PM says ‘We never abused Jeannine!”

Section 166, better known by its misnomer “the Abortion Bill,” was never popular with the United Workers Party. Not when the party was in opposition and obviously not now. It remains to be seen whether the Bill that was passed by the Kenny Anthony Government shortly before the 2006 general elections will remain on the statute books untouched by the Stephenson King government.
One thing for sure, the debate that preceded the passing of Section 166 is viewed by many as one of the most shameful in the recent history of parliament, and mainly because of the full-fronted attack by her colleagues on the one opposing member of the day’s government, former gender affairs minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun. Unforgettable was the shocking accusation by a fulminating then Prime Minister Kenny Anthony that under Flood-Beaubrun’s watch some 300 babies were aborted at Victoria Hospital. It later came to light that the then prime minister had misstated the facts.
As I say, while Section 166 remains on our statute books despite opposition by his party in 2006,  now Prime Minister King has obviously not forgotten the debacle that passed at the time for a House debate: at yesterday’s House meeting, March 8, King revisited the subject.
“I want to recognize the sole female in this Parliament in the person of the parliamentary representative for Micoud North,” he said, “a person who has followed in her father’s footsteps and who has presented herself to represent the people of  St Lucia within the party she thought, and still believes is the best organization to bring the level of quality representation to the people of St Lucia. We have given her the greatest dignity and the greatest honour and respect. And even when she didn’t wish to continue to align herself with the men on this side, we recognized her with respect. We never abused her, we didn’t castigate her, we didn’t for one moment inhibit her. We allowed her the independence of continuing to represent the people as she felt necessary. And that is the hallmark of this party, not to humiliate women if they stand up for what they believe!”
As the Prime Minister spoke other MPs on the government side could be heard over their microphones muttering the name of Sarah Flood-Beaurbun, now St Lucia’s Minister-Counsellor at the United Nations Mission.
At a press conference where she read out her statement of resignation from the United Workers party Jeannine Compton-Antoine said her decision was inspired by God. She added the UWP needed to do some internal reflection. A week later, in an interview with RCI’s Timothy Poleon, she said at heart she was UWP despite her recent problems with the party. More than once earlier she had also been critical of government decisions, much to the expressed pleasure of the opposition side. Was yesterday’s statement by the Prime Minister a hint of reproachment in the air? This, after all, is the silly season.

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