FOLLOWING a week of allegations that fueled the rumour mill incessantly, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Cooperatives, Jimmy Henry, tendered his resignation yesterday.
Henry, a former candidate for Dennery North and UWP Senator, was the centre of growing speculation over the past few days. Reports are that he was stopped and searched at a local airport as he was en route to another regional territory.
Reports also circulated that the former minister had been under surveillance, which the police have flatly denied.
So the question remains: What would have prompted Henry to resign his posts with such haste?
In the brief video recording released yesterday, Henry cited personal reasons for his decision to quit. He even thanked his former Cabinet colleagues for the time he served with them as a government minister. Moreover, he stated that he embraced the government’s vision for the country and wished the administration well. But something just does not add up.
Henry is the second government senator in six months to have controversy beset them. In January, another senator, Dr.Ubaldus Raymond, filed charges against a teenager for blackmail after nude photos purported to be the minister’s went viral. After repeated calls for Dr. Raymond to step down, he still serves as a government minister.
While it would be unfair to impute improper motives in especially the latest incident involving Henry – and since information seems difficult to come by on the matter – it still is incumbent on the government to at least clear the air as to why Henry tendered his resignation. If Henry’s services to Dennery North – as described by Acting Prime Minister Ezechiel Joseph’s responsorial statement following Henry’s resignation – was so important, why can’t he continue to serve as senator and government minister?
Especially since this administration is touting transparency and accountability – as did their predecessors – the onus remains theirs to furnish Saint Lucians with the reasoning behind Henry’s departure. True, their argument might be that Henry’s reasons for leaving might be personal. However, at least putting the speculations now taking root to rest would be only fitting to someone who just over a year ago put himself up for public office.
Within the coming days, one would hope that Saint Lucians at least go beyond mere speculations and are provided with the facts.