By all means, give jack his jacket. He set out to catch the Saint Lucia electorate with its collective pants down—yes, yellow and red!—and that he did. It remains now for him to carry out what usually happens to folks with their heads buried in the sand and their naked behinds up in the air, effectively begging for it. True, for several days now there had been hints and allegations. Most interested Saint Lucians anticipated an election announcement at “any time.” But not in their wildest dreams did the vast majority expect to go to the polls in two weeks. Not even Stephenson King’s televised confident announcement from his United Workers Party last Sunday, that the election had been set for July 27, had prepared them for what came down on Thursday evening.
In any event, this was how our omniscient Senate President, garbed in party chairman’s hat and gloating, explained via Facebook what many had heard but could not trust their ears: “While they were busy maligning us, we in Labour take our roles seriously. So when I was given the honour of being a member of the electoral commission I took my responsibility seriously and read. And read. And read.
“Caught with their pants down [there we have it!] by the PM’s announcement the UWP is claiming Kenny Anthony broke the law, as the law requires 21 days’ notice of an election.”
With obvious authority he painstakingly explained the relevant law: “For the purposes of every general election of members of the House, and for the purposes of the election of members to fill vacancies in the House caused by death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor General shall issue writs under the Public Seal of the State, addressed to the returning officers of the respective electoral districts for which members are to be returned. Such writs shall be forwarded to the Commission for transmission to the several returning officers.
“Every writ shall be in the form set out as Form 1 in Schedule 3 and shall specify the day of the nomination of candidates being not less than 7 and not more than 14 days after the day of the issue of the writ, the day upon which, if necessary, the poll shall be taken, being not more than 14 days after the day of the nomination of candidates; the day the writ is returnable to the Governor General being not more than 7 days after the polling day.
“Upon receipt of such writ every returning officer shall proceed to hold the election in the manner hereinafter provided.”
Like a school principal chastising a special-needs classroom, he asked rhetorically: “Does not the law say a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 28 days? Where does it say a minimum of 21 days?”
As far as he, the chairman. and his party were concerned the most important factor was “We REDy”—conceivably the slogan that will replace En Rouge. Whether the rest of the nation was prepared had nothing to do with the REDy set.
Shortly after the prime minister delivered his televised announcement (one cannot say for certain whether it was a live or pre-recorded broadcast) I proceeded with the evening’s TALK on DBS. My preamble centered on the fact that Saint Lucians, their unprotected red and yellow butts in the air, had once again been well and truly shafted. After all, whatever the result of the June 6 elections, we as a nation remain without the answers that might’ve made for informed Polling Day decisions.
Whether the next prime minister turns out to be the same old same old; or Ernest Hilaire; or Allen Chastanet, we still will have to deal with IMPACS and its consequences. Despite Thursday evening’s promises (referred to by the party leader as “the 15 pledges”) of more roads, more jobs, more hotels and other wonders to come; despite the voodoo proclamations of a new dawn—most of them heard before, over and over and over—there will be the long ignored realities of a busted justice system; a police force reduced by now almost to rabble status; Grynberg and a people on the verge of explosion. Bottom line, Saint Lucians will be expecting more of the same, never mind the attempts at mass distraction.
If for some a Chastanet victory holds out hope, well, we’ve still not learned how to pay our mortgages and other commitments with hope bills.
A record number of callers to Thursday’s TALK underscored the clash of election and CXE dates and other related concerns. Many pointed to the fact that the elections involved the numbers 666—the mark of the beast, according to believers: they explained with meticulous care that polling day would fall on the 6th day of the 6th month of the year 2016. And in that coincidence many saw The Beast.
Alas, for many the devil has held sway in Saint Lucia for some time and chances are we’ve all grown accustomed to catching hell. Silly? Sure it is. Then again, that’s what the Silly Season is all about!