Former Saint Lucia Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, has defended his wife in the face of accusations that she drafted a ‘horrendous’ Saint Lucia labour code.
“In a recent post, one Devon Nick, writing for United Pac, the UWP’s propaganda arm, accused my wife, Professor Rose Marie B. Antoine, of drafting a “horrendous”Labour Code and being paid $500,000.00 for her work on the Code,” Anthony wrote in a recent post on the Saint Lucia Labour Party’s official Facebook page.
He asserted that to describe Professor Antoine’s work as “horrendous” is to maliciously attack her professional competence, skills, reputation and integrity.
According to the former PM, for years, United Pac has peddled these untruths, usually unchallenged.
“It is a lie to claim Professor Antoine was paid $500,000 for her work. She received approximately US $22,000.00 (EC $58,960) from the ILO and she has repeatedly said so,” Anthony wrote.
He explained that Professor Antoine was selected by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to draft the Code because of her unquestioned expertise in Labour Law.
He said the ILO knew her well because she was a former employee of that organization at their Geneva office.
“When CARICOM wanted to reform the region’s Labour Law, it was to Professor Antoine they turned to evaluate, assess and propose reforms to the laws of Member States. Individual Governments throughout our region have repeatedly engaged her as a Labour Law expert and consultant,” Anthony asserted.
“The same Code that United Pac says is “horrendous” was used by the Turks and Caicos Government as the model for its own regime of Labour Law,” the former Saint Lucia PM declared.
“What, pray is “horrendous” about the Code? Is it “horrendous” because it enlarged the rights of workers, made the law accessible to all and sundry and provided workers as well as employers with new remedies and opportunities for redress for infractions at the workplace?” He asked.
According to Anthony, it is strange that the United Workers Party (UWP) was in power for almost five years never repealed the Labour Code when they had the opportunity to do so.
He said all they did were some tepid amendments, some of which were plainly unnecessary.
“No piece of legislation is ever perfect. Already, those of us who practice Labour Law can identify some areas that would benefit from reform. But there is no doubt that the Code is beginning to make its mark in shaping relations at the workplace. We have had several decisions from the Labour Tribunal, pronouncing on issues arising at the workplace, whether in favour of workers or employers,” Anthony asserted.
He expressed the view that the enactment of the Labour Code will remain as one of the great achievements of the Labour Government which he had the honour to lead.
“Maybe, United Pac and its zealots should, as Philip J Pierre always say, put that in their “pipes and smoke it”,” the former PM concluded.