Former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to London, Doctor Ernest Hilaire, has defended the appointment of Doctor Walid Juffali as this country’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
“You need somebody who can go to the plenary sessions when Saint Lucia has to present a paper that has stature,” Hilaire asserted.
He expressed the opinion that Juffali has such stature.
According to Hilaire, the Saudi billionaire is the Honourary Consul for Denmark, was given a Knighthood by a Pope and has some of the highest awards from leaders in the Middle East.
He observed that in all the talk about Juffali, nobody ever focusses on the fact that the Saudi national comes from a diplomatic background.
“Half of what goes on in diplomacy involves networking, lobbying and the personal contact that you can build with individuals. You have to have the personality and the skill,” Hilaire noted.
By way of example the former High Commissioner explained that if Saint Lucia wants assistance from a country like Panama, such matters are not decided in the meeting but by means of a diplomatic courtesy call and an invitation to lunch where the matter is raised.
Asked if Juffali could not lobby on Saint Lucia’s behalf without being appointed as a diplomatic representative of this country, Hilaire responded by saying that without an appointment the Saudi billionaire would have no official status.
He disclosed that when someone goes to a gathering and is presented as an Ambassador, that individual can speak on behalf of the country he represents because he has status and stature.