KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A leading strategist for the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) has some advice for sacked senator, Anesia Baptiste: go to court to test the constitutionality of the policy on religion her New Democratic Party (NDP) passed last week.
“Anesia Baptiste has to go just beyond words. She said that the policy of the New Democratic Party on the matter of speaking against religion is unconstitutional – that is, the national Constitution. She needs to go beyond that and bring a constitutional motion against the NDP,” ULP General Secretary, Sen. Julian Francis said on radio Wednesday night.
But Francis was only speaking tongue in cheek, agreeing with the programme host, lawyer Jomo Thomas that the issue of constitutionality arises when it relates to the actions of a government.
“Many people get up and say these things are unconstitutional but they never test it. … I think if she tests it and proves it, it will go a long way in helping her … But if she sits by and does absolutely nothing, and just continue to make this bland statement about it being unconstitutional, it won’t get her anywhere,” Francis further said.
“She can’t go out there and use that as an excuse saying it is unconstitutional and that’s why she is making this big hurrah about it,” Francis said.
Baptiste was a member of the ULP before she joined the NDP in 2009, after falling out of favour with the Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves-led ULP.
Baptiste said at a press conference Wednesday that NDP chair, Dr. Linton Lewis, told her that the Strategy Committee of the NDP — of which he is also a member — could not pass a policy it did last week.
Baptiste was “deliberate to flaw Linton Lewis or just to create some more bacchanal in the NDP,” Franis said.
“She is making it more difficult for Linton to get that senatorial appointment,” he added.
Francis also responded to Baptiste’s bashing of the NDP at her three-hour press briefing.
“There have been many persons who have gone publicly and chastised mass political parties, done a good job on the first outing and thereafter [failed],” he said.
“I heard Anesia Baptiste today that there is a lot of envy within the leadership of the party towards her because of the love of the people for her. … But the love of those can easily be turned when you are dealing with a mass party and foot soldiers — if your party is under threat…” he said.
He mentioned the example of Ken Boyea and Stalky John whose political careers ended after they fell out of favour with the ULP.