Why Caribbean News failed: Death of Regional Leader touted as Breaking News close to 18 hours after the fact

As the programme originated with Caribvision, I have a strong belief that the “
News” broke across the Caribbean at the same time which would have been close to 12:30 pm today – but if everyone knows it’s merely a matter of any second before St Lucia’s Sir John Compton would succumb to the rigours of attempting to resume office at the age of 82 AND he died last night…

Then how on God’s Green Earth could this be construed as BREAKING NEWS?

This brings to mind the dusty old adage of how if the people are lacking in vision then it only stands to reason they will perish!

A Headline item, without a doubt – Sir John was pretty much the last of a generation of Caribbean politicos! But an item to disrupt your regularly scheduled programming? Only if you are prepared to issue the item as it happens, such as how CBC’s Evening News changed 5 minutes before airtime when Malcolm Marshall died – headlines were redone, guests were cancelled and new ones rushed in – a lot of drama and a night when the team actually lived up to being a News crew!

(Nobody knew this but every time at the end of the Evening News I’d always say thanks to our News Crew or New Screw – it was my way of
having a private joke in saying how it’s another night of those idiots – be they editor, director, producer or some cameraman – having found a new way for f**king things up, LOL! Plus there was a time when there was a story about a female creme that was touted to be like Viagra, it was called VIACREME – back then, everyone expected me to make a joke and were ready to cut, but I kept a straight face and what I said sailed straight past CBC and I had my own last laugh; “WE’VE CUM TO THE END OF ANOTHER EDITION OF THE EVENING NEWS” As I made sure to keep the voice neutral and have a straight face, so it sailed right past their moronic heads, ROFLMAO!!!)

Enough digression – Sir John did die and he does deserve coverage even if the nature of it can be debated – it seems Kenny Anthony is looking to adopt Politics Of Inclusion and venerate someone who actually made him demit office in December 2006

St Lucia’s Opposition Leader Dr Kenny Anthony says the late Prime Minister Sir John Compton will be remembered as a visionary who deserves the status of National Hero.

?Despite our criticism on his policies, philosophies and his style of governance the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) praises without reservation the impressive achievement of Sir John in leading St Lucia out of the final shackles of colonialism, throughout many turbulent times and forever keeping the interests of St Lucia on the forefront on both regional and international fora,” he said.

Anthony, whose party was defeated by the Sir John-led United Workers Party in last December?s general election, said there was no doubt that the late prime minister displayed commitment, dedication, thoughtfulness and sacrifice in all of his dealings with the country?s business.

?He would never want to pontificate; never want to grand stand, instead he believed in the practical approach to getting things done. As St Lucian we all have to be grateful to him and his family for having giving so much of his life for the advancement of our country.

?When our country will reach the stage of public recognition of National Heroes we in the SLP stand in full support of Sir John being named as a National Hero,? he told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC)

Commenting on exactly how St. Lucians would remember Sir John, Dr. Anthony said he would be remembered as the politician who laid the base for modernising the St Lucia economy.

The opposition leader said the prolonged illness and eventual death of the Father of the Nation, who was off the job since he suffered a series of strokes in May, was a learning experience for both government and opposition.

The SLP leader also called on all St Lucians to unite and forget the political division that currently existed.

He said the immediate thing was to arrange for a successor to Sir John, and said he hoped the matter was resolved as quickly as possible.

Sir John is a man who accomplished much in his eight decades of life, you’ll see a part where you could say he was an anonymous blogger who defied the Government of the day at that time –

  • 7th August 1951 Called to the Bar in Saint Lucia. Joins the St. Lucia Workers Union and the St. Lucia Labour Party.
  • 1954 (Oct. 18th) 2nd election under Adult suffrage. Compton ran for elections to enter the Legislative Council as an independent candidate, for the Dennery/Micoud constituency. Becomes Member for Social Affairs on the Executive Council.
  • 1st March 1956 Introduction of Ministerial government. Compton is a political columnist writing in the Workers Clarion under the pseudonym of “Jack Spaniard.”
  • 1957 Involvement in six-week sugar workers’ strike. Saves George Charles from serious injury from a police bayonet; appears before Dennery court, in July, to answer charges arising from the strike. The two charges dealt with obstruction of public roads. He is convicted and fined. Rejoins the St. Lucia Labour Party. Labour Party Convention adopts new constitution.

Compton elected Deputy Political Leader with George Charles as Leader. Labour Party chooses the star as its Party symbol. 3rd General Elections under Adult Suffrage. Labour Party wins seven out of the eight seats.

John Compton becomes Minister for Trade and Production.

  • June 1963 Choiseul by-election occasioned by the accidental death of Gilbert Albert Mason of the St. Lucia Labour Party. The by-election contested by the SLP, NLM and PPP (Peoples Progressive Party). The SLP candidate J.M.D. Bousquet won the election and replaced the late Gilbert Mason on the Executive Council of the Government.

Towards the end of 1963, John Compton moves a no-confidence vote against the George Charles Government, over issues concerned with the banana industry.

  • 1964 In April 1st, J.M.D. Bousquet and Allan Bousquet resign from the Labour Government. This was occasioned by disagreement over proposed legislation to govern the Banana Association.

The National Labour Movement (NLM) merges with the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP) to form the United Workers Party (UWP). This takes place at Vieux Fort on Easter Sunday and Monday, March 29th and 30th. The embattled Labour Government calls elections for 25th June.

The United Workers Party wins eight of the ten constituency seats in the general election.

George Charles (South Castries) and Martin Jean Baptiste (Anse la Raye/Canaries) retain their seats for Labour. The two Bousquet brothers ran as Labour Independents, but joined the UWP after elections.

John Compton appointed Chief Minister of Saint Lucia.

  • 1st March 1967 Saint Lucia attains Statehood in Association with Britain under a new Constitution. John Compton becomes the island’s Premier. In that year (1968?) he marries Janice Clarke, daughter of the first Saint Lucian-born Governor, Sir Frederick Clarke.
  • 1969 General Elections. The United Workers Party won six of the ten constituency seats.
  • 1972 A series of resignations, including that of deputy Premier and Education Minister Hunter Francois, rocks Compton’s UWP. Opposition forces are bolstered by inclusion of George Odlum and others and bring much pressure to bear on the UWP.
  • 1974 UWP wins controversial general elections 10 seat to 7. Party convention adopts resolution urging government to move to independence alone.
  • 1975 House of Assembly adopts resolution authorising government to proceed to independence.
  • 1979 Independence attained on February 22. UWP loses general elections three months later and Labour Party comes to power. Internal dissension rises in the ruling party over its leadership.
  • 1982 Labour government collapses and in fresh general elections Compton is returned to power with biggest majority of his career 14 seats to three. Went on to win other elections (including two within a month in 1987 and then 1992).

  • 1993 Establishes annual Nobel laureate Day (January 23rd) and Nobel laureate Week to celebrate the achievements of Nobel laureates Sir Arthur Lewis (Economics 1979) and Derek Walcott (Literature 1992.)
  • 1996 Announces retirement from leadership of both party and government. A by-election in Castries Central brings Vaughn Lewis into the leadership of party and Government.
  • 1997 Receives a Knighthood.
  • 2001 Compton is back in the political fray and working with George Odlum and others to form a National Alliance to oppose the Labour Party in elections due in 2002, but the attempt fails and Labour capitalizes on the failure. They call and win early general elections in December 2001.
  • 2002 Sir John receives CARICOM’s highest honour – The Order of the Caribbean Community.
  • 2005 A poll reveals that there is a growing desire for Compton to return to leadership of UWP.
  • 2006 Compton contests UWP leadership and beats Vaughan Lewis two to one. Leads UWP to resounding victory over the SLP on 11th December.
  • 2007 Presents new government’s fiscal budget but falls ill shortly afterwards, at the end of April.
  • 7th September 2007 – Prime Minister the Right Honourable Sir John George Melvin Compton, SLC, OCC, KCMG, LLB (Hons.), passes away on the evening of Friday 6th Sept ’07 at 6:50 at the Tapion Hospital.

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