What’s good for the goose…

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

IToni Ni­cholas t would seem that when it comes to Saint Lu­cia, all men (and women) are cer­tainly not cre­ated equal, at least in the eyes of politi­cians. Take for in­stance the furore that has been cre­ated over the an­nounce­ment last year by Jeana Corneille of her in­ten­tion to par­take in ac­tive pol­i­tics. The as­pir­ing United Work­ers Party politi­cian has since been writ­ten to by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion for what the Com­mis­sion deemed a vi­o­la­tion of the Staff Or­ders.

Corneille is fac­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion by the Com­mis­sion for al­leged mis­con­duct stem­ming from a tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ance last year when she an­nounced her political as­pi­ra­tions. She is em­ployed with the Govern­ment In­for­ma­tion Ser­vice.

Ac­cord­ing to a let­ter ad­dressed to Corneille by the Com­mis­sion, she al­legedly pub­licly showed and/or in­di­cated her sup­port for the United Work­ers Party and/ or its rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Gros Islet Con­stituency. The Com­mis­sion went on to claim that dur­ing the said tele­vi­sion pro­gramme Corneille ex­pressed her in­ten­tion to vie for the UWP can­di­dacy in Gros Islet and to con­test the next Gen­eral Elec­tions here.

Corneille is fac­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion on five counts for breach­ing sec­tion 4.16 of the Staff Or­ders.

Staff Or­ders sec­tion 4.16 states that of­fi­cers are ex­pressly for­bid­den from en­gag­ing in party political ac­tiv­ity at any such time as (a) hold­ing of­fice or tak­ing part in any political or­ga­ni­za­tion; (c) writ­ing let­ters to the press, pub­lish­ing books or ar­ti­cles, cir­cu­lat­ing leaflets or pam­phlets or par­tic­i­pat­ing in ra­dio or tele­vi­sion broad­cast on political mat­ters; (d) can­vass­ing in sup­port of political par­ties or in any way pub­licly sup­port­ing or in­di­cat­ing sup­port for any political party or can­di­date.

How­ever, one has to won­der whether this rule ap­plies to all pub­lic of­fi­cers.

On Sun­day De­cem­ber 8th, 2015 dur­ing the cel­e­bra­tion of its 65th an­niver­sary in Vieux Fort, the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party in­tro­duced three new can­di­dates - one a school­teacher. Dur­ing his in­tro­duc­tion of the can­di­date, prime min­is­ter Kenny An­thony de­scribed him as “a most unique and un­usual in­di­vid­ual”.

“They call him Pharoah . . . he will do bat­tle for us in the con­stituency of Den­nery South and he will soon ter­mi­nate his em­ploy­ment with the teach­ing ser­vice so he could be­gin to wage war in Den­nery South,” pro­claimed Dr. An­thony.

Was there some­thing that ex­empted Jerome “Pharaoh” Gideon from re­sign­ing from the ser­vice be­fore declar­ing his can­di­dacy? And was there some­thing or some­one stand­ing in the way of the Com­mis­sion tak­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion for this clear vi­o­la­tion of the Staff Or­ders?

As I write, the Saint Lu­cia Civil Ser­vice As­so­ci­a­tion, of which Jeana Corneille is a mem­ber, is mount­ing a chal­lenge against the Staff Or­ders. Pres­i­dent of the CSA, Cle­tus Cyril, and Wil­fred Pierre, the Gen­eral Sec­re­tary, have de­cided to pose this chal­lenge based on their ob­ser­va­tion that the Staff Or­ders may be vi­o­lat­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion of Saint Lu­cia which grants ev­ery ci­ti­zen the right of as­so­ci­a­tion. This chal­lenge is sep­a­rate from the Corneille mat­ter which the CSA says it is mount­ing on be­half of all of its mem­bers who it be­lieves should feel free to par­tic­i­pate in ac­tive pol­i­tics.

Jeana Corneille will ap­pear be­fore the Com­mis­sion on Fe­bru­ary 11th, 2016 fol­low­ing an ini­tial hear­ing last week. Al­ber­ton Riche­lieu rep­re­sents her.

Jeana Corneille (left), a pub­lic ser­vant, is fac­ing dis­ci­plinary ac­tion by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion for al­legedly vi­o­lat­ing the Staff Or­ders. Jerome Gideon (right), on the other hand, was in­tro­duced as an SLP can­di­date in De­cem­ber be­fore

re­sign­ing his po­si­tion as a school teacher.

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