Letters & Opinion

How To Annihilate a Politician

By Alexis B. Montgemary

THE St. Lucia Labour Party’s debacle with Allen Chastanet rages on in their hope of satisfying a sworn promise that this individual will not be allowed to ever become the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. Last year August Prime Minister Kenny Anthony dismissed this same individual as “nothing but a disaster”; however, the level of attention that his party has trained on Chastanet points to a heavy concentration of their energies and resources towards this burgeoning politician.

There is something else that each attack confirms and solidifies in the minds of the public day by day; and that is, the Saint Lucia Labour Party will stop at nothing to annihilate a targeted politician whom they believe is foe or threat to their end goals; even though this individual is within their own camp.

The SLP will go the lengths, from undertaking the inventive strategizing, to bearing the financial cost of ventilating the propaganda, to employing down–right bullying tactics all in an effort to painstakingly and ruthlessly tear this person’s image down limb by limb. Allen Chastanet has not been the first to have the SLP grab a fistful of his innards in an iron grip of attempted destruction and he will not be the last. The annals of SLP’s hall of destruction are replete with many well–known names that stood to suffer a similar fate. Some had the arsenal to stand their ground but others crumbled, closed shop and moved on leaving behind an elated SLP supporters.

Sir John Compton clashed with Chief Minister George Charles and moved on to form his own party. George Odlum who was obviously not trusted within the SLP ranks went on to form the Alliance with Morella Joseph and John Compton after tensions imploded (Odlum had been an elected member of the SLP). Former Prime Minister Mickey Pilgrim left the party but Peter Josie stayed behind, becoming the political leader of the SLP and chief cook and bottle washer after the UWP won the elections of 27th April, 1992..

Although he seemed to be the man who loyally held the line when SLP was disintegrating, Josie was not spared a major flogging from the party’s hierarchy when the time was right. The atmosphere of vehemence in the party against Josie skittered to a heated emotional climax that resulted in a dramatic public display. Memorably Josie stripped/ tore off on the political platform, his red T–shirt to reveal beneath it a yellow (UWP) T–shirt marking the “end of days” for his affiliation with the Labour Party.

The trend is clear. When the SLP deems individuals to be non–compliant or not completely resigned to all the nuances of collective responsibility, they will turn on those persons despite being within their camp in equal measure as they would a direct opponent. Mario Michel who had served as Minister of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports and in the position of Deputy Prime Minister had a taste of that wine from SLP’s bitter cup. After the executive of the Saint Lucia Labour Party voted to remove their term limit clause and effectively allow current leader, Dr. Kenny Anthony to take the party into the 2006 elections, Michel announced his intention not to partake in the general elections of that year. He returned to his private legal practice after the party broke their promise, almost literally on his head, denying him the opportunity (as some put it) “to be prime minister”. Despite acknowledging that he was getting many requests from people to return to politics, he seemed to have steered clear of openly engaging in partisan politics since then.

Perhaps it was MP Richard Frederick who captured the SLP‘s use of “at all cost and consequences” tactics best in the wake of Michel’s disappointing departure: “There cannot be talent surrounding the Labour Party. When the Leader of the Opposition entered the Labour Party there was a constitution that essentially said you cannot serve more than two terms. That constitution was amended and all the good fellas had to run like Mario Michel. So right now the Saint Lucia Labour Party has no choice than to settle for UWP rejects because the good people are gone. All the talent had to leave the Labour Party. Poor jab Mario. And let me put on record that Mario Michel would have made a good prime minister.”

But it was with Sarah Flood, SLP elected representative of Central Castries that the SLP’s outrageous “our way or the highway ideology” was most viciously and vividly exposed as this episode unfolded in the Parliament during a live television broadcast. Mrs. Flood made a fatal error that provoked the ire of her party members including a fuming Dr. Anthony by debating against her cabinet colleague’s attempts to pilot an amendment to the Abortion Act in 2003. In January 2004 she was relieved of her portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle. The SLP could not care less about the gender gap in Caribbean politics or the rich contribution Sarah had made in local elective politics as they sent her packing.

Today, having moved on to contribute differently within the perimeters of her convictions in human rights and human dignity Mrs. Flood Beaubrunstands as a major loss of talent for the island’s political evolution especially in the context of having strong female figures in the House of Parliament. Do we have the SLP to thank for her conspicuous absence? (To be continued).

5 Comments

  1. Super Bowl -Game clock is past 4th quarter we are in overtime -team scores first wins.
    Team red’s turn on offense calls for a slow action play with run or pass options and very low risk for fumble or interception.
    In fact this low risk multi-option play includes the opportunity to terminate the down with no loss of yards.
    Let’s imagine that the quarter back is the “hierarchy” of the SLP,
    The designated running back for the backfield pass reception or running attack, in this WISHBONE FORMATION is Ms Flood and the rest of the TEAM are loyal dedicated TEAM players determined this championship match at the Super Bowl.
    In the huddle, the play action is called and Ms Flood is picked for the pass/ run option.
    The play action calls for a deceptive standard attack by the burly Tail back-staight up the middle- then following the fake hand off-
    the triad of Tight End-Quarterback and Running Back (Ms Flood) quickly roll to the weak side of defense in a formation that resembles a wishbone (hence the name of this elaborate play action).
    BUT Ms flood is NOT committed to the TEAM and she holds the power to self destruct the offense and its victory.
    After all we are in sudden death overtime.
    She decides to reverse her run to the strong side of the defense as her offensive entourage continue their planned run to the weak side -the play is busted / scuttled . Not only is the down lost but there is a twenty+ yard loss as the Qback is sacked deep in the backfield .
    Lesson learnt:
    Although she is entitled to her personal convictions, the proper course of action was to step down long before the actual airing of her “mutinous” act.
    In other words if she had purged her self from the FIELD of action a substitute or different play action would have been drafted. The team as in Party would stand a better chance of pressing their cause.
    Liken the refrain of a famous jazz standard :
    “Just because you can does not mean you should”
    A political party is no different to any COMPETITIVE TEAM:
    THE stakes are extremely high. The commitment is everything. All else is treasonous mutiny. The consequences are also expected to be extreme.
    Take a look at the movie Mutiny on the Bounty, it will put the consequences of Ms Floods team scuttling action into vivid perspective.
    In actuality she got off quite lightly.

  2. And you got the problem with Peatar Josie quite wrong.
    It is not that he is an iconic party “turn coat” -far worse- he sold us a powerful tune (Odlum style) that spoke to the plight of the working class
    -that even Karl Marx would applaud.
    Then, Josie did a complete about face, to become a mouthpiece of the aristocratic class-
    as in born with a platinum spoon in mouth- advantage!!!!!!!!!!
    In other words Josie’s political timeline implies that Fidel would be seeking inclusion within Queen Elizabeth’s Dominion rather than passing on the succession to Raul.
    Yeah,t is that extreme.
    Not even the Hague can buy a pass go for Mutinous Pete.
    In actuality, a revisit to the Nurenberg Tribunal is more fitting for his desecration of the classic narratives seeking actualization of equitable working class rights1111
    Nice try at titillating our tear jerker sensory zones or was your article a new form of erotic political mast*rb*tion?

  3. Mach Beth, this was a brilliant analogy using American Football. I started to suggest that you write an opinion article for this paper, but realized that this would limit your freedom of expression, since you would be subject to the Editor. No, just keep giving us these stimulating opinions.

  4. Quite an honor
    And you are right about my preference for the role of unrestricted ‘linebacker”.
    Nevertheless, I am always aware of the editor’s license and my the privilege he grants us to participate in virtual conversations.

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