CASTRIES, St. Lucia – Hard on the heels of controversy over slurs made by a government minister concerning individual sexual orientation, religious doctrine has now also become part of the political landscape ahead of the general election in Saint Lucia on June 6.
Recent derogatory remarks made by Saint Lucia’s minister of tourism, heritage and creative industries Lorne Theophilus in a video that has been widely disseminated on social media prompted calls for political leaders to be held accountable for statements and / or actions that discriminate against a particular segment of the electorate.
In the video in question, Theophilus used a derogatory term with a long history of being used to insult and denigrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) people to describe the political leader of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Allen Chastanet.
Theophilus later apologized for his remarks.
UWP candidate Sarah Flood-Beaubrun referred to Nomination Day as an event that required registered voters to be part of the democratic process. She said it was unacceptable that the government would chose a Saturday, which is the Sabbath for thousands of Saint Lucians and that as a matter of principle it should not be allowed.
“This is another example of contempt for the people of Saint Lucia,” she said, “and it is unacceptable.”
On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony was obliged to address the nation to explain the change in dates.
“The sole consideration and motivation to the change of the date of nomination was to ensure adequate time for the nomination of candidates, and to preserve the date for the election as required by law,” he said.
Saint Lucian commentator Melanius Alphonse described the fuss as “the usual religious hypocrisy on the part of modern day Pharisees, who only raise issues that suit them and in this case ignore the relevant bible teaching regarding the relationship between Christianity, secular government and society, in which Christians are expected to conform to all earthly authorities.”
He also pointed out that UWP political leader Chastanat had recently appeared at a party rally attired in a manner intended to mock Catholic liturgy but this has been conveniently ignored by those now trying to assert and defend religious rights.