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March 12, 2010
No award for Anesia

SEARCHLIGHT has been reliably informed that an award ceremony which had been scheduled to take place here on Tuesday, March 9, to honour Anesia Baptiste, was cancelled at the last moment.{{more}}

Baptiste, the Communications Manager in the Ministry of Tourism, was slated to be honoured by the United States Embassy in Bridgetown under the United States Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Awards for 2010 at Frenches House, Kingstown, even though she was not one of the eight finalists.

Last week Friday, a local newspaper stated that she was among 80 exceptional women to be recognized for the courage and leadership shown in the struggle for social justice and human rights.

Baptiste, though not one of the finalists, was expected to be recognized here. 

When contacted on Wednesday, she told SEARCHLIGHT there wasn’t any award ceremony.

“Quite frankly all I have to say is that there was no award ceremony. I don’t have any information to give because any decision was not made by me. So I am really not the one to speak to that. All I can affirm and confirm is that there was no award ceremony,” said Baptiste.

SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday contacted John Roberts, Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy Bridgetown, Barbados, to ascertain why the ceremony had been cancelled.

Roberts responded that in reference to those who were chosen to receive the prestigious award, the U.S. Embassy prefers not to comment on its nominees. 

He however, stated, “We understand that Anesia Baptiste has been an active advocate for the rights of women, for environmental protection, and for HIV/AIDS awareness.”

When asked specifically about the ceremony which had been expected to take place here, Roberts said: “It’s against our policy to comment on the nominees.”

Persons interested in the matter have been asking if the cancellation of the ceremony had anything to do with the disciplinary proceedings Baptiste is currently facing by the Public Service Commission or if the reversal had anything to do with her publications in January 2009 about the Barack Obama Administration.

In a local newspaper publication of January 23, 2009 Baptiste wrote: “It is no wonder therefore that Obama’s cabinet picks consist of Zionist Jews, rich Jewish international bankers with a new world order agenda, sons of terrorists, warlords and financial criminals.

“Obama’s Chief of Staff –Rahm Emmanuel is “the son of an Israeli physician who was a gun runner for the Irgun, an Israeli Terrorist group that murdered Arab civilians in Palestine between 1931 and 1948.”

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were expected to host the annual International Women of Courage Awards on Wednesday, March 10, 2010 at the Department of State in Washington.

Meanwhile, yesterday, Matthew Thomas and Junior Bacchus, two radio talk show hosts here were expected to lead a protest march from the National Insurance Services (NIS) building which houses the Ministry of Tourism to the Financial Complex in support of Baptiste who was last week suspended and placed on half pay pending the outcome of 16 charges placed against her by the Public Service Commission for public criticism of the Government. (HN)