The Civil Service Association (CSA) is seeking to encourage government to allow public servants the opportunity to get involved in the political process of the country and contest general elections if they so desire.
Outgoing General Secretary Mary Isaac told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) that the time has come for Saint Lucia to develop into a modern society, where all citizens regardless of their political affiliation, class, colour or creed, are allowed to participate freely in the governance of the country.
Isaac said this is nothing new to the Caribbean, as Barbados has already taken steps to allow its public servants the opportunity to participate in the politics of their country.
She said Saint Lucia should follow suit and allow public servants to take leave without pay to contest any election, and if they are not successful, they would still be allowed to return back to their jobs.
The CSA has suggested this in the last discussion with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT), but the GNT failed to acknowledge the proposal as it was placed on the back burner, Isaac recalled.
However, the three-time president of the CSA said that she is positive that the association will actively pursue this matter in the interest of public servants, who are willing to serve their country at a higher level.
Isaac referred to the case where a public servant, Jeana Corneille, appeared on Hot Button Issue Show and declared that she was willing to contest the United Workers Party (UWP) seat in Gros-Islet.
This has since sparked several debates and even prompted the Ministry of Public Service to issue a statement to the media declaring that permission was not granted to Corneille to appear on the show, while noting that certain staff orders were breached.
“If they try to make an issue of it, it may well create a lot of problems for this government. Because the constitution supersedes staff orders and they are trying to use staff orders to discipline her on a matter that the constitution has provisions for,” she added.
Isaac believe this recent incident is an excellent case that is going to “test the system.”
She continued: “How then can the employer take any action against a worker who has decided to exercise her constitutional right? These are some of these things trade unions will have to look at and the CSA has already started.”