On Tuesday evening, as I was heading out of my office, the STAR’s managing director asked what I planned to do with the rest of my evening. “Watch more of the depressing news and the political silliness,” I half-jokingly responded. Little did I know what awaited me courtesy of CHOICE TV; certainly it was nothing short of embarrassing. The news item that almost emptied my stomach just after an enjoyable supper featured the MP for Castries East Phillip J Pierre calling out the UWP candidate for Anse-la-Raye/Canaries, whom he referred to as “Guyanese-born Dominic Fedee”.His arms swinging in the much ridiculed fashion of Bernie Sanders, the Castries East MP denounced Fedee, seemingly on the basis that he was already proving a liar despite that he had not yet won a parliamentary seat. Did the MP realize what he was saying?
According to Pierre and the SLP’s Castries Central MP Stanley Felix, it was impossible to empathize with, or have sympathy for, Saint Lucians without being fluent in Creole. But that was only the smelly lid of the garbage can. Pierre went on to suggest brains and intelligence resided only in the heads of tall people, not in individuals below five feet six inches. Obviously he forgot Romanus Lansiquot stood well below six feet and was known throughout his career as the country’s hardest working MP until Pierre replaced him in East Castries in 1997.
Pierre also forgot his SLP colleague and current MP for Anse-la-Raye/Canaries, Desmond Long, is probably a bit shorter than Dominic Fedee. Then again, maybe Pierre was delivering a disguised reason for Long’s decision not to contest the next general elections. Long had declared himself unable to deliver the goods he promised the folks in Canaries and Anse-la-Raye. Was Pierre saying Long’s inability was rooted in his lack of height?
Commenting on the Guyanese reference, local businessman Lokesh Singh, the leader of the Saint Lucia Guyana Association, said: “Why would one go out of their way to remind people where one is from and make such a statement at a time when we are promoting CARICOM and the free movement of people? In the spirit of Caribbean unity we should not be branding anybody.”
Singh was asked whether the MP’s statements suggested an official attitude toward Guyanese, despite his association’s efforts against prejudice based on race or place of origin. He said: “On the question of insularity, it has matured, but it hasn’t gone away. It is still there and sometimes we are reminded of it by such instances. But we have earned our space and we just want to play our part in that space. Whether it is us as a community or the Jamaicans as a community, we have been talking about One Caribbean for the past forty years and we need to recognize that!”
Ironically, one of Pierre’s dearest friends was the deceased publisher of Vision magazine, Tony Austin. The two were almost inseparable, despite that Austin was Guyanese and hardly a