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Tuesday, May 26, 2015



How do we explain Senator Mary Isaac’s notorious misconception that government  legislated a 5% wage cut for Public Servants for the fiscal year ended March 2015 that never materialised?

How do we explain her infamous “walk across the parliamentary floor” in the House of Assembly when a member was making his contribution?

How do we explain her persistence with the misrepresentation that St. Lucia has had three years of negative economic growth?

Is she ready for parliamentary and ministerial office?

Among other things, this article seeks to analyse her contribution to the Budget debate largely in the context of those issues.

UWP wolf in CSA Presidential Camouflage?

After hearing the Senator’s contribution to the Budget debate, I am now more than ever, convinced that her candidacy on the UWP ticket may not entirely be based on merit or arguably she may bringing any value to the UWP party. I'm becoming increasingly convinced that her eligibility as the candidate for South Castries was based more on a “behind the scene” deal to sell the soul of the CSA to UWP than merit.  Hence, the popular claim (that she was a UWP wolf in “presidential” clothing seeking to ride on the backs of CSA workers for political gain) is well-placed and tenable.

Masked in CSA presidential camouflage, Senator Mary Isaac tottered precariously along the UWP-CSA tightrope pretending that her mission was to fight the cause of CSA workers until the sheer “gravitational force” of her recent controversial endorsement as UWP candidate for South Castries resulted in her crash landing on the UWP side of the fence.

Reflection of the Chronology of events

In hindsight, the chronology of events well-documented in the public’s eye over time has made it easier for us to put her actions and pronouncements into context. Upon reflection, we are now able to explain her “testicular fortitude” – not in terms of industrial relations courage and principles but -in terms of an overwhelming political agenda motivated by the pursuit of power; we are also able to explain her irrational and persistence of intransigence (and one might argue her sabotaging of the wage negotiation process) was not as a consequence of “testicular fortitude”, but was all part of an ongoing UWP campaign strategy using the CSA as the platform. In short, Mary was simply using her position as president of the CSA and the CSA itself as a platform to campaign for herself and the UWP.

When will the Comedy of Errors End?

Mary’s comedy of errors reached a crescendo when she orchestrated her appointment as general secretary of the CSA while simultaneously wielding presidential powers, knowing fully well that her endorsement as the UWP candidate for South Castries was imminent; and notwithstanding her “overwhelming” endorsement, she still continues in the positions of general secretary and president of the CSA.

The nation waits with baited breath for the next move of the embattled CSA president turned UWP Senator and now endorsed candidate for the constituency for South Castries.

Female version of the "Guy"

If all of the above represent symptoms” of the controversial Senator Mary’s political character, then arguably we have to admit that we may have a female version of Guy Joseph on our hands - if not a female Allen Chastanet and a female Ezekiel Joseph (who are both before the courts for corruption) in the making.

Contrary to any belief that Mary may be the beneficiary of the untenable chronology of events which circumscribed her political sojourn prior to her controversial endorsement by the UWP as candidate for South Castries, it may well result in deepening her own personal and political dilemmas. While, they may have contributed to putting her in the limelight, they may not remotely translate into electoral success which I assume is her ultimate goal. Moreover, if her presentation in the Senate is any indication of the quality of discourse she will bring to parliament, then she is far from ready for the job.

Snapshots of Senator Mary’s Budget Presentation

To put the argument in perspective, let’s take snapshots of her presentation during the senate debate.

In her presentation to the Senate, Mary argued that “All gov’t want to do is cut”; but in the same breath, she was advocating that gov’t should cut out the director positions in the public service.  She also posited that she would displace the current “crop of NICE workers” and replace them with a “crop of youth”. She went on to categorise some NICE workers as beggars.

One of Senator Mary’s dilemmas is the reconciliation of her pronouncements about a high rate of unemployment with her reckless desire to displace the current crop of NICE workers (who are doing a sterling job providing home care for our vulnerable senior citizens) and replace them with a "crop of youth”.

 Why didn’t she propose that she would instead build on the NICE programme by designing a counterpart employment programme targeting youth unemployment?

There's also the issue of labeling some NICE workers (who according to a UWP placard-bearer were “niggas”) as “beggars”. In the context of the UWP’s reluctance to condemn that placard-bearing “Nigga’ slogan, Senator Mary’s pronouncement is no Freudian slip, no accident! The fundamental question: why would a trade union president want to characterise some gov’t workers as “beggars” and why would she want to join hands with an institution who failed to condemn a placard-bearer who labeled NICE workers (who are part of public service) as Niggas?

In her presentation, Mary also posited that the country was not on the right path. The logical question is: Is the CSA on the right path?

The CSA and the UWP have one thing in common and that is they are both divided down the middle and, in both instances, the division is caused by the incompetence of the leadership.

Senator Mary has created history by being the only Trade Union president in St. Lucia who is also a UWP Candidate. How therefore can the senator have the moral authority, the legitimacy to advise gov’t about right path when she treading on a woefully wrong path?

Mary must be careful about making thoughtless and illogical generalisations: She suggested that she is against the kids laptop programme pointing that the students were misusing the laptops by “breaking the code” and downloading (I assume) forbidden material. In her attempt to excoriate the gov’t for the kids laptop programme, she was directly and indirectly making a stinging indictment on our children, parents and teachers. But the paradox is, while she was making her case about the misuse of the laptops, she was in the same breath generalising that parents had no electricity and no internet. How can students with no electricity and internet download (and again I assume) the “forbidden material” she was referring to?

It is difficult to comprehend why a self-professed mother of four and an aspiring politician would engage in profound negativity of that magnitude against our youth (which she incidentally claimed were better candidates for employment under NICE).

Notwithstanding her profound contradictions and reckless generalisations, she didn’t tell us what she would do differently. Would she stop the laptop programme? What would she replacee it with?

Her reckless negativity continued unabated with the claim that there were no science programmes in some secondary schools. Unfortunately, she did not cite those schools! I therefore await the Minister of Education to clarify as I’m aware that (in the pursuit of universal scientific literacy) it is ministry policy that every school must offer science!

The comedy of errors reached its peak when the Senator postulated that the geothermal research project can result in the volcanic eruption of the sulphur springs. Even the Grade 7 science student would not subscribe to that misconception.  (On the lighter side, I wonder whether is her embrace of non-science and pseudoscience that has caused her to seek a Canadian passport in preparation for running away when that eventuality according to her happens.) The sum total of those reckless pronouncements makes Mary unfit for both parliamentary and ministerial office unless we are comfortable with more Guys in government.

The basic mathematics of economic growth

Senator Mary fell into the same mathematical/statistical trap of all the UWP colleagues when she reported that there were three years of negative growth.

She also cited the claim of low productivity reported in the Social and Economic Review; but she also said that there were just a hand of lazy public servants suggesting that the mass of the lazy and unproductive workers in St. Lucia was found outside the civil service.

Mary bashed our intellectuals - even when her leader of Opposition is an intellectual luminary; and more critically even at a time when the UWP needs intellectual support to put its house in order. By her anti-PhD sentiments, she came across as being profoundly anti-intellectual. Also by her failure to understand a basic mathematical algorithm (such as -0.70 – (-1.93) = +1.23) also seemed to suggest she is equally academically lean”.

I am not suggesting by any stretch of imagination that politicians should be quantitatively bent; but, if however, an aspiring politician (who was a head of a government department and president of a union and who may have had years of exposure to figures) is still apparently challenged when it comes to the interpretation of simple mathematical computations and basic statistics (which generally tend to be at the heart of negotiations with the employer) to the point of feeding the public with misinformation, then s/he is not only unfit for the position of union president much less for parliamentary or ministerial office. In fact, it is becoming clear that (despite her new status as a senator), she was misled into believing that government had legislated a 5% wage cut which never happened suggesting that she has not grasp the basic difference between the estimates of expenditure and the policy which circumscribe it.

Closing advice
Based on the wide spectrum of seemingly aberrational issues and missteps (ranging the politicisation and chasm of the CSA to an obvious lack of intellectual grounding befitting a senator) which has overtime consistently plagued Senator Mary, she needs an urgent refresher! Perhaps, new lectures on industrial relations, the budget, fiscal policy, the economy, universal ethical principles, statistics, information technology and (of course) mathematics may help and . . . perhaps, Dr Lewis can volunteer to be one of her lecturers.