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Lecturer Sparks Row

Image of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet & Dr. Tennyson Joseph

A public lecture by Dr. Tennyson Joseph of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in which he identified Prime Minister Allen Chastanet as unsuitable to the position as Prime Minister on account of being a businessman is generating much traction here.

Image: (L-R) Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre, Castries South MP, Dr. Ernest Hilaire & Dr. Tennyson Joseph.
(L-R) Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre, Castries South MP, Dr. Ernest Hilaire & Dr. Tennyson Joseph.

Two high-profile members of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) have taken umbrage at the Prime Minister for using the word “racist” to reference articles written by Dr. Joseph, who is Head of the Department of Government, Sociology and Social Work at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados.

Dr. Joseph was speaking at an event in St. Vincent and the Grenadines organized by the UWI Open Campus, and LegalEase SVG Inc. last week when he referenced Chastanet in his lecture.

Dr. Joseph was distinguishing the capabilities of businessmen-turned-politicians and professional politicians, questioning their competence and adeptness in such high positions, citing Chastanet and U.S. President, Donald Trump — both businessmen – as examples.

“There is much evidence in the politics of the U.S.A., the Caribbean and elsewhere that the election of persons with business experience and the election of persons who fail to understand that political leadership requires a specific nobility of character, has compounded, rather than resolved the challenges of governance or development. It is clear that not any cook can govern,” Dr. Joseph said.

The UWI lecturer presented Chastanet as incompetent and unable to find solutions to the problems facing the country.

Chastanet has since hit back, telling reporters at a pre-Cabinet meeting on Monday that he was surprised that Dr. Joseph, given some of the articles he has written in the past, is still a Professor at UWI.

Chastanet said his experience in government is long and deep, touting his stints as Director of Tourism, Minister of Tourism, working with Air Jamaica and as an employee of the government back in the mid-Eighties.

“My understanding of how government works is very substantive and I think my administration has benefitted from that. When you look at what we have achieved in just above one year in government, hopefully, Mr. Joseph himself would have recognized the success of our government,” Chastanet said.

Chastanet said that aside from making allegations, Dr. Joseph could not substantiate what he was saying, adding that some of Dr. Joseph’s articles were prejudiced and that he was surprised that the university had not reprimanded Dr. Joseph.

“You have seen several articles written by Mr. Tennyson (Joseph) which, I think, are racist and I’m really surprised that the University of the West Indies had not called him out on that and that he would continue to be allowed to teach students in that area,” Chastanet said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre, claiming to be defending UWI as a past graduate, stated that Chastanet should stop using the Prime Minister’s Office as a bullying pulpit where he accuses everyone and says whatever he wants.

“The Prime Minister must understand that universities are not there to do public relations for the government. Universities are there to cause people to think outside the box. Lecturers cannot be people saying the same things as Guy Joseph,” Pierre said.

He added all the Prime Minister had to do was disagree with what Dr. Joseph said but not attack him personally.

Castries South MP, Dr. Ernest Hilaire, also took on the Prime Minister, stating that he did not understand what universities are about and how someone is educated at a university.

“A university teaches you to critically (study) the societies about you and to find solutions to the problems of the societies. What Dr. Joseph did is what lecturers and professors do. They subject the society to analysis. Joseph was making the point of the phenomenon of businessmen becoming political leaders and the belief that business capabilities equate to excellence in leadership, political leadership, in particular,” Dr.Hilaire said.

Dr.Hilaire said that for the Prime Minister to say that some of the articles written by Dr. Joseph were racist means that the Prime Minister was calling Dr. Joseph a racist. He said that while it is alright for the Prime Minister to disagree with what Dr. Joseph wrote, calling him a racist was grossly disrespectful.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

3 Comments

  1. Evidently Chastanet don’t know the meaning of the word “racism” or it he knows he is deliberately trying to mislead. Racism is a little more complex than he want to make us believe. In any case I am curious to read the articles he is referring to.

    It would be refreshing if ideologues like Peter Josie would advice this buffoon on the practice of democracy. He must be taught to appreciate the fact that he MUST acknowledge our sensibilities bought about by our slave history and how we have learnt to regard the Caucasian as result and stop acting like some divinely ordained leader sent to rescue the country from its folly.

    The position as put forward by Dr Joseph is scholarly and scientific. He made his point and sought to support it with facts and data – that which can be observed by all. That alone don’t make him right. To counter his position however a similar exercise must be offered. That would have generated a lively debate where all could have made an informed opinion based on the arguments. But to make an emotive, power loaded and extremely suggestive statement like “am surprised Dr Joseph is still working for the UWI” is dangerous and dictatorial in every intent and purpose. It is further evidence of the bullying attitude and dictatorial tendencies of Chastanet. I leave it to all to decide for themselves whether this is good for the country or not. For it we are trying to liberalise our society this is certainly not the way to go about achieving it.

  2. “Is gaining traction here”…What exactly is gaining traction here? There is no research behind the theory being proposed. Tennyson might as well have concluded that he believes some crap, and has decided to bless us with hearing his crap. The mere notion that tennyson would want to single out “businessmen”, as opposed to teachers, lawyers, public servants is beyond me. The fact that he did not even bother to assess the price we as a society has paid for having useless lawyers at the helm the political directorate for decades, is an even bigger crime. I have no problem with tennyson (this name is somehow irreconcilably juvenile) discussing our politics, or critiquing the Chastanet Administration, what I do have a problem with is people using their places on university faculties to attempt to bring down administrations. Tennyson is not presenting research. He is not analyzing any data. Dude is simply continuing his feeble attempt at political redemption of a party that has no place in current politics. A party which was just kicked out if not for any reason than that they did not perform to the liking of fellow St. Lucians. A vast Majority of St. Lucians decided that on June 6 2016 the Labour party was devoid of ideas on how to move the country forward. They decided that the labour god, Kenny D. was beyond expired, with his humongous gut, and that his replacement Hillaire was also as unpopular. The current leader, Pierre barely eked out a seat, and has a lot to worry about next time around. Gros Islet is locked, Babonneau is locked, Castries North is locked, Castries Central is locked (unless the Labour party embraces Richard Frederick), South east is locked, Anse La Ray Canaries is on lock, Soufriere is down, Choseul is going nowhere (unless TENNYSON RUNS), The two micouds will unite under one party, Dennery too, Pierre and Hillaire better strap up (if one thing the business man is good at it is organization), and dont let any light of economic activity sip into Vieux Fort, because it may be the end for the labour party as we know it. The business man has had more political savvy strictly speaking than the entire labour party combined. Remember laughing at him moving from Soufriere to Micoud? or the labourie governor saying that “over my dead body” crap, then swallowing it? Oh Wait! Remember tennyson predicting a labour party win/landslide last election? Only to be called out by his bajan counterpart for being a practical novice as election polling? The fact is that all tennyson has is academic accomplishments. Which is a good thing. Why he cant see the political lay of the land is beyond me! Maybe the dreads are getting in his eyes!

  3. “Dr.” Joseph,

    Do you consider yourself as someone with nobility of character?
    At what age did your character become noble?

    When is last time you washed those dreadlocks of yours?

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