Kenny Anthony


Kenny Anthony
Dr. Kenny Anthony
5th Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
In office
May 24, 1997 – December 15, 2006
Preceded by Dr. Vaughan Lewis
Succeeded by Sir John Compton
Personal details
Born January 8, 1951 (1951-01-08) (age 60)
Laborie, Saint Lucia (then a British colony)
Political party Saint Lucia Labour Party
Spouse(s) Rose Mary Antoine Anthony
Religion Anglican

Kenny Davis Anthony (born January 8, 1951[1]) was the fifth Prime Minister of Saint Lucia from 1997 to 2006. He is the leader of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the Leader of the Opposition.

Anthony is a graduate of the University of the West Indies and the University of Birmingham. In the Labour government that led the country from 1979 to 1982, Anthony was Special Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Culture from August 1979 to December 1980, then Minister of Education from December 1980 to March 1981. He was a member of the secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from March 1995[1] until he was elected leader of the Labour Party. He became Prime Minister on May 24, 1997, a day after the SLP won parliamentary elections. While Prime Minister, he was also the Minister of Finance and Broadcasting.

Kenny D. Anthony is an Honorary Member of The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

General election defeat

In the general elections held on 11 December 2006, the SLP suffered a surprise defeat by 11 seats to 6 at the hands of the John Compton-led UWP. While the SLP lost the election by 5 seats, the popular vote margin was in fact very slim, just over 2000 votes. Anthony himself won a handsome victory in his constituency, Vieux Fort South, winning by 627 votes, only a few less than in the SLP's landslide election victory, thus indicating that his popularity may not be as compromised as first supposed. No word has come from him regarding his next political move. Pundits are suggesting that his perceived arrogance was responsible for his party's performance at the said polls. Some speculate that Dr. Anthony will not be retained as the party's political leader at the party's next national convention.[citation needed] Anthony said after the election that he intended to remain head of the party and that party delegates would decide at the next annual conference whether he would continue in that position.[2]

During his leadership and his party's reign, Anthony led St. Lucia to record development in tourism, infrastructure and general economic development. However according to many, that economic development did not equally benefit many poorer St. Lucians, many of whom felt disenfranchised by the leader and party they once voted in. Another area of concern and perhaps a reason for the SLP loss was what many felt was a soft and helpless hand on crime. Together with much economic development came steady increases in violent crime at a rate higher than many neighbouring islands and that caused many to draw comparisons with Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.

Since the loss, Anthony (he holds a PHD in constitutional law) has vowed that he would continue to serve the country from the opposition being a strong voice together with the other 5 members of his party who were elected.

An interesting twist to the elections saga is that many feel that St. Lucians went to the polls not to elect a new government but to ensure that there would be a tougher opposition as against the 16-1 majority that the SLP had previously enjoyed. In a fate of irony, voters perhaps over-compensated for the frequent poll reports and political pundits' predictions that the SLP would again win a third term with a 14-3 majority. Many feel that, had Anthony himself not latched on to those poll results, he might have been better able to convince his own supporters that they were not yet in the clear and to turn out to vote in larger numbers. Further, the reaction of many voters to the crossing over of former UWP leader Vaughan Lewis to the SLP was not positive. Lewis was a staunch opponent of the Labour government and the former Prime Minister who had lost the elections to the SLP - albeit after being handed the post only one year before the fateful loss. Anthony and Lewis have both stated publicly that all the "bad blood" between them was now "water under the bridge". In late July 2007, Anthony said that Compton's illness, caused by a series of strokes, and inability to perform his duties (Stephenson King is acting Prime Minister) meant that a new election should be held.[3] Anthony was head of the Commonwealth of Nations observer mission in the August 2007 election in Sierra Leone. He gave the election a positive appraisal.[4]

In March 2008, Anthony visited Cuba where he voiced his appreciation for its support of Saint Lucia. He toured Havana and Cienfuegos Province, and met with senior officials including First Vice President José Ramón Machado Ventura.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Government page on Anthony.
  2. ^ "Dr. Anthony places his fate in the hands of SLP delegates", Radiojamaica.com, December 22, 2006.
  3. ^ "Former St. Lucia PM Calls For New Elections", Hardbeatnews.com, July 27, 2007.
  4. ^ "Observers hail polls in Sierra Leone", AFP (IOL), August 13, 2007.
  5. ^ "St Lucia Thanks Cuban Aid", Prensa Latina, March 23, 2008.
Preceded by
Vaughan Lewis
Prime Minister of Saint Lucia
1997–2006
Succeeded by
John Compton

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