One of Grenada’s foremost leftist leaders, veteran trade unionist, Chester Humphrey has brushed aside suggestions that he should not hold the post of President of the Senate given his declared status as an atheist.
Humphrey, a leading figure in the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution, dismissed the notion that as someone who does not have a religious belief that he should not be holding the third most important position in the State.
In addressing the issue of his status in a television programme last week Wednesday, the controversial figure said his position as President of the Senate is consistent with the rights and freedom as enshrined in the 1974 Grenada Constitution.
According to Humphrey, although he is a committed Socialist and he is committed to humanity, and whatever he does is by virtue of his beliefs.
“I have no religion, I don’t hold religious views… My position is grounded in the fundamentals of the Grenada Constitution,” he said.
Sen. Humphrey indicated that in the current Constitution there are 18 fundamental rights and freedoms, and religion is not mentioned in any of them.
He stated that in Section 9 of the constitution, under the protection of fundamental rights and freedom, it calls for the protection of freedom of conscience.
“I have a right to my belief, and the Constitution doesn’t require you to have a particular belief… or to promote a particular belief.
You have “freedom of conscience,” he said.
Sen. Humphrey will this year mark his Silver Anniversary of being a Member of the Senate.
He said no one can deny that those 25 years were years of distinction in the Senate.
“No one can deny that my representation of Labour in the Senate is unparalleled,” he remarked.
Sen. Humphrey also commented on the much talked about “Project Grenada” initiative in which he and a number of expelled members of the main opposition Congress party are now associated with the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The once outspoken critic of the current Grenadian leader described “Project Grenada” as being an engagement in which the “narrow petty politics” is set aside, and to embrace the big, common issues that will benefit Grenada.
“Whatever we think about Dr. Keith Mitchell, whether we like him or not, the fact is that the people went to the polls (in February 2013) in a free and fair elections and elected him, they gave (him) all the Seats in the House. He has been the longest serving Prime Minister in the history of Grenada by far, and probably in the region (and) politically, he is exceedingly successful. That is not to say he has not had his own basket of mistakes and different issues, that is well known and documented. I have been a serious critic of him”, he said.
After the 2013 general elections, Humphrey failed in his bid to get another term in the Senate as the Labour representative in the Upper House.
The Grenada Trades Union Council (GTUC) threw their support behind its former General Secretary, Ray Roberts who did not back down to approaches made to him by Humphrey to serve a final 5-year term in the Senate.
About two years ago, PM Mitchell announced that Humphrey will replace Senator Lawrence Joseph as President of the Senate and to become the third highest office holder in the country.