OLD LABOUR BOYS REBEL!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - FRONT PAGE - By Toni Ni­cholas

It was with the sound of dis­ap­point­ment that the SLP’s for­mer health min­is­ter ob­served dur­ing an ex­clu­sive STAR in­ter­view last Septem­ber that “our par­ties through­out Saint Lucia and the re­gion have not de­vel­oped an ethic re­lat­ing to the nur­tur­ing of tal­ent. When­ever it’s time for our lead­ers to make an exit we en­counter prob­lems.” Al­though he used the plu­ral, I sus­pected the al­ways ebul­lient Greaves was pri­mar­ily con­cerned about one party: his own.

For sev­eral years now a lec­turer at Gre­nada’s St. Ge­orges Univer­sity, Greaves told me last Septem­ber that the SLP un­der Kenny An­thony of­fered him lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for up­ward mo­bil­ity.

“There was never a con­scious and de­lib­er­ate ef­fort to nur­ture what­ever lead­er­ship skills I may have,” he said. Re­minded that the SLP had, in 2005, mod­i­fied its con­sti­tu­tion to ac­com­mo­date its leader’s am­bi­tions, Greaves ac­knowl­edged he had en­dorsed the mo­tion but had since had a change of heart.

“To­day I would not sup­port the change of the clause,” he said nearly a decade later. I am wed­ded now to the idea that peo­ple should not be prime min­is­ter for more than ten years. I would like our coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion to say so.”

On Tues­day this week Greaves called Newsspin, os­ten­si­bly to con­grat­u­late the SLP on its 65th an­niver­sary, to be ob­served this Sun­day (tomorrow). “But I also want to sug­gest we be­gin to go through some quiet in­tro­spec­tion with our peo­ple, with our supporters and well-wish­ers, to see what we have done. Also to see some of the things we may cut out of our DNA. I think it’s time we be­gin to en­gage in some strate­gic fore­sight be­cause I be­lieve that in some ways we are los­ing our way.”

He added: “I am speak­ing about peo­ple like my­self, peo­ple like Felix Fin­istiere, Fer­gu­son John, Cyprian Lan­siquot and oth­ers who may not be ac­tive in the party but are work­ing be­hind the scenes. Still we are left on the side­lines.”

Among the things he would like to see change: “Our phi­los­o­phy . . . how we choose peo­ple to fill po­si­tions . . . the party needs to look in­ward, to make changes to meet the fu­ture.”

He said if the party is to re­main rel­e­vant the “cur­rent crop” must en­gage the “old guard.”

Ref­er­enc­ing the party’s lead­er­ship he said: “Go­ing for­ward we need to look at our con­sti­tu­tion and how we do busi­ness in terms of the se­lec­tion of elec­tion can­di­dates. One of the things we must change is how we en­gage peo­ple, es­pe­cially the younger peo­ple.”

On Thurs­day it was Ti­mothy Man­gal’s turn to call Newsspin about the in­cum­bent SLP, on be­half of which he had con­tended un­suc­cess­fully in 2011 for the Cas­tries South East seat. He said he con­curred with much of what Damian Greaves had told Poleon.

“Let us look at the case of Cyprian Lan­siquot,” he said. “Yes, we are told Cyprian Lan­siquot is the chair­per­son of the Anse La Raye/Ca­naries Con­stituency group but his is a de­ci­sion that may not nec­es­sar­ily be in­flu­enced by the ex­ec­u­tive of the party. That po­si­tion is elected by the per­son on that par­tic­u­lar coun­cil or con­stituency group.”

He cited the case of for­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Fer­gu­son John: “He has been sick for over a year. I ask the ques­tion: Has any­one from the Labour Party vis­ited Fer­gu­son John? Has any­one from the ex­ec­u­tive of the SLP as­sisted him in any way?” Then there were oth­ers such as Ly­dia Har­racks­ing and Ubal­dus Ray­mond who Man­gal said ap­pear to have been for­got­ten by their party.

He seemed to drop an­other bomb­shell when he asked: “Is ev­ery­thing well be­tween the Labour Party and Dr. Long, the MP for Anse La Raye/Ca­naries?”

As for his own per­sonal re­la­tion­ship within the party, he said it was only this week, af­ter four years of next to no con­tact, that he was asked if he con­tin­ued to be in­ter­ested in bat­tling for the SLP against the UWP’s Guy Joseph. Man­gal claimed he and many other sol­diers of the SLP were also de­nied in­vi­ta­tions to gov­ern­ment func­tions.

“In re­la­tion to this an­niver­sary,” Man­gal went on, “I would ask the SLP to re­flect, just as Damian has sug­gested, on all th­ese per­sons who have served; whether there is good com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween them and the party; whether there are sup­port sys­tems for them . . .”

When Poleon asked if Man­gal had given up on elec­tive pol­i­tics, he sud­denly waxed diplo­matic. In th­ese harsh eco­nomic times, he replied, he needed to fo­cus on the sur­vival of his busi­ness. As for the gov­ern­ment’s per­for­mance over the last four years, Man­gal said they had done a “rel­a­tively good job” with tourism and the in­fra­struc­ture, fol­low­ing Hur­ri­cane To­mas and the Christ­mas Eve trough. How­ever the gov­ern­ment “could have done bet­ter in the ar­eas of health­care and hous­ing.”

For­mer Min­is­ter of Plan­ning Fer­gu­son John: The word is he is suf­fer­ing with diabetes, unas­sisted and un­vis­ited by his po­lit­i­cal

brethren.

For­mer health min­is­ter Damian Greaves: What mo­ti­vated his lat­est ad­vice to his party

lead­er­ship?

Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony: Does he eat

his own off­spring?

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