Prime Minister, Doctor Kenny Anthony, has told a crowd of supporters of his ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party, SLP, that Saudi billionaire, Doctor Walid Juffali, fell in love with this country and intends to invest here.
Juffali has become the focus of controversy as a result of reports that although appointed as this country’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization, IMO, there is no public record of him ever attended a meeting of the organization.
The Saudi national is facing legal action from his former wife, Christina Estrada, who is laying claim to a share of his properties in Britain, but the government here has declined to waive his immunity to allow this case to proceed.
But Prime Minister Doctor Kenny Anthony disclosed last night that Juffali has decided to establish a diabetes research facility here, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.
Said Anthony in obvious reference to calls from United Workers Party, UWP, leader Allen Chastanet for the government to sack the Saudi billionaire:
“What is it about Allen Chastanet that he could not accept the progress of the people of this country, that he would not accept an investment that will touch the life of every Saint Lucian?”
Earlier Anthony had noted that statistically, Saint Lucia has the highest per capita rate of diabetes in the world.
He had also disclosed that his brother and Mother had died from the disease, and asserted that some in the crowd, a relative or a loved one would have been suffering from the disease.
“Jufffali is one of the richest men in Saudi Arabia, and all that has happened is that Juffa decided that he was going to get a divorce in his country, Saudi Arabia,” Anthony disclosed.
According to him, Juffali got a divorce, married another woman, went to live in England and the first wife decided that she did not get enough of his billions and filed a case in the UK.
Anthony asked since when a government gets involved in the private business of individuals.
He said Saint Lucia is the only place where that kind of logic can be heard.
The Saint Lucia Prime Minister, a former University of the West Indies Law Lecturer, told the crowd that a private matter if different from a criminal matter.
“If any diplomatic official commits a criminal offence then the government is duty bound to lift their diplomatic protection,” he asserted.