Government senator and prominent Vieux Fort businesswoman Debra Tobierre has taken issue with a statement on Facebook by UnitedPac that Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has endorsed her to contest the 2016 General Elections in Vieux Fort South.
Tobierre also plans to lodge a formal police report and seek legal advice regarding a violent threat against her in response to the UnitedPac statement.
In the August 23 post, the UnitedPac – a politically-motivated group – asked: “Who will be the next aspiring district representative for Vieux Fort South?”
UnitedPac then went on to state: “In a secret meeting in Vieux Fort last night Prime Minister Dr. Kenny D. Anthony has basically endorsed Deborah Tobierre to contest the 2016 General Elections in Vieux Fort South! Will Deborah Tobierre represent Vieux Fortians or will she be continuing on the same path as Kenny Anthony and simply continue the destruction of Vieux Fort South! Vieux Fort South people stand and be counted say NO to Deborah Tobierre she is a continuation of Kenny D Anthony!”
In one of the responses to the post, a man commented: “There’s something called a hollowpoint, desperate times require desperate measures.” The man, identified as a government employee on his profile, removed the comment close to midday today.
“Hollowpoint” refers to a hollow-point bullet – a bullet that has a pit or hollowed out shape in its tip often intended to cause the bullet to expand upon entering a target in order to decrease penetration and disrupt more tissue as it travels through the target.
In an exclusive interview with St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today, August 25, Senator Tobierre said the UnitedPac statement is “absolutely not true” and believes the man’s comment was a “direct response” to the article distributed by UnitedPac.
“I will, as a matter of formality, report this to the police. This type of behaviour is not acceptable and should not be taken lightly, irrespective of who you are,” she said, adding that the man who made the threat “looks familiar but I do not know him personally”.
On the issue of replacing Dr. Anthony, Tobierre said: “There is rampant speculation but Dr. Anthony has never discussed anything like that with me and to the contrary, has publicly discouraged the thinking.”
Asked what may have triggered such rumours, Tobierre said: “I guess because he appointed me as a government senator, I am a prominent business person in Vieux-Fort and people know that we have great, mutual respect for each other. A lot of the rumour seems to be originating from the Labour camp and every time someone approaches me, I denounce their claims. I have been told things like, “I got it from good grounds.” And I respond, “Well, now you are getting it from the horse’s mouth.” But, regardless of the belief or even if there was truth to it that should not expose me to open threats of violence.”
The businesswoman believes the situation is getting out of hand.
“I feel that it demonstrates the extent that people are willing to go to in support of their political party. We are looking for good representation and yet, will incite violence and threaten others who have opposing views. This attitude which is so prevalent in our small society, only serves to discourage individuals who want to contribute to the development of our country. I will be consulting my attorney for advice. Although, I am not sure what legislation exists here to deal with such, since Facebook threats is a relatively new phenomena.”
She is appealing to “all forms of media, journalism and those actually engaged in spreading propaganda to raise the level of discourse, keeping in mind the responsibility we have to be objective in our views”.
“It might be difficult to demand that people be more responsible but if we consider what is really affecting our country, our attitudes and mindsets largely will determine our future. We should consider the sense of entitlement and cultural dependency that has long been prevalent, and the negative impact on our ability to prosper as a result. Also, the message that we are sending out to the youth of this country, and the negative impact on their minds.
“The more we allow such to go unchecked, the more that we encourage deviant behaviour. We already have unenviable rates of murder, useless assaults and other types of crime. We resort to violence, rather than find better ways to deal with conflict resolution.”
Tobierre, who was officially sworn in on January 2012, as a senator, may not take up another political appointment.
“I am deeply honoured that Dr. Anthony had such confidence in me, but due to my current business responsibilities and the political climate, I may be reluctant to accept such an appointment in the future,” she said.
UnitedPac (United Political Action Committee Group), according to its Facebook fan page, is a “conservative-minded grouping of young persons” formed soon after the November 2011 General Elections.
UnitedPac describes itself as a proud autonomous entity and it aims to “harness the creative skills of its members in serving as a watch dog and advocacy body in promoting and safeguarding the best interest of the youth and exemplifying the standards of good governance”.
The group currently manages two Facebook pages, a Twitter account and other social media avenues.
The main opposition United Workers Party has publicly denied involvement in the group.