Opposition Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste. (iWN file photo)

An opposition lawmaker says that the government’s handling of a cocktail reception last Friday to celebrate the ascension of Vincentian jurist Adrian Saunders to the presidency of the Caribbean Court of Justice, shows the state’s hypocrisy in calling for bi-partisan support of the court.

Senator Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said that “a real travesty” occurred when the state did not invite opposition lawmakers to the reception.

The government-organised and hosted cocktail took place at a hotel in Villa hours after the historic ceremonial sitting of the court in SVG.

At the sitting, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, citing a ruling of the Court of Appeal in St. Lucia, said that if he would receive opposition support, he would be willing to bring to the Vincentian Parliament a law replacing the London-based Privy Council with the CCJ as SVG’s highest court.

But Bacchus-Baptiste said on Boom FM on Monday that although she spoke at the sitting, at the special invitation of the CCJ, neither she nor opposition Leader Godwin Friday, who also attended the sitting, was invited to the cocktail reception.

“You are telling me there was no political interference [in the CCJ], you are telling me that right there, let us get the cooperation of the opposition, that’s what Ralph was saying, and then they send out invitations to a cocktail party sponsored by state funds and you select and deselect certain persons.

“You don’t invite me, you don’t invite the Leader of the Opposition and other NDP persons, you don’t invite them with state funds.

“And, let me tell you, I confronted the Attorney General on it. I said that this nonsense must stop. You must not play politics with state funds. He said to me, ‘Well, I did not make the list.’ But I sent it out so I have to accept,” said Bacchus-Baptiste, who is also a lawyer.

She said that she did not bother to ask the Attorney General, Jaundy Martin, who sent him the list of persons to invite “because it is clear that we know who sent the list”.

The senator, however, did not give a precise answer regarding who she thought prepared the list.

“I am going to leave it to the people to determine, because I am not going to speculate on the air. I am just saying that it is clear that it came from government and it came through the attorney general, printed invitations were sent out, and you know what was even strange to show that there was animus, there was design in it, they picked out Leacock and sent him an invitation.”

St. Clair Leacock, Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, is also an opposition lawmaker and vice-president of the New Democratic Party, of which Bacchus Baptiste is a member.

Bacchus-Baptiste further said: “Poor Leacock did not even know that the rest of us were not invited. They picked him out because they have a strategy to try to separate Leacock from the NDP.

“It will not work. Our Leacock will not do that, but it shows how desperate they are. He went, because he did not know that we were not invited…”

The senator said that the action of the government “is bad”.

“You are saying that you need the opposition and are showing that let’s all get together and join the CCJ, we will not interfere. And in a simple matter of a cocktail party, you would be so low and crass that you don’t invite the Leader of the Opposition, and you don’t invite me who was a foundation member of [sic] of Adrian Saunders, all through from high school, right through university; it was for him that I was asked by them (CCJ) to speak specially on this programme and you over look me but you did not over look Leacock.

“You picked out Leacock and sent him an invitation? St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we cannot accept this sort of behaviour from the ULP. That is your answer, right then and there. They show us how they intend to gerrymander, to get involved in the minutest of things in order to get their aims. It’s very poor; very, very poor.”

10 replies on “CCJ cocktail party shows SVG gov’t hypocrisy on court — Kay”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    The cocktail party is a minor issue though it points to the bigger issue.

    The main issue is the way the CCJ clearly politicized itself by even accepting an invitation to have a ceremonial sitting in SVG so as to support this government’s politically driven effort to abolish appeals to the Privy Council so as to gain more favorable appeal decisions from the CCJ which is why we should always shout NO, NO, NO to having this politicized court as our final court of appeal.

  2. C. ben-David says:

    It is hard to believe that Leacock didn’t know that other NDPers weren’t invited. What is easy to believe is that our lickrish people never turn down an offer of free food and drink.

  3. Elma Gabriel says:

    I am finding it hard to believe that “at the special invitation of the CCJ, neither she nor opposition Leader Godwin Friday, who also attended the sitting, was invited to the cocktail reception.” When are our leaders going to take the HIGH road effort in leading by example? I am sure that the segregation approach is unacceptable to what are the principles of our ethical Justice Adrian Saunders. Can’t we try to get along on even special occasions as this one?…….I am saddened.

  4. This is a classic case of who pays the piper calls the song. I failed to believe that major leacock had no advance knowledge that the opposition was not invited. Leacock is seen as a weak link in the chain and is likely to wink in any major crisis. Remember he said it took a miracle to build the Argyle International Airport. That line was repeatedly quoted by Boy Wonder. In other words I will not have too much of trust in the major.

  5. Vincy Lawyer says:

    Now who is dishonest? The relevant ministry has denounced Kay’s statements and has issued a press release which states that invites were in fact HAND delivered. I may be wrong but history makes me side with the Ministry on this until Counsel can show proof that they are lying. Political mischief???

    Tick tock…

    Side Note: Kenton, do you ever fact check? Its not a good look when you try to seem impartial. In your haste, is pie once again on your face???

    Res ipsa locquitor!!!

    Side Note 2: As a lawyer, I’m against the CCJ and will do articles for publication, as to why I do NOT support this initiative.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      As I said, this woman — indeed all the woman at the top of the NDP — are going to sink the party in the next election.

  6. Kay should apologize, it has nothing to do with I witness news. I witnesses news reported the information as they received it without prejudice .There is a trade off between 100 accuracy and value (current version stale or outdated news). This is not usual in the news media. Therefore Vincy lawyer you may have your preferences with respect to a certain political spectrum of which you are entitled . This one about asking Kenton to check his facts before reporting it has already addressed in the above.

    1. José,

      Are you assuming that Kay is wrong and the government correct? Has anyone provided any proof that the opposition lawmakers were, in fact, invited? Regarding “checking facts”, what really are the “facts”?

  7. Admin, i am only presuming that what was said I’d correct . My reasoning is based on the theory that they were invited. I have no idea as whether or not what was said is correct. Accordingly if they were invited then the above is my take on it.

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