ST. VINCENT:- The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has appointed its public relations officer, lawyer Vynnette Frederick, and former civil servant Anesia Baptiste as its senators in the next Parliament, which begins today, Dec. 29.
Frederick and Baptiste, who are making their maiden entry into the senate, will be the only female senators in the Parliament.
They will take the respective oaths when Parliament reconvenes in Kingstown this afternoon.
Frederick lost in West St. George, 2064 votes to the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) Cecil ‘Ces’ McKie’s 2,487 votes, in the Dec. 13 general elections, in which both politicians made their entry into electoral politics.
Baptiste, a national scholar, is a former communications manager at the Ministry of Tourism.
She resigned from that position after the government earlier this year brought 16 charges against her for comments she made during the constitution referendum campaign last year.
Baptiste told I Witness-News that she was “pleased to have been considered and offered the privilege to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a senator.
“I agree with those who say they saw it coming and I am thankful for the confidence they expressed even before the offer was made to me,’ she said.
While Baptiste saw her appointment as “a natural progression” towards her dream of becoming the nation’s first female prime minister, she responded to person who say she is power hungry.
It’s a critique that is not based on true knowledge of my character over time and under different circumstances,” she said.
She added that persons might be misled by her response to attempts “to defame my reputation and that of the church and institute to which I belong.
“…I am not the first person to aspire to leadership, yet one does not usually hear the same critics accusing others, with similar aspirations, of being ‘power hungry,’” she added.
Baptiste told I Witness-News she was not limiting herself “to a certain area in terms of contribution in parliament”.
“I hope to use the opportunity to become very rounded in my understanding of how government works at all levels, building on my four consecutive years as a public servant,” she said.
“I do expect that from a party strategy point of view my strengths and talents will be considered for emphasis in certain areas which I will prefer not to mention here and now. It will be seen and heard,” she added.
Baptiste, 30, said that as young person and a woman, Vincentians can expect her “to be concerned about issues that affect those segments of the society as with any other issue of the people”.
She further said that her “philosophical outlook about governance will cause the Parliament of SVG to see a period where government is constantly reminded of the fact that the people we serve have inalienable/God-given rights and freedoms which ought to be protected, be it in work in social, economic or other affairs.
“I will be assessing everything in light of how it affects the people’s God-given and constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights and freedoms,” she said.
Baptiste said she will “emphasize the role of government as one of servant and not ‘gods’ and kings and look out for the general respect of the people.
“We need to change our politics in SVG and one of the things that must be addressed is the attitude of those in authority towards the governed. Government must understand that they hold the privilege of power only by the people’s consent and contempt from them is an abuse of authority and is unacceptable,” she said.
Baptiste promised to be “morally upright” and cited “godly examples in scripture of holy people rising to positions in government in the past.
“…I will help to endear the NDP further to the people of SVG and to help us form government the next time the opportunity comes for us to go to the polls,” she said.
I Witness-News was unsuccessful in its attempts to reach Frederick for a comment.
The ULP has appointed as its senators former minister of health and Member of Parliament for South Leeward Dr. Douglas Slater’ three-time senator and ULP general secretary Julian Francis, and former teacher Elvis Charles, who lost to the NDP’s St. Claire Leacock in Central Kingstown.