Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has lauded his predecessor, Doctor Kenny Anthony’s stand on free speech, in the aftermath of the recent police arrest of two men from Vieux Fort who posted a profanity-laced video on Facebook.
Former Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, issued a statement expressing disbelief that the two men who ‘ expressed their frustration with the Allen Chastanet Administration especially over their treatment of the Vieux Fort South Constituency ‘were arrested and charged.
Anthony, who is the MP for Vieux Fort South, said what was more outrageous was that the young men in question have been asked to record a video apologising for their criticism of Allen Chastanet and the ruling United Workers Party (UWP), if they wish to avoid prosecution.
‘ Saint Lucia has a culture of freedom of expression on all matters, particularly those who express political opinions and that must be protected. Citizens should be free to disagree with the government and to speak out about the neglect and difficulties currently being faced in the country,’ the former PM said in the statement.
Prime Minister Chastanet told reporters Monday that the first time he heard about the incident involving the two Vieux Fort men was when it was reported.
He said he was ‘happy and heartened’ by Doctor Anthony’s ‘change’.
‘When he was in government, if I am not mistaken, and there were some people who apparently made threats against him, one can go back very quickly and see what he said at that time,’ Chastanet recalled.
‘So the fact that he is now choosing to cherish the freedom of the press – and particularly from a government that did 361, I am very very heartened that all Saint Lucians would be seeing that it is never too late to learn,’ he declared.
Chastanet said he was not involved in the process of the men being charged.
‘I have done no investigation into that matter, so I can’t respond,’ he told reporters in response to the question of whether someone in the current administration instructed the police to lay charges against the men involved in the profanity-laced video.