KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent — Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said he might on Monday comment further on his decision to fire senator Anesia Baptiste, just over a year after she was appointed and six months after he defended her appointment.
Eustace on Friday announced on radio that he had on Thursday instructed Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne to revoke the appointment of Baptiste, Assistant Secretary General of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP).
The dismissal of the 31-year-old senator, who had earlier fallen out of favour with the ruling Unity Labour Party, might be a major setback to her dreams of becoming the nation’s first woman prime minister.
“I want to make on behalf of the party a very brief statement this morning. And I will read, by way of that statement, a letter which I sent to His Excellency the Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne yesterday (Thursday) afternoon,” Eustace said Friday during a call to the NDP’s radio programme.
“… in accordance with Section 29 (2) of the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, I wish to advise Your Excellency to revoke forthwith the appointment of the Honourable Anesia Baptiste as a senator in the House of Assembly,¡¨ Eustace quoted his letter to the Governor General as saying.
“I do not intend to make any public comment on that matter right now — maybe perhaps on my programme Monday, DV, I will do so,” he further said.
Baptiste told the I-Witness News on Friday that she also learnt of the revocation of her appointment when Eustace telephoned the radio programme.
She said she was preparing for a scheduled appearance on the said programme when Eustace, who is also president of the NDP, read the letter on air.
“I found out via radio,” Baptiste said in an interview, adding that she had decided to wait on Eustace’s further comments before giving “any official response”.
Baptiste, however, said that she would say that she does not know why she was removed as a senator.
Asked “What was your relationship with the NDP like?” Baptise said:
“… Lest anything I say to a question like that, which might sound very general, be misconstrued in anyway and read into the current situation, I would prefer not to comment.”
Baptiste was appointed a senator when the NDP increased from four to seven the number of seats in Parliament after the December 2010 general election, the party¡¦s third consecutive electoral defeat.
She had been identified as the New Democratic Party’s candidate for West St. George in the next general elections — constitutionally due in 2015.
The revocation of her appointment comes six months after Eustace defended at the NDP’s convention the appointment as opposition senators Baptiste and lawyer Vynnette Frederick.
NDP chair Dr. Linton Lewis told a local newspaper that he was not consulted before the senators where appointments.
But Eustace told the 36th convention of the NDP in November that the party was doing things differently, adding that by appointing the women senators his party was “showing our confidence, not only in the young but [also] in the women of our party”.