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PM speaks on Sarah Flood-Beaubrun's resignation

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PM speaks on Sarah Flood-Beaubrun's resignation and cites

'Manipulation and Abuse

of Castries Central Voters'

Friday, January 6, 2006 - Prime Minister Dr Kenny D. Anthony says former Castries Central MP Sarah Flood-Beaubrun may have “played her last card” by resigning her parliamentary seat.

Responding to questions from TV reporters on Thursday, the Prime Minister said he was “not surprised” at the resignation, as he had predicted it two years earlier.

Said the PM to HTS and DBS TV reporters on Thursday: “I predicted this. I told my Cabinet colleagues two years ago that Sarah Flood-Beaubrun would not last the entire term, that she would resign at some point in time.”

'Political Theatre...'

Saying that “everyone knows she has quite a passion for political theatre,” the Prime Minister described the former MP's decision to resign her seat on Wednesday as “a cynical manipulation of the feelings and emotions of the voters of Castries Central.”

“It does not help. Instead, it abuses the voters of Castries Central, who have been preparing for a General Election, but who she has ensured will now have to vote twice,” said Dr Anthony.

He asked: “Why burden the Castries Central voters with two elections?”

The PM said it was “a mere distraction and a waste of resources,” but he insisted that “we simply cannot afford to ignore the Constitution,” which demands that a by-election be called within 90 days.

'Enumeration is Priority...'

The Prime Minister rejected claims that the move by the former MP had caught the Government off guard or that it would force the Government's hand to call early general elections.

He explained: “It does not force our hand one bit. We have made it clear from the very beginning that we are interested in ensuring the enumeration process takes place, to ensure that the Voters List is cleaned.

“We now have to decide which list will be used. However, that is not my call. I cannot decide. Rather, it is the Elections Commission that will decide.”

He said he will soon write the Chairman of the Electoral Commission “seeking clarification” on which list will be used for the by-election in Castries Central -- “whether it will be the existing Voters List from 2001, or whether a new list will have to be developed specifically for the by-election.”

Dr Anthony insisted that “our priority is cleaning the list and that process cannot be amputated for early general elections.”

'Never Ran Away...'

Asked whether the ruling St. Lucia Labour Party will be ready to contest the by-election, the Prime Minister said his party “has never ran away from a contest.” He also indicated that the party has “several candidates to choose from.”

“Finding a candidate has never been an issue. When we are ready, we will choose,” he said.

Dr Anthony also questioned what would be the level of voter turn-out for the by-election, saying it was possible that voters could be encouraged to stay away.

He explained: “If, for example, the voters believe that they will be voting in the by-election for a short-term MP who may only be there for a matter of weeks or months, as the case may be, it may be difficult to get them to come out.”

However, he would not be drawn on when the by-election or the general election will be held.

Constitutionally, the by-election must be held within 90 days of the day when Mrs Flood-Beaubrun submitted her resignation, while the general election must be held by March 2007.

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