Anesia Baptiste faces disciplinary action
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February 19, 2010
Anesia Baptiste faces disciplinary action

It is confirmed. The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines has initiated disciplinary action against Anesia Baptiste for what they deem to be misconduct.{{more}}

She faces 16 charges.

The first four charges state that Baptiste went “contrary to the law and in contravention of the duty of loyalty to the Government owed by her as a public servant.”

The other charges claim that Baptiste “publicly and vehemently accused” her employer, “the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Prime Minister, a Minister of the Crown and Minister of Legal Affairs, of
autocratic and coercive behaviour, comparing the conduct of the Prime Minister and his Government to that of a communist regime.”

The Communications Manager at the Ministry of Tourism received a memorandum dated February 16, 2010, signed by Permanent Secretary in that ministry, Laverne Grant, informing Baptiste that the Public Service Commission had directed Grant to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Baptiste.

The memorandum outlined that Baptiste’s charges were pursuant to Regulation 54 (2) (b) of the Public Service Commission Regulations, Chapter 2 of the Laws of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Revised Edition 1990. This particular regulation falls under the ‘Proceedings for dismissal’.

Baptiste was given 14 days after the receipt of the letter to state in writing any grounds upon which she relys on to prove that she is not guilty as charged.

When contacted, Baptiste told SEARCHLIGHT she intends to respond to the letter within the allotted period.

She noted that although the proceeding is taking place, she is at work and has not been suspended.

“First of all, my position with the Public Service Commission is that of Communication Manager within the Ministry of Tourism, and anybody who wishes to know of my loyalty to the Government in that regard would simply have to take a look at my work ethic and see whether or not I have been doing my job,” said Baptiste.

She stressed that loyalty to the Government as a public servant is not necessarily to the Party in power because she maintains her freedom of political opinion and freedom of assembly, etc.

“So I am not obliged as a public servant to agree with every last position of the Party that is in Government. What I have done, however, is to faithfully serve in the post that I am in and you would have noticed that none of the charges against me have to with my job, in terms of how I have performed or not performed,” said Baptiste.

Baptiste added: “If you really go through carefully some of the charges and you look at the exhibits, you would observe that in some instances and quite a few, I was actually responding in my capacity as Director with the Thusian Institute for Religious Liberty. I was responding to certain charges that were levied against us by the ULP, referring for example to things that they would have said in their ULP column. After the referendum, there were quite a few columns in the papers from the ULP, where they attacked my group, The News newspaper, and the NDP for our role in the whole campaign for the referendum.

“The question I have to ask is, am I not as a citizen with an organization that has legal responsibility – that’s our institute? Do I not have the duty and the right to answer potentially slanderous claims against us if they are made? And am I to shut up because I am a public servant, even though these things are done to me and the organization that I represent?”

Baptiste said if that is the law, then that is very unfair.

Last week Wednesday, Cecil ‘Blazer’ Williams, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, sharing his views generally on the repeal of the Public Officers (Conditions of Employment Act) in 2005, stated that some people think they have a cart blanche authority to do and say anything.

“People believe because the Public Officers (Conditions of Employment Act) was abolished that means that you don’t have any disciplinary control over people. That is not so,” said Williams.

“I think people misunderstand the nature of that act,” Williams emphasized.