At the same time, and by the same means, I reached out to the current chairman of the People’s Action Movement, Mr. Maclure Taylor, as well as the party’s two elected representatives, Messrs. Eugene Hamilton and Shawn Richards. I had no response from Mr. Richards. However, quite appropriately, Mr. Taylor’s response was: “James I have seen the letters from Mr. Blanchette. He gave me a copy of the letters. I became Chairman with effect from 3rd April the Correspondence have not yet come up for discussion at executive; the next meeting will be after Easter”.
On the other hand, Mr. Hamilton’s response was: “I received your letter and confess that I know something about this subject but do not really know all. However if I was in Mr. Blanchette’s place I would have called for a meeting with the stakeholders and get this matter resolved rather burn bridges that in the end leaves him carrying the bag. I hope that in his haste to blame Grant he has not caused this matter to escalate beyond a solution.
Let’s look at the sequence of the events that brought us to this point.
- There was an election in November of 2004 which PAM lost
- PAM felt hard done so they petitioned the court to declare null and void, the results in Constituencies 1, 4 and 8.
- In time, and upon the advice of counsel, the petition in respect of Constituency 1 was withdrawn for “…lack of strong evidence…”.
- The matter to award costs was heard and was determined in favour of the respondents.
Bear in mind that the withdrawal of a petition does not halt the wheels of justice and, in light that the court’s time and efforts, as well as those of the respondents would have been encroached upon, there must come a day of reckoning. It was that day of reckoning that Mr. Blanchette was concerned about why he endeavoured to draw early attention to it.
His first letter, dated January 12, 2011, went to the party’s chairman of the day, Mr. Sidney Osborne, and was copied to the party’s Political Leader, Mr. Lindsay Grant, as well as the two elected parliamentary representatives, Messrs. Eugene Hamilton and Shawn Richards. To that letter, Mr. Blanchette says, “…I have not received a response…”.
Having not received a response, and with his day of reckoning fast approaching, he wrote another letter, dated March 31, 2011, addressed to the newly-elected chairman of the party, Mr. Maclure Taylor, seeking, as did his previous letter, “…to be properly represented and indemnified…”.
Now, having come from an insurance background, I latched on to the word “indemnified”. It jumped out at me because it happens to be the essence of the business I was involved in practically all of my working life. It means that at person who suffers an insured loss and seeks to be indemnified, first has the legal right to be, and with that right, has to be returned to the position he occupied immediately prior to his loss. In essence, he should be neither worse off nor better off when all is said and done.
This, to my mind, is exactly what Mr. Blanchette sought when he mentioned those words in his pieces of correspondence to the powers that be within the People’s Action Movement. However, the fact that there were no responses to either of his letters (dated January 12th and March 31st, 2011), must have occasioned or significantly contributed to his consternation over the millstone that he felt would have been placed about his neck.
Let’s get back to Mr. Hamilton’s assessment. He opined that had he been in Mr. Blanchette’s position, he would have “…called a meeting of the stakeholders and get this matter resolved rather burn bridges that in the end leaves him carrying the bag.” However, given that neither one of the persons who received copies of Mr. Blanchette’s letters bothered to respond to him, how was he expected not to feel that the party had considered the bridges already burnt? How was he not to have felt abandoned when, on December 10th, 2010, as he mentioned in his statement, Ms. Constance Mitcham told the court that she had not received any instructions from the party in relation to his matter? How much optimism was he expected to have when nothing positive seemed to have been coming in his direction, from the party?
It is no secret that Mr. Blanchette was among five former Peoples Action Movement candidates who called for Mr. Grant’s resignation over what they called the Marriott Bribery Scandal. Neither is it any secret that Mr. Blanchette was dismissed from The Democrat in the aftermath. I have no opinion on that because if the party’s position was the retention of Mr. Grant, then Mr. Blanchette should have expected that his tenure with The Democrat would shortly have come to an end. But none of this has anything to do with the matter hand because, at the material time that the petition was filed, Mr. Blanchette was firmly in bed with the party.
I do believe that, notwithstanding the fact that Mr. Blanchette and the People’s Action Movement have parted ways, given that, at the time of the filing of the petition it would not have been expected for him to personally finance the effort, he should not be expected to do so at this juncture. That is, unless there is some provision within the constitution of the party that speaks definitively to this situation.
I trust that he has not been hung out to dry.