In the annals of St Lucian political legend, there is no fable more treacherous than “The Tale of Neville Cenac.” If George Charles was John the Baptist and Compton and Odlum competed for the role of Christ,
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From being the lifelong adversary of Compton and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Cenac made a leap of whatever the opposite of faith is, to become Compton’s foreign minister. Sounds like the path of personal prosperity. But Cenac reaped tears on both sides of the political fence.
He was practically flung from Olympus by the Labour Party after single-handedly battling the despair of being in the weakest opposition of all time, up til that point. (The poor guy only had the comedic stylings of Cecil Lay for his backa. John Odlum was also in opposition, but for the PLP.)
Cenac deserved to be Political Leader of Labour in 1987, if only because of that. And there can be little doubt that he had the makings of a great leader. Or at least a good one. Inarguably better than any of the other political leaders in both parties, with the notable exceptions of Kenny Anthony and John Compton.
But in the mid-80s, that was quite irrelevant.
Labour didn’t need a great and deserving leader who had kept the party’s honor in Parliament in those dark days in the political wilderness.
Labour needed change.
And the name of change was Julian Hunte.
Cenac practically annointed Hunte as his successor, a move that calmed tensions between Labour's warring tribes. Then, the party blew its nose with Neville and put him away. To be fair, he was not cast aside like an old tissue, as they did with George Charles, Kenneth Foster and Allen Louisy before him. He was at least good enough to be treated like a handkerchief. To be re-used.
The true story of what happened next has yet to be told in full. Patience, children. Soon come.
But in the not-so-true story, Cenac was painted as the biggest Judas bastard sellout sonofabitch since Judas Ischariot laid his macoumere lips on Our Lord and Saviour. Ironically, the person who was holding the paintbrush was none other than Compton’s former press secretary, Rick ‘Hypacrisy’ Wayne, a man who, at that point, had switched from anti-Compy to P.R.O.-Compy and back to anti-Compy again. Wayne assiduously propagated and purveyed the fable of Cenac’s treachery, both profiting from it and paying for it dearly. (Cenac sued him and won $50,000. And those are 1980s dollars we talking about, not the pathetic shekels that pass for money nowadays.)
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Rick paid for being too specific in the ways he called Cenac a sellout, but the moral victory was not yet won. Not even close. Cenac, if not Judas, was still Cain. Justice was done, but karma was quite incomplete. The one government minister who never went anywhere without his wife and who never spent a government dollar on her, the one man who took meticulous care never to abuse his privileges was written off by three generations of Lucians as immoral and corrupt.
Fast forward to 2013. No one would have seen the irony coming. The tables have turned. Rick turned them himself – the anti-hypocrite was exposed as the biggest hypocrite. The anti-hero made himself into a villain, for the sole purpose of showing Kenny Anthony who was the real boss.
Rick Wayne is now wandering the political and social wilderness with the disheveled devils who ransacked Compton’s kingdom. He spent the last decade in a raging vendetta against Kenny Anthony in particular. He persisted, even when it became clear that the last Flambeau government had gone way off the rails, strategically, politically and ethically. Over the last seven years in particular, truth, facts and journalism were damned as Wayne flailed away at the political legend he helped to create. And because some words cannot be taken back, Wayne now has no road home and no choice but to stick to his empty guns and the most politically inept friends anyone ever had.
Which all leads the student of political history, fable and legend to ask: Who is the real floor-crosser? Who is the unprincipled, self-serving master of treachery? Who’s the Judas, now?
Whet your appetite for Neville Cenac's book. Visit http://news.stluciastar.com/32490/