SLP notes Prime Minister’s “vindictive” response to UWI lecturer

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SLP notes Prime Minister’s “vindictive” response to UWI lecturer
SLP's spokesman on Education Senator Hon Guibion Ferdinand.
SLP’s spokesman on Education Senator Hon Guibion Ferdinand.

(PRESS RELEASE) – The St. Lucia Labour Party views with dismay, but not surprise, the latest display of vindictive, punitive and authoritarian behaviour on the part of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

In responding to a Public Lecture delivered by St. Lucian citizen Dr. Tennyson Joseph to an audience in St. Vincent, instead of seeing it as part of Dr. Joseph’s democratic right and public responsibility to express his views, Prime Minister Chastanet sought instead to express surprise that Dr. Joseph is “actually still a professor at the University of the West Indies”.

In effect, Prime Minister Chastanet was calling for the firing of the lecturer from the University for merely doing his job. Is it not left to conclude that if Chastanet was in charge of or had any influence in the status of Dr. Joseph’s employment that he would have by now been fired. And this, because Dr. Joseph expressed an opinion as it concerns Chastanet, which Chastanet is obviously unhappy with. Is this not victimisation at its most vile and disgusting level, to attack and destroy ones livelihood?

When taken against the background of Prime Minister Chastanet’s firing of the NICE workers, his decision to withhold the subvention from the St. Lucia National Trust for voicing their concerns over the DSH investment, the hostility to members of the clergy for publicly expressing concerns about the investment, and now added to this, his publicly expressed desire of a hard-working St. Lucian from modest backgrounds, what St. Lucia sees emerging in Prime Minister Chastanet is an authoritarian and vindictive figure whose first instinct is to crush the livelihoods and destroy the reputations of persons who express critical views of his leadership and of his policy decisions. This trend is extremely disturbing and the examples and causalities keep mounting.

The St. Lucia Labour Party takes comfort in the fact that the University is a mature institution of higher learning which is built on the principles of academic freedom and intellectual autonomy and its hiring decisions are not made by itinerant, insecure, vindictive politicians. Had it been otherwise, the UWI would long cease to exist.

The SLP also takes comfort in the fact that the comments by Prime Minister Chastanet to Dr. Joseph’s lecture is reflective of Mr. Chastanet’s own limited knowledge about the education system and the UWI, and we fully expect that this is how all relevant authorities will receive his comments.

It is instructive that Prime Minister Chastanet has refused to fire Dr Ubaldus Raymond, the Minister in the Ministry of Finance which he has the power to do for his usual behavior, but is calling for the firing of Dr. Tennyson Joseph, which he has no power to do.

The SLP stands committed to a strong, viable and independent regional university and sees open debate and public discussion as an essential ingredient of the democratic society which has been built by our forefathers from their struggles against plantation slavery to the workers struggles of the 1930s, and beyond.

The SLP, will do all in its power to ensure that the UWI remains relevant and free from political interference, and will ensure that all its academics, St. Lucian and otherwise, remain free to express their academic opinions, free from harassment and victimization by insecure politicians.

(9)(21)

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13 COMMENTS

  1. UWI and its cult i slowly dying. Just a bunch of so call People expired DR in front their names making the region look more foolish. Like springer said, only in Saint Lucia they will spew that kinda garbage and get away with it. And this bald headed woman needs to realize that the world has left her behind and she has become irrelevant.

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  2. Annonymous, true. And, a threat is a threat. An opinion is an opinion. It is Chastnet's opinion that Dr. Joseph should be fired (threat) because Joseph said Chastnet is a business man who is not fit to be a politician. We can argue this point both sides: but Chastnet should not try to incite/suggest to any board or the public to make Dr. Joseph lose his job because of that.
    Actually he is even making Joseph point stronger: politics is skill to take blows and give too, and if you can't take normal criticism from an opponent, then get out de game and go back to simply being a rich, business man and not a business man, career-changer to a new field:politics. Money votes can get you far, but you need a strong mind and heart to take what is being thrown at you (a lot of criticism in the political arena)

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  3. Dear Honorable Chastnet,
    Take it easy, no need for that kind of threat. All those politicians before you who didn't like what they heard and victimized people for pettiness are gone- and this too shall pass. This is coming from a lucian who is part of the brain drain abroad, who run away from politicians like you! People put you in power and then you forget and start acting like you control the breath in your nostrils (where Daddy Compton who threatened George/ and then became best of friends after? Dead. And we all got to go, so be fair in how you respond to people who disagree with you style of leadership)

    Denys Springer, I get your point on the empirical research part, true Dr. Joseph was making a presentation where it would have been nice to incorporate a few results from empirical studies for intellectuals or academicians to make his point but that's okay for now.

    However he/ Dr. Tennyson Joseph was expressing his academic opinion based on observations, profession as a political pundit and level of education; his speech did not require empirical research, because he was expressing an opinion which has to do with his observations of a few select persons, for example like my (business-oriented) US president who fail to show humility and get any thing passed in the house to benefit the people who voted for him......

    Dr.Joseph is simply stating a fact: some business people with high business acumen and results do not have the political savvy to lead or net work politically, because you need a different skills set for that: getting along with people different from you in race, skin color, culture, beliefs, opinions etc. Chastnet's response (threat to lose his job) is like my president's response to law abiding persons response to hate and vitriol on the color of one's skin or socio economic background: retaliation for something that you disagree with.

    Yes, why are you offended at his opinion and not offended at one of your adulterous ministers putting private parts on whatsapp? We expect professional, ethical behavior from our politicians! That minister embarassed UWP party. Even if that wasn't his p in the video. How did he find himself in a compromising situation with this young lady in the first place? Obviously there was some kind of friendship that crossed ethical lines for her to have his cell number and threaten him in the first place!
    Your minister betrayed and violated trust on many levels: his health/life for STD's, his wife emotional health and his children and the public (who had to know his true character). We are tired of Ministers who cannot (resist the young misguided, sisters and )cannot focus on the people's business. Chastnet your best response is to prove Dr. Joseph wrong by your results: use your position to bring jobs to St. Lucia, more forensic experts to help our police deal with crime, more programs for prisoners to stop killing each other inside de jail, more suicide-prevention programs!
    Give me a reason to vote for you anytime I return to Lucia, cause I not feeling your threats to Dr. Joseph (no relation)!

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  4. Our passports are being sold to support ninty percent of the dsh project of which we don't have any shares.Talk about this foolishness.Dr joseph is brilliant.

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  5. AND YOU WERE A PRINCIPAL. YOU TOOK WHAT WAS SAID, MADE YOUR OWN THING OUT OF IT AND THEN WROTE A WHILE PRESS RELEASE ABOUT WHAT YOU THOUGH WAS MEANT WHICH ACTUALLY DIDNT MATTER ONE BIIT. ISNT THE GUY IN HIS JOB. DID CHAS ASK FOR HIS FIRING. CHAS WAS SURPRISED THAT THIS SLP CANDIDATE, WHICH HE SUPPOSEDLY STILL WAS IN 2016, WAS STILL IN THE UWI LECTURING HALL. HE MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT HE JOINED THE SLP FULL TIME.

    (2)(2)

  6. No sir you have it wrong. Even I am surprised that he is "still a lecturer". So what will you call me. Isnt that the PM's right to express is views aswell, like you allude Dr.Joseph has a right to do?
    Tennyson actually showed he was too political last elections and was in fact way WAY wrong in his scientific predictions of the electoral outcome.
    *Now as a former principal, would you want a teacher still on board after making such blunders in his field of study??

    (2)(2)

  7. insecure politician? the only insecure politicians belong to the slp. just like Kenny, this guy is nothing but a mouthpiece for the slp and chastanet, like most st lucians, are tired of hearing the mindless bs of the slp. vindictive? no truth is more like it. does the slp ever get tired of whining?

    (3)(4)

  8. Well Mr. Ferdinand didnt Dr. Vaughan Lewis many years when he was leader of UWP say that Dr. Anthony was influencing UWI not to offer him employment as a visiting lecturer. Your memory short Ferdinand.

    (6)(3)

  9. It is indeed sad when leaders believe that they must crush and dominate persons. This is not Leadership.In order for change and progress to take place we must allow various views to contend. I trust that Mr Chastanet and all other leaders in Saint Lucia appreciate that the persons who are yes persons is not what leaders need around them.

    (13)(2)

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