INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW: Will Stephenson King eventually be replaced by Gail Rigobert as Interim Leader of Political Leader? Or is she a front for someone else behind King’s back?
By Crusader Reporter
The Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), still reeling from the blows of electoral defeat, is increasingly turning out to be a house divided. From the first working day of this year those looking for scapegoats for their humiliating loss turned their guns on Party Leader Stephenson King, blaming him for the party’s loss at the polls last November. Now they are moving to the next stage: identifying someone to replace King as they push him aside.
Clem Bobb and Oswald Augustin started the ball rolling against King by quoting the party’s constitution and calling on him to step aside as let somebody else lead the party in the interim until a party convention is called. But King pointed to the same Constitution to tell them that once the Party leader wins his seat he can remain as Party Leader until a convention.
The gutter-sniping stopped for a while as the anti-King forces went back to the drawing board. Bobb and Augustin had both said they threw in their towels by resigning their positions to encourage king to do the same, but King didn’t take the bait.
Since then, King has found himself right back where he started – very dependent on Castries Central MP Richard Frederick for everything – from advice in Parliament to legal advice on Grynberg, both of which have resulted in embarrassing episodes for King, even with Frederick at his side, or behind his back. The Taiwan gravy train about to run dry, many are panicking about their future, forcing them to once again end up being reliant on the only person whose sources of income they say have never run dry.
The Budget Debate also exposed the hopelessness of UWP leadership of the state, especially the exposure of the fallacy of the 4.4% Growth rate King latched on to in his last Budget as PM. Here again, that embarrassing episode was used to blame King for poor leadership and as ammunition to revive the calls for him to step aside. Now they have gone one step further and identified who they want to replace him with – at least in the interim.
The word out this week – in the media and elsewhere – was that King’s opponents have decided that the best way to get rid of a King is to replace him with a Queen, so they have identified Micoud North MP Gail Rigobert as the best and only candidate for that job. No official announcement was made, but the word was that the new Micoud MP’s contribution to the budget debate so impressed those looking for an alternative to King that they decided to make her their queen.
Those supporting Rigobert to replace King say it will not be the first time a woman will have been chosen to replace a leader who lost an election, pointing to Dr Morella Joseph having led the party into the 2001 General Elections. But King’s supporters argue that while then Leader Dr Vaughan Lewis lost the 1997 elections and didn’t win his seat, King did win his in 2011. Those opposing Ms Rigobert also claim that, like Dr. Joseph, she’s also too politically inexperienced to be given the burden of leadership to rebuild the badly damaged party.
But while the possibility of a King vs Queen Leadership Contest looms ahead of the next UWP convention, more and more questions are being asked about who will be the real power behind the queen’s throne. She was selected to keep out Jeannine Compton and Richard Frederick’s sister Mrs Faisal. With Frederick looming large in the current scheme of things in the UWP and in the constityuency (where he was born), her supporters feel it would be impossible for Ms Rigobert to survive without he and his sister’s support. But some are suggesting the former minister’s sister may be less interested in being a UWP MP in opposition – especially when there is absolutely no sign of the UWP returning to office in the near or distant future.
Another matter of interest is that those supporting Gail Rigobert say she is only being recommended as an Interim Leader until the convention. If that’s the case, King’s men say, there’s reason to wonder who’ll be the anti-King candidate when the election for Leader comes up at the convention. Here again, fingers are pointing to Frederick, who has previously but unsuccessfully contested the position and has never been known to have given up that hope.
The conventional approach is that the Party Leader comes from among the party’s MPs. A random check of those who can go up against King eliminates Guy Joseph and Edmund Estephane. Arsene James can qualify, but most feel he won’t be able or willing to stand the heat. That leaves Ms Rigobert (who’s been trying hard to exude leadership quality) and Frederick (who needs the top job to help better firewall himself against his many troubles, especially with the Americans.)
Some of King’s men suspect the queen play may be a distraction ploy to keep eyes off the man who really wants to be the next UWP king – an eventuality that no political observer rules out. GTherefore, many are asking, quite openly, whether Frederick has declared or been asked to declare whether he’s interested in contesting against King for the leadership when the election comes up at the next party convention. There’s been no response yet, so all eyes are on Ms Rigobert to see whether she’ll agree to be a real queen vs King, or whether she’ll be a “fall gal” playing queen to pave the way for King to be challenged by the wannabe who really wants to be the next UWP king.
Meanwhile, the UWP continues to be a house divided, offering enough themes and topics for the taking as veteran revelers start searching for ideas for Ole Mas 2012.
By Maryanna Williams
(Exclusive Crusader Correspondent)
One would have thought that Stephenson King’s defeat at the November 28, 2011 polls would have caused him to reflect and reconsider his style, modus operandi and decision making influences. However, it seems that Mr. King has learnt nothing from his electoral defeat, as he continues to make the same mistakes in Opposition that he made in Government.
Individuals like Rick Wayne and Richard Frederick with their baggage and selfish agendas, annoyed the people of St. Lucia when they used then Prime Minister King to promote their personal vendettas against Kenny Anthony. King himself was warned on several occasions to become his own man and distance himself from such axe-grinding persons, but he lacked the confidence and capacity to make such difficult decisions.
In clinging to the position of Prime Minister, Stephenson King made compromises which no serious and self-respecting Leader should make, and persons who had no business near the centre of power, were the ones advising Stephenson King on a daily basis. Rick Wayne and Sam Flood became regulars at serious policy meetings while trained and technically sound professionals were transferred and terminated from their positions of expertise.
Many of these professionals dealt with their dismissals in a dignified manner, in some cases using the courts to enforce their rights and entitlements, but in most cases having no regrets about being separated from the unethical and incompetent Stephenson Government. The regional and International community was pleased to receive many of these patriotic sons and daughters of St. Lucia who were wronged by the Stephenson King Administration, in naked acts of political victimization.
Ironically though, this week it was Stephenson King as Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for Castries North, who was crying political victimization. Beside him was Castries Central MP- Richard Frederick – and they were accusing the new SLP appointed Castries City Council of political victimization against their supporters.
Apparently, the Council had dismissed some 25 politically appointed and unproductive contractors, who were padding the payroll of the Castries City Council and virtually drowning it in debt. As an entity which receives a substantial subvention from Government and has its own sources of revenue including rents, fees, licenses and property taxes; the Castries City Council has the capacity to operate in a financially sustainable manner. However, when former Ministers and Prime Ministers like Frederick and King, impose heavy financial baggage on the council in the form of costly, unnecessary and wide scale political appointments, then any prudent Board coming into office, has a duty and responsibility to review that situation.
Months ago, we all heard the Minister of Local Government Harold Dalson lamenting that the Council had to find “a million dollars a month” to meet its commitments; and every month, he as Minister had to suffer the indignity of heading a begging mission to the Ministry of Finance to request over two hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($250,000.00). And this was despite some of the City Council’s contractors failing to deliver the required service to the people of Castries, while advancing a politically adversarial approach to the new administration.
Thankfully, the Castries City Council took its time to undertake a thorough review of the situation; and came up with an objective and responsible solution, which though painful for some, will benefit the people of the greater Castries region.
So for Stephenson King to allow himself as Leader of the Opposition to follow Richard Frederick yet again, into a side show to placate their supporters and mislead the St. Lucian public; underlines the ineptitude of the former Prime Minister. In an information age, did King and Frederick really expect the people of St. Lucia to swallow their story hook, line and sinker, without probing further? Well thanks to a professional Castries City Council, St. Lucians now have the full facts (not King and Frederick’s version) at their disposal.
And I must commend the Chairperson of the City Council (Mrs. Shirley Lewis) and her Board for coming out with due dispatch to set the record straight. She was brilliant at the press conference and gave a cogent, logical, and factual rebuttal of all the outrageous and inflammatory claims made by Richard Frederick and Stephenson King. She was also very dignified in not responding to the demeaning and derogatory statements directed against herself and her husband by Richard Frederick.
The presence of her other Board members in all their seriousness and professionalism, also sent a strong signal that the days of bullying and bulldozing by Richard Frederick in Castries Central are coming to an end.
Another positive signal sent by the Castries City Council’s prompt response to the propaganda put out by King and Frederick, was that misinformation will no longer be allowed to dominate in the sphere of political debate. In the previous Labour Administration, unfounded allegations of arrogance and impropriety were ignored until they became too widespread to refute. In which life could Kenny Anthony ever be more arrogant than a John Compton who told striking Teachers: “you could put a gun to my head I will not pay”; but Kenny Anthony lost an election to Sir John because he (Kenny) was arrogant.
I suppose that is why King and the UWP tried the Public Relations and Marketing gimmickery of Rick Wayne and others to try to steal the 2011 elections. But truth has a way of rising to the top and Kenny’s performance and perseverance in Opposition allowed the truth about him to shine through. Every leader has his strengths, flaws and weaknesses, but St. Lucians can now say with confidence and conviction that Kenny Anthony is NOT arrogant.
And as for this tired Kenny and Tony split personality line which King was trying to resurrect at their press conference; St. Lucians have seen the light of Labour’s star. They also know that while it is good calypso word craft and picong to talk of Kenny and Tony (2 people) running the country; the reality is that every leader has to make decisions: some which will be painless to none, and others which will be painful to some. So yes, in Kenny Anthony we have 2 brilliant people running the country; but certainly that is ten times better than being ruled by one dull King.
Congratulations again to Shirley Lewis and the Castries City Council for their prompt response to King and Frederick’s political mischief. I hope that other Government agencies are taking note and will respond in similar fashion to any outrageous claims by the sore loser UWP Leader and his handlers and associates.
Fathers are the cornerstone of a society; they are critical agents in the nurturing and socialization of our youth. They provide wisdom, guidance, correction and protection as they cautiously develop their offspring from birth to adulthood.
Although Small Island Developing States like St. Lucia are plagued with a large absenteeism rate of responsible fathers, there are many who have assumed the role like true champions.
Today we recognize fathers. We celebrate their hard work; diligence and commitment in assisting their young develop holistically amidst all the negative elements prevailing in today’s world. We especially salute the fathers who have willingly accepted the dual parent role consistent in motherless households and have become models of excellence.
On behalf of our Political Leader and Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Kenny Anthony, the national executive and members of the Saint Lucia Labour Party, we wish all fathers a blessed and rewarding day.
REMARKS BY HON. DR. KENNY D. ANTHONY
OUTGOING CHAIRMAN OF THE OECS AUTHORITY
AT THE FORMAL OPENING OF
THE 55th MEETING OF THE OECS AUTHORITY
JUNE 10, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Some five months ago, we assembled in Saint Lucia to take stock and to review the state of affairs of the OECS Economic Union, to consider and formulate plans, and to concretize the steps towards its full operationalisation.
It will be recalled that while the Revised Treaty of Basseterre establishing the OECS Economic Union was signed by OECS Member States on June 18, 2010, it in fact became operational a full seven months later on January 21, 2011, after the necessary legal and other requirements were met. This marked the commencement of our region’s transition towards Economic Union. .Since January 2011, therefore, the OECS and its Member States have been working progressively toward full and comprehensive operationalisation of the Economic Union.
The Fifty-fourth Meeting of the OECS Authority was concerned with ensuring that as the Economic Union progressed into becoming an operational entity, it would be interwoven seamlessly into the institutional fabric of our societies, and indeed into the lives of the people of our region.
Our assessments focused on, among other things, the state of implementation of the Revised Treaty of Basseterre, and the legislative and other arrangements which needed to be pursued in those Member States which were yet to enact the Revised Treaty into domestic law.
Those Member States were provided every encouragement and the necessary technical assistance to help surmount the significant challenges which were found to exist within their jurisdictions, and in particular, to complete the procedures necessary for enactment of the Revised Treaty Bill, accession to the Revised Treaty and fulfillment of the ratification process.
ACTIVATION OF ORGANS AND INSTITUTIONS
We also considered the critical matter of making operational the organs of the Economic Union, paying particular attention to the necessity for effective functioning of the OECS Commission, and the need for urgent activation of the Councils and the OECS Assembly. The Commission continues to streamline its operations on the basis of rules of procedure and other guidelines established for its smooth functioning, and has had some seven formal sittings to date. In the meantime, the necessary technical work is being pursued toward the activation of the councils, in particular the Economic Affairs Council, through which the Economic Union protocol is to be managed. In addition, work is continuing apace toward the inauguration of the OECS Assembly, the forum through which elected representatives of the people of the Eastern Caribbean States will seek to represent their interests in matters affecting the Union.
THE TROUBLING ISSUE OF FINANCING
Also receiving attention was the perennial question of financing – of the Commission, as well as the wider enterprise of the Economic Union itself. In these matters, firm assurances of the commitment of Member States were received, even as due regard was paid to the long-running global economic and financial crisis and its debilitating impact on our region.
The Authority had also paid attention to matters relating to the overall economic and social development of the OECS region, but particularly in respect of private sector development, private/public sector engagement, and sustainability in the productive sectors. The continuing global economic and financial crisis had induced greater urgency in the Authority’s deliberations.
RELATIONS WITH THIRD COUNTRIES
One area of particular interest to the Authority was the matter of relations between the OECS and third countries, and in this regard the application by the French Overseas Departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe for associate status in the OECS was viewed as a positive and promising development. The Authority warmly embraced the overtures by these two islands to forge a closer relationship with our member states.
CAUSE FOR CONTINUED WORRY AND ALARM
Since our last encounter, much work has been undertaken in furtherance of the Economic Union agenda, but much has transpired in the external sphere to give us cause for continued alarm. The catalysts to boost confidence at the global level are meager, and the world economy continues its slow, Sisyphean struggle out of the recession of the last four years, giving definition to a crisis that is as much about global leadership as it is about economics.
The economic spotlight is now focused more intensely than ever on Europe where a long-festering crisis of opposing economic ideologies has come to a head, with the leadership of the Euro Zone in the typical fashion of opposing camps, promoting and prescribing solutions to the crisis in all-or-nothing terms: austerity versus expansion!
The picture continues to be uninspiring in other quarters – a slower last quarter growth performance in China and India, continued uncertainty in the US in respect of investment and job growth, and continued political instability in the Middle East with the expected global economic consequences.
The story of the last four years is one that does not bear repeating. It has been told and retold ad nauseam, and every articulation of that story generates its accompanying depression. The sad lesson which surfaces consistently from that story is that we have over the years, faithfully and with all confidence, reposed our trust and hopes for our future with those who have been the cause of our predicament in the first place. And so we keep waiting, in vain it turns out, for our economies to be jump-started via a remote switch located somewhere in China, Europe, the USA, Brazil or India.
THE POWER OF OUR IDEAS
The other, and more inspiring, chapter of the story is that, notwithstanding our small size, our inherent vulnerabilities, our resource constraints, and all the other characteristics which define our condition as Small Island Developing States, we do have the capacity (forged through the accumulated wisdom of the Caribbean historical experience) to bring about meaningful change in our condition through our own effort. Over the years, OECS Member States have exhibited a refusal to be bound or hamstrung by the constraints of physical size, choosing instead to give greater weight to the power of their ideas. In so doing, the OECS and its Member States have developed a capacity and reputation for “punching way above their weight. Indeed, they have exhibited often enough, the ability and resourcefulness to address seemingly intractable problems through the design of home-grown answers specific to their condition, and the OECS Economic Union is precisely one such answer.
We continue to promote the OECS Economic Union as the preferred approach to dealing with the challenges encountered in our quest for sustainable development. Ours is a unique model with no parallel among small states, and it might indeed be a model that is in many important ways superior to even the more mature integration arrangements involving larger states. For example, while manifestations of failure in EU member states are viewed as national problems (hence the Greek or Spanish crisis),and the solutions often prescribed in similarly national terms (such as the Greek, Irish or Portuguese bailout), manifestations of failure in OECS member states are treated as if they were OECS-wide problems. The handling of the Stanford, CLICO and BAICO debacles is illustrative in this regard, and lends validity to suggestions of a higher level of sophistication and maturity in the OECS arrangement compared to others.
VALIDATION OF OUR MODEL
Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that history has played us a card such that in a rather peculiar way, international developments (including the global economic and financial crisis of the last four years) have served to provide validation of the model which the OECS has been pursuing since 1981, and to increase the level of confidence in the OECS in respect of our institutions, our people, and the relevance and applicability of the tasks which we have set ourselves in furtherance of the Economic Union agenda.
TWO CRITICAL LESSONS
There are two lessons which can be learnt from this: the first is that we have to stay the course, confident in the knowledge that ours is an enterprise yet without parallel, without which it would have been impossible to realize the numerous successes that have characterized the OECS experience and enhanced the living conditions of our people in so many profound ways; the second lesson is that we must learn the art of anchoring our achievements within ourselves, and never be tired of telling our story – to the world, but more importantly to our people. Ours is a proud record of success with which the people of our region must identify. Moreover, this enterprise on which we have embarked since 1981 is but a means to achieving social and economic progress for the people of the Eastern Caribbean. Its success can only be sustained if the people, in whose interest it has been fashioned, believe in it to the extent that they are prepared to defend it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, since Saint Lucia assumed the Chair of the OECS at the 53rd Meeting of the Authority in May of last year, two events of profound significance have occurred, with a third to take place in the coming days.
INSTITUTION OF FREE MOVEMENT
Last year on August 1st (a date symbolic of West Indian freedom), free movement of OECS nationals was instituted within the single space, and given the force of law. That such an event took place without fanfare defies comprehension for two reasons: the first is the deep socio-economic, cultural and political significance of free movement for the people of our region. In addition, the strong, positive passion evoked by the notion of free movement is familiar to us all – there is a yearning in all of us to travel this region of ours without restriction. The second reason is the deep fear that the notion of free movement has evoked among our people over the years. As an aside, the existence of these two directly opposing sentiments defies understanding, except perhaps if one is a psychologist - but it is not unusual for persons to champion the cause of free movement for themselves while at the same time expressing fear of free movement by others!
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this development is the fact that over the last ten and a half months since the introduction of free movement there has been no avalanche of persons seeking to displace fellow OECS nationals from their jobs. Interestingly enough, there appears to have been no significant change in the pattern of travel within the OECS. Instead, what the introduction of free movement has done is to guarantee to OECS nationals the right to unrestricted travel within the single OECS space. And this is in itself a matter of fundamental import.
This development is also important for reasons to which I have referred earlier – namely the need to highlight our successes to the world and to our people. Further to this, it carries significance because it points to an important responsibility which we must shoulder as leaders, namely to assuage the fears of our people, especially when the basis of such fears is questionable. Indeed, ours is a responsibility to lead – after all, that is why we are referred to as leaders!
However, the benefits that our OECS citizenry now collectively share must be guarded carefully. Our economies are small and so are our businesses. We have tried to protect certain economic opportunities for our citizens and as such we must be mindful that we define our arrangements carefully, otherwise, we may become overwhelmed and lose our identity individually and collectively.
MEETING OF OECS OPPOSITION LEADERS
The second event of significance to which I refer was the meeting in early May of this year, of OECS Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition which I had the pleasure and honour to host in my capacity as Chairman of the OECS. In my view, this meeting represented a unique opportunity for us all, governments, opposition and the people we represent, to bring about a qualitative shift in the governance of our region. As I had indicated at that meeting, there appears to be among our people, a certain sophistication which manifests itself in a constant thirst and striving for improvement in the arrangements through which they are governed, and a desire for the ultimate in transparency and accountability. They have come to expect from their leaders the maturity which would cause the people’s interest to be placed above all else, requiring all of their representatives to work together to promote that interest.
One of the lessons which I have learnt during my sojourn in the nether land of the opposition is that governance must be about inclusion, particularly in the context of small size and human resource scarcity. Personally I am now more than ever convinced of the value of engagement and inclusion, and believe these to represent the surest route to sustainability and long term success.
While the report of that meeting is a matter for consideration at this 55th Meeting of the Authority, I am sufficiently convinced of its value to recommend publicly, that a Meeting of the Authority and OECS Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition be a regular feature of our calendar of meetings.
In that regard, I am moved that the time has come in the region where we must rethink and restructure our political architecture. Notwithstanding our maturing democracies, it is evident that our institutional superstructures of our states require adjustment. We have won the right to our independence and we should proudly and consciously make these reforms on our own volition; not for the compliance of external requirements or the appeasement of others. Mature societies act freely and not only when forced to. We must at all levels begin to address the intra-party synapses: the relations between governments and oppositions, majorities and minorities. If we are to expect better governance, then we must find the courage and the determination to reform our parliamentary processes and our electoral machinery and practices, which certainly would not be complete without considering better modes and controls regarding the financing of political campaigns.
The manifestations suggesting the need for reform are clear. Far too many of our territories must deal with post-election challenges, largely to dispute election results. Of course, the Courts are the right sanctum for settling such matters but their frequency of applications towards the bench is sufficient to suggest that our systems require modernising and adapting.
INAUGURATION OF OECS ASSEMBLY
Lastly, the May meeting of Leaders of Parliamentary Opposition was held in preparation for the third event to which I referred earlier. That third event is the inauguration in Antigua and Barbuda on June 15, 2012, of the OECS Assembly, the organ through which the people of the OECS will have their interests represented in matters relating to the Economic Union by their elected parliamentarians.
This event has tremendous significance as it reinforces the people-centred focus of our Union, and highlights the importance which is attached to developing and enhancing governance arrangements for the single OECS space. The OECS Assembly is expected to symbolize and also to concretize the involvement of the citizenry of the OECS region in the further development and consolidation of the Economic Union. Membership of the Assembly will therefore carry with it a heavy and sacred responsibility, since it is through the participation of the membership that the voice (the views and concerns) of the people of the region will find expression. It is hoped, therefore, that the OECS citizenry will be paying close attention to the deliberations of the Assembly to ensure that their hopes and aspirations for the region are being promoted and championed.
I have every confidence that the OECS Assembly will meet and even surpass the expectations that are placed upon it, and that it will survive as a proud symbol of the noble aspirations that have guided the enterprise which our fore bearers embarked upon some thirty-one years ago.
Ladies and Gentlemen, notwithstanding our achievements to date, there is still much more to be done. These matters will be the subject of our deliberations over the next two days, and I am confident that we will all bring our considerable experience, resolve, commitment and the trust that we share for each other, to bear on the many issues that are before us.
AN HONOUR TO SERVE
Colleague Heads, it has been a great honour and privilege for Saint Lucia to have served as Chair of the OECS over the past year, one which has been most eventful for our Organisation and for me personally. Today, the responsibility passes to St Vincent and the Grenadines in the person of Prime Minister Ralph Gonzalves, and this gives me every reason to remain confident in the future of our Organisation. I wish to assure Prime Minister Gonzalves of my full support as he assumes the Chair, and to thank most sincerely my colleague Heads of Government, the OECS Commissioner, the Director General and the staff of the OECS, for the support extended to Saint Lucia and to me personally over the period of our stewardship.
I thank you.
The Office of the Prime Minister has been made aware of an email sent out from the personal account of Hon. Emma Hippolyte, Minister for Commerce, Business Development, Investment and Consumer Affairs requesting assistance after being mugged while on vacation with her family in Spain. While many Saint Lucians may be aware of this ongoing scam designed to extort money from unsuspecting individuals, the fact that this message is coming from an address we are all familiar with, may lead to a positive response given our genuine love and concern for the safety of our Minister.
The Government of Saint Lucia wishes to advise that this email was not sent by or on behalf of Minister Emma Hippolyte and may be as a result of the Minister’s account being hacked into or compromised in some other way. As such, the public is urged to discard the email and ignore the request, as the information contained therein is bogus.
Minister Hippolyte apologizes for any fear or alarm that may have resulted upon receipt of such disturbing news and thanks all for the outpouring of concern about her well-being. Hon. Emma Hippolyte wishes to assure her dear constituents of Gros-Islet and all Saint Lucians that she is safe, in high spirits and good health.
Hon. Emma Hippolyte is currently in London, England on State business and is due back on island on Thursday June 14, 2012.
Response to the Richard Frederick and Stephenson king
Ladies and Gentlemen
I want to welcome you here to this press conference as it is imperative that a response be given to the statements of misrepresentation of the facts as presented by the parliamentary representatives of Castries North and Castries Central. This can only be construed as political mischief and the Board of the City Council will not stand idly by and accept such distorted information coming from persons who ought to know better.
The Board of the Castries City Council in the exercise of its duties sought to be guided by the principles of prudent management. Having inherited a situation that called for an immediate review of the activities of Council, the Board in its wisdom recognized the need to begin with areas where Council expends large sums to determine the merit of the expenditure.
As part of this exercise Council evaluated the performance of 33 sanitation contracts based on the numerous complaints and adverse perception of the public for the services rendered under these contracts vis a vis the levels of expenditure that was being incurred by the Council.
This exercise began with the Council conducting a geographical tour of the areas under the responsibility of the Council, taking into account areas for which sanitary services were contracted for. A thorough inspection of all the areas for which the contracts had been issued was undertaken and it was recognized that there were serious deficiencies in the services that needed to be addressed as the existing arrangements left much to be desired.
The total value for the 33 sanitation contracts amounted to EC$151,434.00 paid fortnightly at an average of EC$4,588.00 per contract. Further examination of the contract documents revealed significant flaws that included the following;
• Contracts were apparently renewed in September of 2011;
• That clause 1.3 of the contract which read “ Designated Area means the area described in the First Schedule hereto” which identified the areas for which the contractor is responsible was never included nor made a part the contract;
• Contracts did not state the sums contracted for but yet sums were paid to persons nor;
• was the provisions for witness in the contract ever witnessed;
• That some contracts was not duly authorized - having only the signature of the contractor - yet the contractor was receiving fortnightly payments ;
• Further to this it was identified that persons were being paid for the same area twice - as is the case of the LIAT Cargo shed area of Mandela Drive which was included as part of
Small Vigie, paid to two individuals at a rate of EC 1500.00 a fortnight, with one also being paid under Serenity Park at the same rate.
Council recognized that the value of contracts issued for the Cariellie area represented an estimated 63% of total amount of EC151, 434.00 paid out fortnightly. It is imperative that council in its response highlight the case of John Henry who was noted in the former Ministers statement.
Mr. Henry’s contract as with all other contracts lacked the required schedule which identified his area of responsibility. Council was advised while on a tour of the City that Mr. Henry was responsible for the maintenance of the Cariellie Park and paid EC$ 4,000.00 fortnightly. Council cognizant of the fact that the Cariellie Park is incomplete and still under construction and is the subject of a matter in court felt it necessary to regularize this situation.
It left Council with the question – What exactly were you being paid to clean?
Council is of the view that prudent management must be exercised over the resources of Castries City Council and that there must be value derived from its undertaking.
In the matter of Thomas Haynes; contractual arrangements were at a cost of EC$ 11,460.00 fortnightly for the cleaning of the market, the arcade and the Marchand Market with an addition EC $ 500.00 added whenever pressure washing was done, using water the expense for which had to be covered by the Council.
The former Minister was quick to mention in his statement that Mr. Haynes injury as having being caused on the job. However, investigations suggest otherwise, as his injury was said to have been incurred as a result of carrying out work on his private vehicle.
As a recipient of this fort nightly sum, the facts are such that Council has been inundated with complaints from the market vendors on the conditions of the market and the vendors arcade not to mention the Marchand Market and that Council had for itself had a firsthand view of what was being expressed by the market vendors.
It begs the question that how could a bed ridden individual carryout the required supervision of a contract for the last four years, yet he has a contract for an additional 5years, to the extent that council - at a cost to Council had to undertake additional sanitary works at the market for which he was paid to do.
While there is merit in acknowledging the individual condition, there is greater merit in bringing to light, that as the former Minister he did not find it fitting to arrange some level of compensation to Mr. Haynes under his tenure rather chooses to pass the onus on the current Board of Council.
Additionally, this current Council inherited an arrangement that was agreed upon by previous Boards and the unions; these arrangements acted as a measure to cushion the effects from the reorganization of the sanitation department. This agreement forwarded and encouraged former workers to form themselves into small business. These small businesses would in turn be contracted by council to carry out the sanitary services for the Council.
Council’s investigations of this arrangement has revealed that contracts issued in September 2011 were made between individuals - in 90% of the cases, rather than with small business entities. However the investigation revealed that the respective partners had no knowledge whatsoever or ever benefited from these arrangements as in the case of a particular business performing the services and the payment is being made to another individual at a rate of at a rate of EC$5,310.00 fortnightly.
Such action defeats the original intent on the previous arrangement and brings into focus whether such action were intentionally designed to benefit specific individuals.
Council’s investigations also revealed that contracts were being issued to persons who council could not identify and in some cases who were otherwise employed in other companies in the private sector. This approach speaks negatively as the strategy to create employment deprived the unemployed of an employment opportunity.
In the case of Castries Central - of the 33 contracts inherited and reviewed by council only 5 are related to Castries Central valued at EC $ 35,090.00 fortnightly. Council in its exercise of prudent management have restructured the current arrangement and issued 9 contracts using the same resources covering a wider area. This action has not only increased the number of persons employed from 25 to an estimated 45 and has provided the Central Castries area with a wider coverage of services by council.
Council’s actions seek to address the waste and mismanagement of the Castries City Council. No longer can Council continue along a path where documentation to support council’s commitments are missing or are not well constructed leaving room for potential fraudulent action; nor should Council endeavor to cast a blind eye to the inefficient use of the resources at its disposal.
In every case of the restructuring process, the Board has paid specific attention to the details of all contracts to ensure accountability and value. Councils Commitments to it constituents must be directed to bringing true benefit from it services. To this end the Council strives to ensure that there is no waste of resources, accountability of persons employed and efficient operations.
Human Resource Issues
A number of human resource issues also are being addressed. The Council also identified that there were a number of persons on temporary employment within the council that had been brought in for six month periods under the SSDF/Hope and NSDC projects. These persons after the completion of the six month programme continued in the employment of CCC for over 18 months. To regularize this situation, where some persons could have been kept on staff their temporary employment was terminated and they were reinstated in full time positions at the CCC after receiving good performance appraisals from the supervisors. Unfortunately not all could have been kept on due to poor performance and issues relating to high absenteeism. It is as a result of this persons such as Miss. Charmaine Ceasar and Mr. Matyr had their temporary employment terminated by the CCC.
Date June 6th , 2012
The National Initiative to Create Employment (NICE) will be officially launched on Thursday June 14, 2012 at the National Skills Development Centre Vieux-Fort at 10:30 am.
The launching of NICE is consistent with the Government’s commitment to move swiftly to address the island’s unemployment crisis. The launch marks the implementation of the measures announced by Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, during the presentation of the 2012/2013 Budget.
The ceremony will feature addresses by the Prime Minister, Hon. Philip J Pierre, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Port Services as well as the Director of NICE, Mr. Perry Thomas who will give further details on the activities to be undertaken by the programme.
It is expected that the first batch of persons who have gained employment under the programme will be in attendance.
BY SIR HILARY BECKLES | FRI, JUNE 01, 2012 - 12:03 AM
I return, finally, to the metaphoric images society constructs around West Indian cricket captains.
Recent comments from former captains about the role and function of captain Darren Sammy have provoked this reflection.
Jimmy Adams spoke eloquently while offering his support of the skipper.
Adams’ intervention rests upon an image society holds of him; he is “Jimmy The Gent”, a social perception rooted in reason.
Courtney Walsh also spoke in support.
Everywhere the image of captain Walsh is uniform; he is “Ambassador Walsh”.
These are interesting images, forged in the imagination of a Caribbean public that scrutinizes actions and ideas, methods and manners.
Society has also settled, finally, upon captain Chanderpaul. For a fleeting moment he was on the road to being more Saul than Paul, but after a trip to Delhi he paused, rediscovered his cause, and is now canonized as St Paul, philosopher king of the crease, patron saint of stamina and the spirit of sustainability.
Sarwan’s sojourn as captain has been a flash in the pan, not long enough for image formation, but his semester in Leicester has reopened the discourse to the imagination.
And finally, there is the rapidly emerging image of captain Sammy. Series after series, and match after match, we hear of Sammy as the Samson of West Indies cricket, a man whose strength is seen, respected and celebrated.
While George Headley had attracted the image of “Atlas” for carrying the West Indies team on his back for near two decades after 1929, Sammy’s enormous mental power and physical stamina have set him apart as the Samson figure who dwarfs those he has succeeded.
It required no academic ammunition to theorize why in the first place Sammy was chosen for the role of leader.
He was neither a star batsman nor a star bowler. His performance with bat and ball was indeed nothing to shout about. But there was something else, more important at the moment, more valuable than Guyana gold, that was required.
It was the mind of a leader within the context of West Indian development. Sammy’s mind and mentality were more valuable than any runs or wickets.
The ship needed an admiral. Both the diligent and the negligent could see that it was a masterstroke in strategic planning, an indigenous stroke, so to speak, that confirms our ability to think beyond the noise on the surface.
The heart and mind of West Indies cricket were in need of rebuilding. The image of the captaincy and the intellectual values that supported it had fallen to such a low level that the world feared for the sustainability of the magnificent thing called West Indies cricket.
The decline of the development mind that had hitherto characterized the West Indies game, forged in the fires of Babylon, had resulted in the worst display of backwardness imaginable in the islands.
A team, once the world standard for professionalism, became a collection of supercool dudes, dumb and deaf to reason, and easily defeated in two days of the allotted five. The enterprise of West Indies cricket had crashed.
It was out of this depth of leadership despair, following the abandonment of ship on the Bangledesh tour, that the Reifer-Sammy paradigm emerged.
Reifer rose to the occasion and reconnected the image of the captaincy to its historic roots. Against Bangledesh and in South Africa, the contrast Reifer represented was striking. Sammy, his vice-captain, witnessed the wish for a return to sanity.
He took over the reins and continued with the project of rebuilding the image of the captaincy, restoring the values of leadership, and reconnecting to the heart and mind of West Indies cricket. The madness was arrested and put away.
Sammy the Samson has not looked back. He is the mighty warrior for professionalism, ambassador for leadership, and the symbol of a West Indies strategic reaction to decline and despair; all evidence that a mind is at work in the affairs of West Indies cricket.
It has been a successful counter-revolution. Full praise should be allocated first to the Reifer response.
Captain Sammy has removed the ship out of shallow, threatening waters, and taken it out on the high seas, pointing it in the direction of its highest destiny, the return to the glory from whence it came.
We are comforted in the commanding consciousness of Sammy. It is now for the skilled youngsters to shine with bat and ball so that when his role of leadership resurrection is completed he can walk away tall that he had answered the call.
• Sir Hilary Beckles is principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies and a WICB director.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister of External Affairs Honourable Alva Baptiste has ended weeks of speculation and formally announced the appointment of three (3) new Saint Lucian Ambassadors. Baptiste who had promised that the new Saint Lucia Labour Party Administration would adopt a positive and pragmatic approach to its foreign relations, had im...mediately upon assuming office, commissioned a foreign policy review under the chairmanship of distinguished former Prime Minister and International Relations Expert – Dr. Vaughan Lewis.
In charting a new international relations course for our country, the Government of Saint Lucia is pleased to announce new diplomatic postings for the United Nations, Canada and the French Overseas Departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana (Cayenne).
Ambassador Menissa Rambally has been appointed to the Post of Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York; and at only thirty-six years of age, she has been to almost every peak of political endeavour. Menissa Rambally rewrote the pages of Caribbean history when she was elected to the Saint Lucia Parliament on 23rd May 1997 at age 21: making her the youngest elected Member of Parliament throughout the English speaking Commonwealth in the 20th Century. Three years later at the turn of the century, she became the youngest person in contemporary Caribbean politics to hold full ministerial office, first presiding over the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation – and later the Ministry of Social Transformation.
Over the past five years Menissa Rambally worked full time in the wider Caribbean region as a Political Consultant and a social policy adviser on social programmes and initiatives. One of her celebrated achievements was overseeing the creation of a system of Local Government in Barbados that resulted in the setting up of Constituency Councils across the island. Ms Rambally is the holder of a BSc in Business Administration.
The new head of Saint Lucia’s Diplomatic Mission in Canada is Consul General Michael Willius. The holder of a BSc. in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, Michael Willius is an accomplished and experienced management practitioner. He has held some very strategic positions in both the public service and statutory corporations including serving as an Agricultural Economist in the Ministry of Agriculture; Trading Manager (Saint Lucia), Caribbean Agricultural Trading Company; General Manager, Saint Lucia Marketing Board; Managing Director, Packaging Solutions Ltd.; and Chief Executive Officer, (Saint Lucia) Free Zone Management Authority.
Michael Willius has also served as President of the Rotary Club of Saint Lucia South; President of the Saint Lucia Industrial and Small Business Association (SLISBA); a Director of the National Development Corporation; a Director of Windward & Leeward Brewery Ltd.; a Director of the Free Zone Management Authority; Chairman of the Southern Tourism Development Corporation; and Chairman of the Southern Development Corporation.
And the new face of Saint Lucia’s Foreign Mission to the French Overseas Departments of Martinique, Guadeloupe and French Guiana (based in Martinique); is Consul General Yasmine Walcott. Ms. Walcott is the holder of an undergraduate degree in Public and Private Law, a Bachelor’s degree in International Law, a Master’s degree in International Law and a Diploma in International Public Administration, with all these studies done in France. Ms. Walcott has served Saint Lucia in a multiplicity of positions.
She represented Saint Lucia proudly at the Miss World beauty pageant in South Africa in 1994 and she was the Managing Director of Executive Club Caribbean Ltd. She has also served as Marketing Officer of the Saint Lucia Tourist Board both in Atlanta Georgia and Saint Lucia, as well as a Project Officer with the Office of Private Sector Relations (OPSR) and the National Authorizing Office (NAO). Yasmine Walcott has also held the positions of Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Council, Project Manager at Almond Smugglers Cove; Public Relations Officer at Sandals Regency and Teacher at Saint Joseph’s Convent.
As the new Saint Lucian diplomats assume their roles with a mandate to explore new frontiers of opportunity for our development; the Government of Saint Lucia also wishes to thank former UN Ambassador Dr. Donatus Keith St. Aimee, former Consul General to Canada Stephen Julien, and former Consul General to Martinique Keats Compton; for their services to our country, and we wish them well in their future endeavours.
Source: Ministry of External Affairs:468-4501
Attached is a keynote speech delivered by the Political Leader at the Annual Conference of the St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, held on May 20 2012, at the Grand Ballroom of the St Kitts Marriott Resort. This was on the occasion of our sister party's 80th Anniversary.