Former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to London, Doctor Ernest Hilaire, has said that the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), made no deal with Saudi billionaire, Doctor Walid Juffali.
Juffali was appointed as this country’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The government here has refused calls to waive the Saudi national’s diplomatic immunity, to facilitate a civil case by his ex wife who is claiming part of his fortune in Britain.
“There is no deal. There was no deal making. The Labour Party does not operate that way,” Doctor Ernest Hilaire declared last night during the MBC Television programme – Current Affairs.
“When Stephen Segal was made an Ambassador, was there a deal?” He asked.
Hilaire, who is the ruling party’s candidate to contest the Castries South seat in the next elections, asserted that the Juffali affair does not matter to the people he has visited in his electoral campaign.
“I think that individuals are excited by the fact that somebody who has shown and who has a track record of service and commitment to Saint Lucia, is making himself available to represent the constituency,” the former High Commissioner said.
He disclosed that he has spoken to persons outside of the constituency who have said that all the questions relating to the Juffali matter have been answered, but are being repeated over and over again.
Hilaire felt that this represented desperation on the part of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP).
“They need to have something to centre their campaign around; they need to have something to give the semblance of scandal of corruption and therefore that is an opportunity. They tried it with Grynberg; it did not work; they tried it with IMPACS and it is not exactly working,” he observed.
As to Juffali’s qualifications for appointment as this country’s permanent representative to the IMO, Doctor Ernest Hilaire said:
“Did I have qualifications? I served as the permanent representative.”
According to him, he attended only one meeting of the IMO.
Hilaire explained that technical people e with actual skills attend the technical sessions and do all the detailed work that has to be done.