LONG LIVE HYPOCRISY!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Justin T. Charles

The Voice news­pa­per’s ed­i­to­rial of Satur­day 22 Oc­to­ber 2016 proved our abil­ity to tol­er­ate and or pro­mote hypocrisy. The ref­er­enced ed­i­to­rial ac­knowl­edged its con­spir­a­to­rial si­lence while it ob­served a pub­lic ser­vant, Saint Lu­cia’s for­mer At­tor­ney Gen­eral, Ms Kim St. Rose, pub­licly hounded and ha­rangued by Messrs Guy May­ers, Guy Joseph, and most sig­nif­i­cantly Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet.

The ed­i­to­rial pre­ten­tiously sug­gests that the for­mer Saint Lu­cia Labour Party ad­min­is­tra­tion has pro­vided no log­i­cal ex­pla­na­tion as to how we ar­rived at a sit­u­a­tion where we had an At­tor­ney Gen­eral that the United Work­ers Party ad­min­is­tra­tion could not trust. Given that the ha­rass­ment of Ms St. Rose was very pub­lic and her tor­men­tors mak­ing no se­cret of their rea­son­ing, the ed­i­to­rial’s sug­ges­tion is con­temp­tu­ous. It is a mat­ter of record that the pro­fessed rea­son for their mis­trust is be­cause she deigned to dis­charge her pub­lic duty and that she was ap­pointed dur­ing the term of the Saint Lu­cia Labour Party’s ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The ed­i­to­rial re­peated the al­ready de­bunked lie told by the Prime Min­is­ter, that Ms St. Rose re­ceived a con­tract on the eve of the gen­eral elec­tions. For read­ers’ con­ve­nience, Ms St. Rose’s con­tract was re­newed in Jan­uary of 2015, a full 18 months prior to the gen­eral elec­tions held in June 2016, and more than two years prior to the con­sti­tu­tional due date for elec­tions. So, while it is un­true that Ms St. Rose’s con­tract was re­newed on the eve of the gen­eral elec­tions, what would have been the prob­lem if that were in­deed the case? Noth­ing!

Ms Kim St. Rose was em­ployed in ac­cor­dance with Sec­tion 72 (2) of the Saint Lu­cia Con­sti­tu­tion as a pub­lic of­fice and not as a Min­is­ter or po­lit­i­cal of­fice. Elec­tions and pol­i­tics ought not to have any­thing to do with the tim­ing of ap­point­ments of pub­lic ser­vants. To make one con­tin­gent on the other is to politi­cise the ap­point­ment and hence the pub­lic ser­vice; some­thing I be­lieve or imag­ine the ed­i­tor, be­ing an hon­ourable mem­ber of the Fourth Es­tate, would frown upon. In fact, the Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion that made the rec­om­men­da­tion to the Ju­di­cial and Le­gal Ser­vices Com­mis­sion for Ms St. Rose’s ap­point­ment has as its con­sti­tu­tional rai­son d’etre, the pro­tec­tion of pub­lic of­fices from par­ti­san po­lit­i­cal in­tru­sions. There­fore, no ar­ro­gance or reck­less­ness could or should be in­ferred from the tim­ing of the re-ap­point­ment of Ms St. Rose.

The ed­i­to­rial fairly chal­lenges the Leader of the Op­po­si­tion to ex­plain why his party is in op­po­si­tion if they pro­vided the coun­try with good gov­er­nance. How­ever, the ed­i­to­rial un­fairly, if not hyp­o­crit­i­cally, gives an ap­prov­ing nod to the Prime Min­is­ter for work on con­sti­tu­tional re­form. Mr. Chas­tanet re­ceived a wink be­cause he was able to re­move a pub­lic of­fice At­tor­ney Gen­eral and re­place her with the in­con­gru­ence or con­tra­dic­tion of a po­lit­i­cal-pub­lic At­tor­ney Gen­eral. We are ex­pected to cheer the ma­tu­rity of a Prime Min­is­ter who as­serts that Kim St. Rose whom he and his Cabi­net could not trust to serve as the gov­ern­ment’s prin­ci­pal le­gal ad­viser, could now serve as his ad­viser on mat­ters re­lated to the con­sti­tu­tion - the supreme law of the land.

The ed­i­to­rial unashamedly calls it cor­rup­tion when politi­cians en­gage in the prac­tice of us­ing state re­sources “to buy sup­port or pa­tron­age or to put the cronies in po­si­tions of power and in­flu­ence where their main al­le­giance seems to be to those who ap­pointed them,” yet ap­pears to cel­e­brate the Prime Min­is­ter for en­gag­ing in that very prac­tice in his mode of ap­point­ing the new At­tor­ney Gen­eral.

Hypocrisy is dead; long live hypocrisy.

The con­tro­versy con­tin­ues: Should the Chas­tanet ad­min­is­tra­tion have re­tained Kim St. Rose as at­tor­ney gen­eral?

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