Behind every successful man is a good woman” may well be the most used of adages but for more than five decades Flora Marie Cenac Jn. Baptiste, epitomized this. And she did so with such quiet dignity that it was easy to overlook her immense contribution.
A deeply religious woman of the Catholic faith from her early years, Aunty Flora, as she was best known, treated everyone with kindness and a sense of caring which made her almost universally loved. Even her plants were not spared her attention and it was not unusual to hear her whispering to them lovingly.
When in 1952 she took her vows of marriage with a young Winston Cenac she could not have imagined how tested her resolve would be. Aunty Flora saw marriage not simply as a union between a man and woman but instead as a union between two spirits.
Still she would have been among the most shocked of individuals when, in 1979, her husband decided to contest the Soufriere/Fond St. Jacques constituency on behalf of the Saint Lucia Labour Party. Though she was never enamoured with political life, the dutiful wife not only supported her husband’s candidacy but immersed herself in his campaign in a way few of her friends could have imagined. Indeed, it was not unusual to see her actively campaigning for her husband who eventually emerged victorious.
Before Aunty Flora could resettle into her quiet life, following the election a split in the Labour Party government thrust her even more into the limelight, which she neither sought nor welcomed: following the resignation of Prime Minister Allen Louisy, her husband Winston was sworn in as Prime Minister and head of a fractured government. It is doubtful that Winston Cenac could have survived the succeeding months without Aunty Flora’s calm assurance and constant love. Even as those around her were losing their heads, Aunty Flora remained calm and serene. The Saint Lucia Labour Party has no doubt that when the history of these turbulent times is eventually properly documented, Aunty Flora will emerge as one of the period’s unsung heroes.
Predeceased by her husband, Aunty Flora remained a constant source of love to her family and friends for the next decade until her passing at the ripe age of 92. On behalf of a grateful Party, we extend deepest condolences to her family, immediate and extended, and to her close friends who will all miss her.
The Labour Party has lost a great friend.