SVG

St. Vincent constitution hardliner eyes PM’s post

Anesia Baptiste has come out in staunch opposition to the proposed constitution. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

TAIPEI, Taiwan:- The campaign for Wednesday’s constitution referendum might have seen the launch of the political career of the woman who hopes to become the first female prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

Anesia Baptiste, 29, told I Witness-News this week that while it was not her intention, it seemed that the constitutional debate has launched her career in partisan politics.

“I would indeed like the opportunity to serve my people at the highest level because I believe I have the talent and the gifts and ability to do so. And I believe that I have the sincere love for the people of this country that would allow me to do so,” she said.

Baptiste said that she has long expressed a desire to be the country’s first female prime minister and citizens are edging her in that direction.

“… I have really been getting a lot of feedback that suggest that people want this for me and I have been getting it from all levels,” she said.

Baptiste was featured speaker at the youth conference of opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and was invited by the party to speak at campaign events for a “no” vote on the tomorrow’s referendum.

She said that she appeared in her capacity as Associate Director of Thusian Institute for Religious Liberty (TIRL).

Encouragement has come “from high levels within the NDP as well as from persons on the ground just simply saying, ‘I see you as my first female prime minister’.

“One lady told me last week, ‘You are my Rosa Parks.’ Because a lot of people are struck because of the boldness and courage I have shown in standing up, especially as a senior public servant, in bold and open critique of what the government is doing,” said the Communications Manager in the Ministry of Tourism.

Baptiste said that her supporters feel that her actions have “led to encouragement of fearlessness and courage in a lot of peoples’ heart in St. Vincent and the Grenadines”.

She holds a Double Master Degree in Hotel and Tourism Management from the Vatel Institute in Nimes, France, a Bachelor of Arts from the University of the West Indies, majoring in French with a minor in linguistics. She is also a second year law student with the University of London’s external LLB programme.

Baptiste hosts a 30-minute weekly television programme “The Rights of the People”, and writes a column — “Persistent Scrutiny” — in The News newspaper in SVG.

Asked what would distinguish her from other politicians, Baptiste said that her guiding philosophy “is that all men are created by God with equal and inalienable rights and freedoms and that politicians’ role is that of the protectorate”.

Baptiste and NDP founder, former PM James Mitchell, at a “Vote No” event. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

“Governments do not give rights and freedoms and are only instituted to protect them. A sacred regard must be held by governments’ for human rights in order to ensure due protection of those rights.”

Baptiste said that with this knowledge she “will serve to eradicate discrimination, victimization and such evils, as all would be treated equally and fairly as they (we) are all human beings.

“With this knowledge I will treat all fairly regardless of political affiliation, colour of skin, surname, village of origin and family associations. For me, I will only see a member of God’s created humanity.”

However, some have commented that Baptiste’s “hard-lined” religious views could hurt her political aspirations.

She responded:

“My religious stance is one that teaches me that each human being has the right to religious liberty as a God-endowed, inalienable right. This means freedom for all to follow the religion of choice and the non-interference of government legislation in religious matters. My involvement in political office will not see infringement of this and other rights but rather promotion of tolerance and respect for human rights and freedoms of all.”

Baptiste said that the Bible gives examples “of religious men standing in political office and helping to bring prosperity to the nations they served”.

She spoke of Joseph as governor of Egypt and Daniel as prime minister of Babylon.

“Neither accounts show a force of these men’s religion on the nations. However these men were seen by leaders of different religious persuasions, to be fit for political office because of their wisdom, integrity and intelligence.”

While she said that she was not ready to declare her political association, Baptiste made it clear that the Unity Labour Party (ULP), headed by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, did not appeal to her.

Baptiste believes she cannot flourish in a party headed by PM Gonsalves. (Photo: Oris Robinson)

“Put it this way … if I have to be prime minister one day, I have to be a member of a party. And as it is now, it would not be the ULP,” she said.

She said she could not support the ideas of the ULP, “especially those of Dr. Gonsalves, as I find them to resemble communist/socialist principles.”

She said that she currently supports the NDP on the constitution Bill 2009 adding, “[T]he position each party took on this document is instructive to their future in politics and the future of this country under their respective administrations”.

“I am for a Republican philosophy of government, which emphasizes respect for rights of all, majority and minorities. Thus far, the NDP is the movement I see towards this system, not the ULP.”

Baptiste said she could not thrive “under the ULP because there is a tendency among them to toe Dr. Gonsalves’ line and have no objective, opposing views without fear of his displeasure and or wrath”.

“My freedoms must be maintained and enjoyed in the party with which I align myself,” she said.

Discussion

16 thoughts on “St. Vincent constitution hardliner eyes PM’s post

  1. i would never call myself a vincentian again if crazy trash like her becomes prime minister.

    Posted by Gary Thomas | November 24, 2009, 12:06
  2. Gary,

    I can appreciate that no Prime minister/leader commands the liking of every last person in the Country/Nation. So even if you consider me “crazy trash” and a majority puts me there, it would still be my duty to treat you with the highest respect for your rights and freedoms, as is the duty of all leaders in government. And by the grace of God I shall not fail to do so.

    Posted by Anesia | November 24, 2009, 13:37
  3. It is so sad that men are still intimidated by intelligent women. When a fox cannot get the grape he say it sour!!!!!!

    Vincy Women are right behind you!!!! We are the mothers of our nation!!!

    Posted by Nickie | November 24, 2009, 23:00
  4. YOU GO GIRL..SHOW THEM WHAT YOU WORKIN’ WITH..BECOME THE MARGARET THATCTER OF ST VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES…YOU HAVE THE SKILLS ,CARISMA..NO MATTER WAT THEY SAY…THEM CALL JESUS NAME WHO IS WE…BLESS UP…

    Posted by MAXX | November 25, 2009, 08:39
  5. Thank you to Nickie and Maxx. The encouragement is greatly appreciated

    Anesia

    Posted by Anesia | November 25, 2009, 11:30
  6. Gary Thomas…I am so hurt by your comments directed at Anesia. This can’t be the Gary Thomas that I know.

    Anyway…Anesia…I am so proud of you, firstly as a Vincentain and moreso as a lady. We continue to talk about moving forward, while our hearts remain bitter. I have known you over the years and I know the struggles it took to get you to where you are.

    I have always been blown away by your singing, my favorite song being…”Special delivery…wrapped up in love”. You are indeed a special delivery.

    Continue doing what you were chosen to do and I look forward to the day you become the first female prime minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines. Where there’s a will…there’s a way!!!!!

    Posted by Proud Vincy | November 25, 2009, 14:30
  7. It would be interesting to see a female PM and from what I’ve been hearing, Anesia’s hotter than fire. Gary’s words were harsh and too personal. ‘Crazy trash’? God created us all.

    Posted by Kamara | November 25, 2009, 18:26
  8. The first comment was narrow minded.. great remarks Anesia! Keep your dignity and integrity! U were always a leader, even in GHS and kept to your belief!

    Posted by Als Simmons | November 25, 2009, 23:25
  9. ‘God has created all of us equal with inalienable rights” You keep focused my sister with this deep philosophy and continue to show that you believe it through all your actions. A leader who loves the people is one who knows his/her place- to respect and protect the rights and freedoms of all. God bless you and do not be discouraged at all by the critics…I like your response to Gary. May God enlighten Him!

    Keep beautiful in the truths of Christ and remember that you serve YHWH-GOD who rules in the affairs of men and who has interest in all people to save them. My dear, may the spiritual principles of The God of the Sabbath continue to rule in your heart.

    Love,
    Ann-Marie

    Posted by Ann-Marie John | November 26, 2009, 10:58
  10. Many thanks to you all, Proud Vincy, Als, Kamara and Ann-Marie. Proud Vincy I am not sure I know who you are. Please link me at anesiarichards@gmail.com

    Take care and God bless everyone.

    Anesia

    Posted by Anesia | November 26, 2009, 12:17
  11. My dear Anesia, God has indeed rasied you up for such a time as this and i have no doubt that he has led you thus far. The bible says woe unto them that call evil good and good evil. They called Jesus all sorts of ill names even a devil, but it did not make him one. I personally have seen the will of God working out in your life and i dear to say that if more young women would be brave and honest and love the truth as you do we would have a better SVG. Your glory is my fame my dear, and as God blesses you i can do nothing but give you my continual support. If we were to bother with everyone that criticized us and give up then we would just sit by and do nothing as the country is destroyed and yet when someone of your strength and intellect stands for the interest of the people, all some can find to do is pull down and call names. Why does’nt Gary Thomas debate Anesia on the issues? Thats all they do when they cannot debbate the issuses they resort to name calling and character asassination. But history have shown that the truth always prevails. I am proud of you my dear Keep doing what you were choosen and called to by God. when men fail to acknowledge and regard the good work of others, God is taking note and he will reward you my dear. It was Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the USA, who said this ” All that tyranny needs to gain a foothold, is for men of good conscience to remain silent”. You conscience is good for you are God concious and you have no doubt spoken. again you have my support all the way. You are so beautiful to me. And last but by no means least “A woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised”.

    Posted by Calvert | November 26, 2009, 21:17
  12. Gary I understand your sentiments, might not have said it that way but your feelings understood … emotional drive is no substitute for logical reasoning and critical thinking and I hope, Gary, that that was what you were getting at and if so you somewhat displayed the same thing you are against. It might have been wiser for to be a little more diplomatic. I find it somewhat foolish that people are quick to lable her ready and fit to be prime minister …. are you kidding me? And this has nothing to do with her being a female nor her intelligence. While Anesia may posses and have demonstrated the capacity to learn, she lacks intellectual curiosity or should I say; she is guided by a system that shuns it. I would assume a prime minister to be someone who represents all his or her people and one that makes decision based on a good pair of reason skills and critical thinking regardless of belief. I subscribe to the notion that one’s personal opinions should never be what directs their ability to lead after all, leading requires an ability to listen and understand all those you lead, the absence of which is usual called tyranny. But I am not worried that she may be prime minister because I know there are other females with more experience and a better position in the power structure to do so. Anesia this may be hard to accept but the same thing that has propelled you to the forefront of the political scene is the same thing that would stop you from getting that ultimate prize.

    Posted by LORENZO OLIVER | November 27, 2009, 16:46
  13. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the righteous are as bold as lion.” Proverbs 28: 1

    Continue to hold fast to the righteousness of God Anesia, for God hath indeed made you as bold as lion:

    As bold as a lion, you have spoken the truth,
    Which in the hearts of Vincentians, has begun to take root
    As bold as a lion, you have sounded the call
    On inalienable Rights and Freedoms for all
    As bold as lion, you stand for Republicanism,
    Which is the direct opposite of Communism
    Which has found its way into the proposed new constitution,
    At the hands of the ULP administration
    Who hates the righteous of God which you hold so dear
    And to the peoples’ good voices they turned a deaf ear
    But God heard and the referendum was overwhelmingly rejected,
    And I pray as Prime Minister you will overwhelmingly be elected
    Because as bold as a lion you will protect the Rights of all,
    Unlike Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, whose political kingdom WILL fall
    Except he repents of Leninism and Marxism,
    Rest assured that the 7 last plagues will fall on him!
    May God help your Prime Ministerial dream to come true
    Knowing that through Christ all things you can do,
    Including the upliftment of this multi-island state
    Who will be looked upon by other nations as “a nation so great”
    As bold a lion continue to to stand firm,
    Because once elected – the people will vote you term after term!
    – They have seen the love of God manifested in you,
    -To love of people and Rights-Conscious governance you will always be true,
    Never mind your critics and the things that they say,
    Under Republicanism – Free speech ALWAYS take sway!
    Continue to trust God and bravely face the heat,
    because, my dear sister, THE VICTORY WILL BE SWEET!

    Thank God for your faithfulness to him . Congratulations on your excellent work in opening the eyes of Vincentians to see the evils of the proposed new constitution. Moreover, thank you for starting a reformation in the minds of Vincentians. They have begun to understand that the central pillar of any constitution must be the protection of the inalienable Rights and Freedoms of the people. Rest assured that this knowledge, given by God, will make leap and bounds in the political maturity of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
    May God bless you with deep graces,

    Jeanell

    Posted by Jeanell James | November 27, 2009, 20:04
  14. Lorenzo, I don’t think people are saying that Anesia is ready to be prime minister tomorrow. I think they look at her and think she is prime minister material or a promise for the future.

    She’s definitely a leader and while that doesn’t automatically qualify one to be prime minister I think it is too early to dismiss her. She’s quite young still and she’s learning at a ferocious pace.

    Eventually she will have to answer important questions and pass important tests that will determine whether or not she’s up to the task so we should just let things take their natural course.

    Posted by Kelvin Pompey | November 27, 2009, 20:43
  15. I am not a Vincentians ,how ever i thats my second home away from home and Ms Baptiste we have never met,how ever from what I have gather from your speeches the sky is the limit,and it is about time that we as Black Proud Caribbean Women Break this Glass ceiling.

    With Jah on your side there is nothing to keep you back , down or behind.Each One Teach One.

    Guidance ,Love ,Prosperity

    Posted by Rita | November 26, 2010, 07:47

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