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Asheida is back with a vengeance

Asheida Charles – a former carnival queen who is now engaged in social activism

Political activist Asheida Charles has resurfaced on social media with a stinging attack against what she says is attempts by the ruling party to gag her anti-government speech.

Charles rose to prominence as a youth activist, posting regularly on social media, addressing a wide selection of social and political issues.

Last week, the former carnival queen posted a comment hinting at victimisation targeted at her and shortly after removed her Facebook profile where her commentaries normally appear under the name Nevaeh Newman.

Her dramatic exit from the Facebook platform stirred up national conversation about what is being viewed as a growing trend of muzzling people engaged in free speech of an anti-government nature.

In a Live commentary Sunday, Charles addressed the issue, explaining that management at the Call Centre where she works as a department head, called her into a meeting during which she was asked to stop speaking publicly about the Prime Minister of Grenada and on political issues.

According to Charles, management told her that she was free to continue commenting on social issues related to domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Charles quoted her boss as saying, “We are asking you to manage the things you (say)”.

She said management also expressed concern that her “political stance” could give the perception to potential employment applicants that they would be unfairly denied a job because of their political affiliation.

She did not say whether she was given an ultimatum by her bosses to stop her anti-government commentary or lose her job nor did she offer a clear explanation about why she temporarily left social media.

However she did send a clear statement that going forward her activism will not be silenced.

Charles said she is convinced that the position taken by company management has been orchestrated by the NNP government.

“Only the government of Grenada and NNP would benefit from my silence”, she remarked.

The female activist also said she has no contractual obligation to manage what she says publicly, outside of working hours.

In an almost hour and a half long rant – mostly directed at the government – Charles also went after members of the public who questioned or criticised what appeared to be her decision to leave the public commentary scene.

Her departure from social media had been viewed by some as giving in to pressure but she received support from many more.

“The next move, the only move is to continue the journey for political change in our country,” said Charles as she ended her commentary.