Former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to London, Eldridge Stephens, deeming the current Walid Juffali affair a source of embarrassment to this country, has called on the Saint Lucia government to clear the air on the issue.
Juffali, the Chairman of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest conglomerates, has been serving as Saint Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, IMO, which gives him diplomatic immunity in Britain.
But the Saint Lucia government has refused to waive his immunity to facilitate legal proceedings against him by his wife.
Former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to London, Eldridge Stephens, has recalled that during his tenure, Saint Lucia had no Ambassador to the IMO.
The former Diplomat said that he, a member of his staff, or a representative from the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority, SLASPA, attended IMO meetings.
”There was really no need for someone given the amount of work we do with the IMO in terms of maritime affairs. I don’t know that we had such volume to appoint someone specifically. Not only someone but to have a non-national specifically hired for that position,” Stephens asserted.
The former Diplomat said there may be need to look a lot deeper into how Juffali’s appointment came about.
He revealed that during his time there was no shortage of individuals approaching governments to obtain honourary positions.
However Stephens said that the policy of the then United Workers Party government was to tread very cautiously.
According to reports, there is no record of Juffali attending any meetings of the IMO since his appointment in April 2014.
It has also been reported that he does not possess any known qualifications in maritime law.