the “Jadia wannabe” would have been so tactless in questioning Mary Isaac and in the process, further embarrass the already battered Chastanet? Perhaps basking in her never imagined public exposure, Jn. Pierre quizzed Mary on the poor Labour Day turnout by the union’s membership. What, asked Laura, could have prompted Mary to have summoned a meeting in the middle of the Jazz and Arts Festival and on a day when Soufriere Jazz held centre stage? Without batting an eye lid, straight-faced and with an air of arrogance reminiscent of when Chastanet was lying through his teeth before a judge, Isaac calmly asserted that the government had no right having a Jazz event on Labour Day. Laura who often commands the entire television screen almost shrunk from sight in disbelief at the utter stupidity of the response.
Of course, her few viewers were hardly surprised at Mary’s thoughtless response. After all, isn’t this the same Mary who, having been elected President, a non salaried position, unconstitutionally abrogated unto herself the position of Acting General Secretary, a salaried position? Wasn’t this the same Mary who then had the position of General Secretary internally advertised requesting that all applications be directed to the Acting General Secretary? And wasn’t this the same Mary who promptly applied for the job of General Secretary? Put simply, Mary Isaac has applied for the job of General Secretary with the application addressed to herself to be decided by herself.
What is it with these “Marys” of the UWP? Let us not forget that during the Stephenson King administration, another Mary, Polius this time, was appointed Chairman of Radio Saint Lucia’s Board, a non-salaried position, only for her to apply for the job of General Manager, a salaried position and one which is appointed by the board.
Is there no end to the greed exhibited by the top brass of Chastanet’s UWP? For crying out loud the Towns and Villages Council’s Report is replete with examples of infelicities committed by Ministers, Council Chairpersons and even close family members of Ministers.
But back to Mary Isaac! Late last year and during a media interview, she suggested that all of the problems faced by her executive were the result of a few political antagonists. That of course translated to Labour Party members and sympathisers. She told the nation of her intention to rid the union of all things political. How then to explain that less than a month later, she, without shame, accepted the position of UWP Senator? Is there no honour left? Could the overly ambitious Mary Issac not see that it was a conflict of interest to be the leader of a public service union and at the same time be a political appointee to the Senate? Can she not understand that her selfishness could only spell trouble for the once revered union and its membership?
As it was written so it came to pass and today, primarily because of his lust for power, his stifling ambition to be the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Allen Chastanet was prepared to sacrifice at the altar of expediency, all that was sacred within the ranks of the working class to get at the government. Not that Chastanet has ever shown any love for the working class of this country. For evidence of this, one only has to recall his treatment of the Soufriere Hostesses.
But in warped mind, he clearly was of the view that with Mary in his party’s Senatorial line up the union’s membership would simply follow her. It was a “masterstroke” he declared to his acolytes, soon after securing her appointment. But how wrong he has been proven!
Mary, no less selfish in her motives, saw the Senate as a dream come true, only that dream has turned into her worst nightmare.
The CSA which months before was strong and robust, is now but a shadow of itself. Over three hundred persons have withdrawn their membership of the union. Almost daily, a new scandal erupts. Almost monthly, one petition or another is before the Executive. One day it is to remove Mary as president and the next it is to overturn the former decision.
Imagine a union leader scheduling a meeting, going through the motions of the meeting and at the end agreeing with a member that the meeting was unconstitutional and therefore none of the decisions taken could be implemented. This would be funny if it were not so serious.
Considering that Mary has now thrown her hat into the political ring by applying to be a candidate at the next General Elections, the question must be asked whether the selfishness displayed thus far, is what our people require. Can we afford the imposition of someone who has reduced a proud union into almost nothingness? A union leader who has shown she will brook no dissent and who has proved she is willing to trample on the rights of anyone who disagrees with her to the point of calling for police intervention?
Thankfully, the majority of Saint Lucians have long concluded that whilst Mary may be good for Chastanet’s ambitions she is certainly bad for the country. Soon too, the members of the CSA, that is, those who remain in the membership, will understand that their once proud and respected union will be relegated to the dustbins of history unless they intervene to rescue their union from Mary Isaac and her side-kick, Wilfred Pierre.