August 24, 2012
Former senator Anesia Baptiste forms new political party

Anesia Baptiste, former senator for the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), announced yesterday the formation of a new political party — the Democratic Republican Party (DRP).{{more}}

“David has arisen to overthrow the Goliaths,” said Baptiste, who turned 32 on August 12.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace fired the national scholar from the Senate in April after she said she would not obey an NDP policy that prohibits potential candidates for the NDP from commenting adversely on religion.

“Since my dismissal from the House of Parliament …

“I have received a number of calls and requests from persons at home and abroad to start a new political party. I have decided to heed the call of the people,” Baptiste, a former member of the ruling Unity Labour Party further said.

The DRP, Baptiste said, is based on democracy — “where each person who is entitled to vote, votes, and the majority rules”. It is also based on republicanism, “which says that in the process of governing, that it will ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of all people …”

In announcing the policies of the party, Baptiste said that the DRP has ideas to make the country become economically prosperous and to create social justice for Vincentians, and how to evoke expertise from within Vincentians to help build a much better society.

She listed 10 DRC policies:

l The introduction of a new tax structure to completely close the gap between the “haves” and the “haves not”, without destroying business initiatives and wealth creating from the business community.

l The stimulation of business and job creation.

l The implementation of social policies to help the poor and needy.

l The training of people in various skills in education, science and technology to allow them to compete with first world, developed countries.

l The strengthening and protection of religious liberty and the freedom of the press.

l The implementation of an agricultural policy to make SVG become a food basket in the Caribbean

l The implementation of policies to make SVG become a major tourist haven in the Caribbean.

l Promoting an exponential development in healthcare and the availability of medicine for the people of SVG.

l The promotion of training in various sporting disciplines to ensure the people of SVG are competitive enough to win gold medals in the Olympics.

l The development of entertainment, arts and culture, in the country.

Baptiste displayed t-shirts, which bore the symbol of the new party: a blue clenched fist over a red heart, with a white banner and the inscription “I Am A Democratic Republican”.

“The blue colour represents law — the rule of law principle that none is above the law and leaders are accountable to the people. The raised clenched fist represents the power of the people to rule their affairs through the offices they lend us as leaders.

“The red colour represents the sacrifice, blood and hard work of this party for the people, out of a heart of love for the people, genuine service to the people, and not out of opportunism,” Baptiste explained.

“The white colour represents the purity of the party. It has a zero-tolerance policy to corruption. It has integrity…

“Therefore, when the people power prevails through their representatives’ respect for the rule of law, out of a heart of love, sacrifice and hard work to the people and not opportunism, the country will wear a banner of purity, in a governance of integrity transparency and accountability. This is the pledge of the Democratic Republican Party,” she added.

Baptiste called on the public to become members of the party, and join with her in what she termed as a noble venture.

She said that membership of the party would consist of all citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, regardless of age, class or creed, who desire to support the part’s policies, and register and vote as democratic republicans.

“No religious test shall be required to qualify any person for membership of, and, or candidacy for any seat for the Democratic Republican Party.

“There is always a first, and nothing is impossible, certainly not with God, and when you are doing the right thing,” she said.

In February 2010, the Public Service Commission slapped the former communications manager at the Ministry of Tourism with 16 charges for comments she made while campaigning for the NDP-led “Vote No” campaign in the 2009 constitution referendum.

She was sent home on half pay in March 2010 and was appointed to the Senate after the December 2010 general election.

Baptiste has a Bachelor of Arts degree in French with a minor in linguistics from the University of the West Indies and a double master’s degree in hotel and tourism management from the Vatel Institute and the University of Perpignan, both in France.

She is also entering her final year reading law with the University of London.