Why is bad news good news for Kenny?

Can St Lucia afford another expensive stewardship of Kenny Anthony?

Anyone who knows not the difference between giving and receiving service is obviously not fit to lead.  No one better epitomizes that all-important difference than Kenny Anthony, who was given two terms in office by the people of this country—from 1997 to 2006—and squandered a record mandate.
It is obvious that he treated the office of Prime Minister as an entitlement based solely on academic achievements.  But the job of prime minister is a responsibility that requires much more than academic achievements. It also demands demonstrated empathy for others less fortunate, selflessness, humility, a sense of fairness that ensures every person gets his or her due, tolerance for opposing viewpoints, and integrity.
Undeniably, the incumbent Prime Minister Stephenson King has had our country’s affairs in an economic climate earlier unimagined. This is so obvious that it hardly bears pointing out. But consistently Kenny Anthony has refused to acknowledge the truth. Additionally, the untimely passing of Sir John Compton brought with it political uncertainty that for a time threatened the government’s existence. The King administration, to the obvious disappointment of the opposition, survived internecine strife that at times threatened an early return to the polls. Somehow the new leader not only weathered the storm but he quickly restored his government to relative stability.
In the most difficult economic times since the Depression, Saint Lucia realized last year GDP growth of just over four percent—the only positive growth in the OECS barring Dominica, which experienced marginal growth of less than one percent. St Lucia is now the largest economy in the OECS. Perhaps even more significant, the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio was the lowest in the OECS and remains at prudential levels.
During a recent interview on Choice TV’s Timothy Poleon, the wannabe leader of the Labour Party Ernest Hilaire actually acknowledged that the government’s economic record in the current circumstances was deserving of respect. Of course it would be untrue to say all is well in fair Helen when youth unemployment is at its highest. But this sorry situation is hardly unique to St Lucia. Major industrialized countries are enduring the same setbacks. More government borrowing money to pay wages under a resurrected STEP programme, the opposition’s solution to the unemployment problem, will not cut it. We need to make the education of our young people more relevant to modern-day needs—not a quick fixes. We need sustainable economic
growth to absorb more people into real jobs, something this
government is beginning to demonstrate.
But Dr Kenny Anthony, rather than recognize the indisputable fact of economic growth over the last year and the country’s prudential levels of public debt, in a recent televised address to the nation was explicitly and implicitly impugning the integrity of public servants in the Ministry of Finance, and the ECCB who together with the World Bank have accepted the figures. Now why would a former Prime Minister deny what is obviously encouraging news for his country? Bearing in mind it is the season of elections, he might have attempted to qualify the nature of the growth: for example, that it was perhaps not as widely felt as it could have been, and why. Instead he chose the despicable route of attempting to kill by misrepresentation what little hope the good news offered, as if already our people were not sufficiently depressed about the gloomy global economic outlook.  Why must Kenny Anthony always treat bad news for Saint Lucia as good news?  Dr Kenny Anthony’s attitude is symptomatic of an individual who cares more about being in the chair of the Prime Minister than with the advancement of his country. And there is more, lest we forget:  he is the same individual who initiated and brought into law biometric ID cards to include the holder’s fingerprints, yet when this UWP government moved to implement it he called for civil disobedience on the grounds it was an infringement of civil liberties.
Dr Anthony had shown early selfish signs that his political ambitions were less important to him than were the best interest of the Labour Party. Sadly, obsequious deputies ignored the writing on the wall. I speak here of the changes to the party’s constitution that now permits Anthony to be leader for life.
And there was this—one of the most egregious acts of a sitting Prime Minister which must not be laid to rest until there is demonstrable contrition:
he misled the House and succeeded in securing a loan to  honour a guarantee to
a construction company called Rochamel, details of which not even his Cabinet colleagues knew about.  Of course a commission of inquiry had the final say: guilty of maladministration irrecoverably costing the country and people
of St Lucia millions of dollars. Frequent reference to this Rochamel story
may be inconvenient for some but the gravity of such an act by a Minister of Finance is enough to disqualify him from holding that position ever again. For his nine years of financial mismanagement of the country’s affairs,
Dr Kenny Anthony
needs to be kept on remand on the opposition benches for at least another nine years.
The years ahead are clearly going to be very trying times for St Lucia.  At the very least the people of this country needs to come together with a common purpose, if we are to weather the economic storms ahead. Important as is government, it cannot by itself solve all the problems of this country. We the people have to lend a hand in the effort to save ourselves. What we don’t need and cannot afford, especially at this time, is a polarizing figure whose main interest is personal power at all cost.
Despite the world economic climate, Stephenson King has kept our country’s head above water.
Whatever his faults, he has never been the polarizing figure that is Dr Kenny Anthony—a fact that the last mentioned continues to demonstrate with nearly every appearance, whether in old TV  footage or live broadcasts. What is always present is his anger, his rage, his characteristic arrogance. His threatening finger-pointing at those who oppose him has become a trademark.
Dr Kenny Anthony had his chance over two terms in relatively calm
economic times and he blew it. His stewardship proved most expensive
to the people of St Lucia, in ways other than just economic. The St Lucia Labour Party chose gamble on his record, regardless. I suspect they are about to reap another blue Monday next week!

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