O.J. Seraphine
O.J. Seraphine

(Continued from last issue)

Even after Hurricane David, striking workers threatened the services at the Princess Margaret Hospital

Other opposition senators were also replaced by the O.J. Labour Administration with members of the Labour Party including Felix Thomas , Lynworth Cuffy ,Hilary Frederick, then Carib Chief was elevated to represent his people in parliament , Louis Robinson of Marigot and the then very successful business entrepreneur Lennard Pappy Baptiste who later became addicted to the politics of Dominica and became a flamboyant activist and eccentric crusader for his brand of change in the years to follow .

Pappy sought and applied to the O.J. government for his property at Canefield which was approved by the Planning Division as did the Shipwreck at Donkey Beach, Canefield .This property was later high jacked by the incoming Freedom administration.

Pappy's ability at business was very impressive having had ownership of a very updated extended bus, with television screens, which proved too big for the streets of Dominica at that time and was sent to St Maarten. He owned a high-end Cadillac in the Eighties ahead of the times. He also owned a merchant boat at that time which served the farming community. O.J was later his coordinator of shipping and opened the way for export into the BVI. Pappy had stores in Castle Bruce and Canefield selling household supplies at a price range which was very competitive. Interestingly Pappy egotistically contested the elections of 1985 in the constituency of the PM in Salisbury which distracted immensely the election of O.J Seraphin - his 34 votes overall though minute losing him his deposit did affect O.J who lost the elections by a mere 29 votes.

What was in fact a Labour Party returning to Government in late 1979 seem to have escaped pundits and historians even when O.J Seraphin announced in parliament that the "Labour Party is hydra headed- you cut one head another grows". The new cabinet in late 1979 comprised only of persons of the Labour Party including Mike Douglas, Minister of Finance who had earlier been dismissed by Patrick John.

The symbolic gesture of the removal of a coalition was particularly significant as it removed the undermining of Government by ministers of opposing parties on the eve of an election and was intended to placate Patrick John's Labour Party to join forces and be involved in the national reconstruction of post hurricane David. This despite agreed arrangements with PJ to play out the coming elections proved fruitless …to give the Democratic Labour Party a fighting chance at the polls by getting focused support from Labour voters as another Labour Party in the polls (and the Alliance) was the single most basic reason of the failure to form the government on 1980.

Of course, the presence of the Alliance Party in contesting that election with a wealth of young, talented, educated, eloquent individuals who despite sharing the youth energy in the country for the most part with OJ, they lost their deposits (as did PJ Labour) and did create the opportunity for the Freedom Party to emerge, without challenge to their base, as the Government.

That CSA having been involved with an acrimonious relationship with the Labour Party central government, spearheaded by the then general Secretary Charles Savarin, made a demand for an increase of over 100% in salary and wages after a massive hurricane, which had been a perennial confrontation with Government on salaries dispute and did see the movement out of office of two Labour leaders - E.O. LeBlanc and Patrick John.

The strategy of igniting confrontation by the unions - Civil Service and others was a political advocacy of opposition forces well placed in the trade union movement including the leadership of the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU), Louis Benoit, and Anthony Joseph of DAWU, the other prominent trade union. Interestingly Patrick John who suffered the brunt of hostility from WAWU was a founder member of that union.

Typically the trade union movement operates contra to the interest of the employer class- Dominica Employers Federation and the DAIC which then was also the base support of the Freedom Party. Indeed the founders of DTU and WAWU were part of the Labour movement of which the Labour Party emerged after universal adult suffrage of 1951.

Indeed the events of 16th December 1971 seemed to have been lost in the conspiracy of silence by writers historians and gurus where the Trade Unions played a leading role in the wanton attacks and destruction of the mace and mayhem in Parliament (this will be detailed in another publication as indeed the Papa Dee events at DBS radio and the arrest of the main protagonists of the CSA-Maximea and Symes).

Even after Hurricane David, striking workers threatened the services at the Princess Margaret Hospital to add pressure of increased wage demands as promoted by the Civil Service Association of Charles Savarin who was General Secretary of the CSA and popularly called then -the Ayatollah.

Savarin was later made an ambassador and sent abroad by the then incoming Government of the Freedom Party who may have feared his influence in the CSA but he later evolved as the leader of the Freedom Party following the death of Eugenia Charles and became a minister in the arranged Coalition Government of Freedom and Labour in 2000.

Savarin ascendency to the Presidency of Dominica, by a Freedom-oriented and influenced government, which grew out of the Coalition and regrouped as Labour in the elections which followed is considered a master plan which was well stage-managed and executed in a manner of the Trojan Horse.

(Details of this will be in another publication).