George Odlum, may he rest in peace, was the one often credited for paving a way for Kenny Anthony to be accepted in the Allen Louisy Labour Government of 1979. Everyone knew that Odlum did not act alone. His political fulcrum was this writer, Peter Josie, the do-it-man whenever talk and promises were to be converted into solid action … with positive results. It was these two who took Kenny Anthony from his battered Laborie/Saltibus home and negotiated with Louisy to amend the new independence constitution to allow Kenny Anthony to be appointed Senator and Minister of Education. Kenny Anthony did not contest the 1979 general elections nor did he help in the campaign to elect the Labour Party to office.
Kenny Anthony was careful not to take sides in the leadership struggle which blemished the Louisy government. Instead, he ran away and was not seen or heard in political circles for some 18 years. He returned only after it became obvious that the people were ready to change the Compton government, but would not replace Compton with Julian Hunte.
Those who were plotting to throw Hunte under the bus went to seek Kenny Anthony in Barbados. It was observed that the man started to pay late night visits to watering holes in Saint Lucia testing the political ground himself. Seemingly, he did not trust those who had gone to him offering the party. A lack of trust topped by laziness, later developed into arrogance.
During his first general election campaign for the Vieux Fort South seat in 1997, Kenny Anthony’s main line of attack against me was that I was building a cement factory at the Vieux Fort docks which would generate dust on Vieux Fort and compromise health. The dust would also compromise the tourist industry, he claimed. I demonstrate that a cement plant was crucial to Saint Lucia given the poor housing at the time and the escalating cost of imported cement.
As recently as six years ago when he was Leader of the Opposition, he fought tooth and nail to oppose the renovation and modernization of Hewanorra airport at Vieux Fort. It did not seem to matter that the previous UWP-King government had imposed a small exit tax on passengers to help finance the airport redevelopment project. To this day Hewanorra airport which is the biggest employer in the south remains almost dysfunctional anytime two or three international flights are on the tarmac.
Then there are the more recent vehement criticisms by Kenny Anthony of the former King government for not getting St. Jude hospital renovated and reopened within the space of two years after the fire. Since his criticisms Kenny Anthony has been Prime Minister for four and a half years. St. Jude repairs and renovation are still not complete.
The George Odlum stadium has been used as a temporary hospital since the fire at St. Jude. The delay at St. Jude has compromised the use of the stadium by young athletes in their bid for national and international fame. Has Kenny Anthony demonstrated any sign of remorse for his behaviour in opposition and his couldn’t-give-a-damn attitude in government? I posit the view that that’s the profile of a man who needs power for his ego and nothing else?
Has anyone forgotten the many times Kenny Anthony attempted to intimidate others by challenging them to take him to court? In his legal battles he has had one who has stood by him in thick and thin. They have corroborated in a case involving Trinidad cement and CARICOM.
I have not bothered to mention the IMPACS report or VAT or the issues of ambassadorial appointments to UNESCO and IMO. What is clear is that Kenny Anthony is a man who will oppose and say anything to get into political office. It is also clear that the man will not explain Grynberg Oil or other issues in which the country may be interested. Two years ago he threatened to build a new office for the Prime Minister at La Toc. Now he proposes to build new government offices at Vieux Fort, in the hope of fooling the people of Vieux Fort one last time. No matter how one turns him, it is clear that Kenny Anthony behaves like a trapped animal.
Whatever they do and whatever the outcome of the next elections it is clear to this writer that Kenny Anthony has been an abject failure. He came into office on the sweat of others; he has sustained himself in office by using others, and on his departure will take down some. He has proven that he makes no emotional attachments; the man has no love, only likes.
Finally look what Kenny Anthony did to the two persons who were most influential in washing up his salt fish flat body flat and voting him into the Senate. He called Odlum the man who introduced him to China, ‘the great Satan.’ He has a twenty-year court battle against me for words spoken during the 1997 election campaign.
Sooner or later one must learn that life is not complicated. People make it so! There are persons who are not easily intimidated by Kenny Anthony. These people live by the power of a higher authority. I count myself among them. That power stands firm and resolute with those He loves. The general election of June 6 is not complicated. Vieux Fort and Saint Lucia just need to go out and vote Dr. Mondesir and the other UWP candidates on that date. Yes, just do it! It’s not complicated.