KENNY AN­NOUNCES ELEC­TION 666

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

By all means, give jack his jacket. He set out to catch the Saint Lu­cia elec­torate with its col­lec­tive pants down— yes, yel­low and red!—and that he did. It re­mains now for him to carry out what usu­ally hap­pens to folks with their heads buried in the sand and their naked be­hinds up in the air, ef­fec­tively beg­ging for it.

True, for sev­eral days now there had been hints and al­le­ga­tions. Most in­ter­ested Saint Lu­cians an­tic­i­pated an elec­tion an­nounce­ment at “any time.” But not in their wildest dreams did the vast ma­jor­ity ex­pect to go to the polls in two weeks. Not even Stephen­son King’s tele­vised con­fi­dent an­nounce­ment from his United Work­ers Party last Sun­day, that the elec­tion had been set for July 27, had pre­pared them for what came down on Thurs­day evening.

In any event, this was how our om­ni­scient Se­nate Pres­i­dent, garbed in party chair­man’s hat and gloat­ing, ex­plained via Facebook what many had heard but could not trust their ears: “While they were busy ma­lign­ing us, we in Labour take our roles se­ri­ously. So when I was given the honour of be­ing a mem­ber of the elec­toral com­mis­sion I took my re­spon­si­bil­ity se­ri­ously and read. And read. And read.

“Caught with their pants down [there we have it!] by the PM’s an­nounce­ment the UWP is claim­ing Kenny An­thony broke the law, as the law re­quires 21 days’ no­tice of an elec­tion.”

With ob­vi­ous au­thor­ity he painstak­ingly ex­plained the rel­e­vant law: “For the pur­poses of ev­ery gen­eral elec­tion of mem­bers of the House, and for the pur­poses of the elec­tion of mem­bers to fill va­can­cies in the House caused by death, res­ig­na­tion or oth­er­wise, the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral shall is­sue writs un­der the Pub­lic Seal of the State, ad­dressed to the re­turn­ing of­fi­cers of the re­spec­tive elec­toral districts for which mem­bers are to be re­turned. Such writs shall be for­warded to the Com­mis­sion for trans­mis­sion to the sev­eral re­turn­ing of­fi­cers.

“Ev­ery writ shall be in the form set out as Form 1 in Sched­ule 3 and shall spec­ify the day of the nom­i­na­tion of can­di­dates be­ing not less than 7 and not more than 14 days af­ter the day of the is­sue of the writ, the day upon which, if nec­es­sary, the poll shall be taken, be­ing not more than 14 days af­ter the day of the nom­i­na­tion of can­di­dates; the day the writ is re­turn­able to the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral be­ing not more than 7 days af­ter the polling day.

“Upon re­ceipt of such writ ev­ery re­turn­ing of­fi­cer shall pro­ceed to hold the elec­tion in the man­ner here­inafter pro­vided.”

Like a school prin­ci­pal chastis­ing a spe­cial-needs class­room, he asked rhetor­i­cally: “Does not the law say a min­i­mum of 14 days and a max­i­mum of 28 days? Where does it say a min­i­mum of 21 days?”

As far as he, the chair­man. and his party were con­cerned the most im­por­tant fac­tor was “We Redy”—con­ceiv­ably the slo­gan that will re­place En Rouge. Whether the rest of the na­tion was pre­pared had noth­ing to do with the REDy set.

Shortly af­ter the prime min­is­ter de­liv­ered his tele­vised an­nounce­ment (one cannot say for cer­tain whether it was a live or pre-recorded broad­cast) I pro­ceeded with the evening’s

TALK on DBS. My pre­am­ble cen­tered on the fact that Saint Lu­cians, their un­pro­tected red and yel­low butts in the air, had once again been well and truly shafted. Af­ter all, what­ever the re­sult of the June 6 elec­tions, we as a na­tion re­main with­out the an­swers that might’ve made for in­formed Polling Day de­ci­sions.

Whether the next prime min­is­ter turns out to be the same old same old; or Ernest Hi­laire; or Allen Chas­tanet, we still will have to deal with IMPACS and its con­se­quences. De­spite Thurs­day evening’s prom­ises (re­ferred to by the party leader as “the 15 pledges”) of more roads, more jobs, more ho­tels and other won­ders to come; de­spite the voodoo procla­ma­tions of a new dawn—most of them heard be­fore, over and over and over—there will be the long ig­nored re­al­i­ties of a busted jus­tice sys­tem; a po­lice force re­duced by now al­most to rab­ble sta­tus; Gryn­berg and a peo­ple on the verge of ex­plo­sion. Bot­tom line, Saint Lu­cians will be ex­pect­ing more of the same, never mind the at­tempts at mass dis­trac­tion.

If for some a Chas­tanet vic­tory

holds out hope, well, we’ve still not learned how to pay our mortgages and other com­mit­ments with hope bills.

A record num­ber of call­ers to Thurs­day’s TALK un­der­scored the clash of elec­tion and CXE dates and other re­lated con­cerns. Many pointed to the fact that the elec­tions in­volved the num­bers 666—the mark of the beast, ac­cord­ing to be­liev­ers: they ex­plained with metic­u­lous care that polling day would fall on the 6th day of the 6th month of the year 2016. And in that co­in­ci­dence many saw The Beast.

Alas, for many the devil has held sway in Saint Lu­cia for some time and chances are we’ve all grown ac­cus­tomed to catch­ing hell. Silly? Sure it is. Then again, that’s what the Silly Sea­son is all about!

The area out­side the Cas­tries mar­ket steps, the SLP’s main stage, was alive with the so ound of politi­cians hawk­ing milk and honey to come. A short time be­fore this pic­ture was taken party leader Kenny An­thony had an­nounced the most im­por­tant date on the is­land’s po­lit­i­cal cal­en­dar.

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