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 government. 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 writer of this article, Justin T. Charles is a contributor to the STAR Newspaper.