Former Saint Lucia Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony has spoken out against pre-election promises of ministerial appointments, declaring that the promises represent an affront to the constitution.
He said all elected parliamentarians couldn’t be Ministers.
The Vieux Fort South MP recalled his own experience of leaving elected members out of his cabinet, partly to fulfill constitutional requirements such as appointing a Deputy Speaker.
But Anthony, a constitutional lawyer by profession, disclosed that in so doing, he faced disappointment, anger and even ‘trenchant comments’ from affected individuals and their supporters.
” I’ve had that experience and some of it has been very unkind,” he told the House of Assembly on Thursday.
The former Prime Minister explained that no explanation made affected individuals see the reason for or wisdom of the decision.
“Cabinet positions should not be the subject of bargaining before a general election,” the Vieux Fort South MP asserted.
“It attacks the fundamental discretion assigned to the Prime Minister by the constitution,” Anthony stated.
In addition, Anthony questioned what would happen when the number of parliamentarians in the House increases.
“We are seventeen, and it is an affront to the constitution that in this day and age, Mr. Speaker, we cannot move from the number seventeen bequeathed to us since independence,” he told the House.
“We are still at seventeen, despite the fact that there are incongruities and unlawfulness in the demarcation of our constituency boundaries,” Anthony said.
In this regard, he recalled warning that the time will come when a citizen insisting on protecting the constitution would seek a court declaration.
According to the Vieux Fort South MP, the constituency boundaries are unlawful because they fly in the face of Saint Lucia’s constitution.
And he said it was time to resolve the issue.
“Whether we go to twenty-one or twenty-three or whatever number of seats we need,” Anthony said.
He also noted the need to redesign the relationship between a government in office and its backbenchers.
“I say this because of my previous experience. I say this because of my current experience,” Anthony told the House.
“We have had little experience in shaping such relationships because there have been so few backbenchers so to speak and as you know, nearly all members are absorbed in cabinet for one reason or another,” the former Prime Minister stated.
Headline photo: Dr. Kenny Anthony (Stock image)