The leader of the United Workers Party, UWP, Allen Chastanet, has denied allegations that he squandered government finances while serving as Minister of Tourism in the last UWP administration.
“This allegation that I am out there spending money; I always say I have invested money because the things we did in tourism were about investment,” Chastanet asserted this week during a local television talk show.
“At the end of the day in regard to holding the CHA Marketplace here or having Seatrade in Saint Lucia, all these were investments,” the former Tourism Minister declared.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Tourism gets about 1.7 million dollars in allocations, while the Tourist Board got sometimes 35 million or up to fifty million dollars a year.
According to Chastanet, at the time the Chairman of the Board was Laurie Barnard, one of the most successful business people who was not a pushover.
The UWP leader recalled that he allowed the Hotels Association to appoint five members to the board to represent not themselves but the hotels association and the funds were managed by the board.
“Are you saying to me that Allen Chastanet was such a powerful individual with no constitutional power to override the decisions that the Tourist Board made, I was the one responsible for making the expenditure?”
“We had a plan and all decisions had to conform to that plan,” he noted.