Earl Huntley, former Saint Lucia Ambassador to the United Nations, has told the Times that a Judge’s ruling in the case involving Saudi billionaire, Doctor Walid Juffali, is extraordinary.
Juffali, currently Saint Lucia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is the subject of a court case with his ex-wife who is pursuing a claim to his fortune.
The government of Saint Lucia has refused a request from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to waive the Saudi national’s diplomatic immunity to allow the case to proceed.
“The Judge seems to be saying that Juffali is not an Ambassador since he obtained the diplomatic appointment because he wanted to block his wife. I call it extraordinary because judgement should be based on facts,” Ambassador Earl Huntley told the Times.
Huntley, who is also a former Caricom Ambassador to Haiti, said that the fact of the matter is that Juffali was appointed by a sovereign country.
He observed that the appointment was accepted by both the British and the IMO.
“To say that he is not an Ambassador is extraordinary because what it means is that a country can appoint an ambassador and a Judge can say that because the motive is suspect, the person is not an Ambassador,” Huntley asserted.
According to the former Ambassador, the ruling has implications for the way ambassadors and diplomats are appointed not only in Saint Lucia but elsewhere.
Huntley dismissed assertions that as Saint Lucia’s IMO representative, Juffali has not attended meetings of the organization.
He disclosed that the Saudi national has attended the IMO general assembly which is held every two years.
“You have to understand how these organizations operate,” he declared.
According to Huntley, the IMO has several committees, councils and sub committees which are usually attended by technical people.
He noted that Saint Lucia’s representatives to the IMO have usually been this country’s High Commissioners, who would not attend technical meetings but the general assembly or special meetings.
Huntley made reference to Doctor Edsel Edmunds who was this country’s Ambassador to Washington and Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
“Doctor Edmunds was based in Washington and only attended meetings of UN General Assembly once a year, while the technical people attended all the other meetings. Would you therefore say that he was not our representative?”