Francis Bros escape Kenny’s SLPlantation!

Only the other day my long-time friend was ranting on-air about his athletic prowess graciously passed on to an older sibling who—unlike Mr. Talent—had more than once medaled in various sports categories. Please don’t ask me how a father inherits from his son. Such imponderables are best reserved for realms inaccessible to common folk, such as I.

Since this 1998 press conference when this picture was taken, much dirty water has flowed under Saint Lucia’s most famous bridge!

Since this 1998 press conference when this picture was taken, much dirty water has flowed under Saint Lucia’s most famous bridge!

Now I call him “friend,” knowing only too well the red asses (short for red associates!) will be turning a shade of green at this point, desperately demanding that he explain how come I referred to him as my friend when he is expected to be lead among my advertised worst enemies—not to be confused with opponents and detractors, as unforgettably Sir John had pointed out!  The whole truth is I refer to him as my friend, instead of a whole bunch of not-so-sweet nuthins, with good reason, two of which I don’t mind revealing: to antagonize his political brethren, which affords me immeasurable perverse pleasure in these times of wall-to-wall depression; secondly, and by a long way more important: the man has connections to the high and mighty and I certainly wouldn’t want them passing, er, judgment on me!

I may appear to be all manner of things but dumb I’m not; regardless of what unwashed and unread redcoats might stupidly imagine. When a man can count among his best macocotes fearsome occupiers of the Bench, trust me, dear reader, you’d better grab every opportunity to label him “friend, wonderful, and supremely talented as an athlete.”

And while you’re at it, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in “super generous to older siblings!”  Ignore my advice at your own peril, Pilgrim.

And now that what looks like honey has been spread thick all over the place, here’s hoping the bugs don’t get their kalsons all in a twist and their little legs inextricably stuck to the disguised flypaper. In any event, as a certain no-nonsense House Speaker used to say, “we shall proceed!”

But first a question: Why all the fuss about the reported resignations of the blood brothers Petersen and Hermangild Francis? I mean, it’s not as if they had ever been chief cooks aboard the good ship SLP. Bottle washers on occasion, perhaps. But surely they never imagined that hanging with the boss around his various plantations rendered them more than plantation hands, did they? Or even friends with benefits!

More than once political sausages had been dangled within biting distance of Petersen’s nose, only to be snatched away in favor of someone else allegedly better pedigreed. Remember the candidate for Central Castries that ended up pulling a gun out of his shoe on a potential constituent? Petersen never would’ve been that stupid. But then little did Petersen know Stupid was precisely what the doctor ordered.

The word everywhere suggested he fully intended, when it was time to throw in his red towel and concentrate on his memoirs (never happen!), to hand over to Stupid. And I’m not talking about the London Hambassador! As if that were not bad enough, Petersen got run over a second time by a red bulldozer in favor of still another favored loser.  He hung in there, regardless. Why? He’ll tell you he’d been with the Labour Party longer than most and was not about to abandon ship just because of a loony captain head-over-heels in love with Stupid.

But that’s precisely what Petersen Francis has done. More than just quitting, however, he has applied for membership in Chastanet’s (at the moment, anyway!) UWP. Which leads to the obvious questions: Why would Petersen desert to contest the Castries Central constituency when already the UWP had fingered Petra Lambert for that special honor?

Why would even an independent Petersen want to run against a freshly-painted Richard Frederick, or even a Frederick returned to green, or his SLP double, and some turkey from the LPM? (BTW: does the L in LPM stand for long-distance?)  Big questions? Not really. In the first place it’s not written in concrete that Petra Lambert will be the UWP candidate come general elections. Any more than the now party leader will be the election-time party leader. Confused? Hey, you’re not alone. Also confused is the prime minister’s Vision Commission. Ditto the head of the Government’s Negotiating Team who imagines GNT is short for Gin ‘N’ Tonic!

Confusion is everywhere!

In any event, here’s the thing: Petersen has never told anyone he was saying good-bye to Kenny’s SLPlantation because he wants to be the UWP’s Central Castries candidate.

“That’s not why I left,” he assured me this week. “After all those years of toiling in the trenches for the Labour Party under Julian Hunte, when others persistently refused to lend a hand, I would not just pick up and leave because I was denied the opportunity to run the Castries seat, regardless of how many times.

“I left for more than one reason but here’s the main one: this is not the Labour Party of George Charles. It’s a fake. This party, under Kenny Anthony, has not only lost its way but it has also lost its morals.”

Whaaaat!

“You got that right,” he said calmly. “All his life George Charles worked for better wages and conditions for this country’s workers. His Labour Party was dedicated to their cause. His bust at the Vigie airport is supposed to be symbolic of his lifetime’s work on behalf of the working class. Otherwise, he’d have been portrayed in some cheap-ass three-piece suit. Instead, he is shirtless to remind all who stop by of what he stood for all his life. That’s what I mean when I say George Charles’ party has lost its way; has lost its compass; has lost its morals—and my respect!”

He paused to catch his breath: “I left because this thing that Kenny Anthony now controls is not the working man’s Labour Party of which I’d been a member for most of my life. What passes for the Labour Party today is in fact Kenny Anthony’s plaything. He grabbed control of the party from Julian Hunte, in an atmosphere laced with betrayal and treachery.”

He said he had not consulted his brother, the Senate President, before arriving at his decision. All he would add was: “Claudius respects my right to make my own decisions.” He denies knowing the reason or reasons for his brother Hermangild’s defection from the SLPlantation. On the other hand, it’s hardly a secret that more than once the former police commissioner had felt the harder end of Anthony’s boot—and its heel—when he’d been led to expect a slice of cake. But more on that next week.

Oh, but you also want to know where Claudius stands in all of this? Will the latest development result in family strife? Will the Senate Prez support his brothers should they find themselves opposite the SLP at election time? Like I said, more on that next time!

——Rick Wayne

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