Juffali’s diplomatic status under review

The diplomatic status of Saint Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Doctor Walid Juffali, is under review.

The disclosure came from Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, in an interview with the Times.

“We just swore the cabinet in, so we will be looking into exactly what the conditions are with respect to his Ambassadorship,” the new head of government told the Times.

In February this year, Chastanet’s United Workers Party (UWP) which was in opposition, said one of the first things it would do in government was to revoke Juffali’s appointment.

This amid a controversy over the Saudi billionaire’s representation of this country.

A British High Court Judge had ruled that Juffali secured his diplomatic posting with Saint Lucia, solely  to  avoid a multi-million pound divorce suit brought by his super-model ex-wife.

.Chastanet said his administration also wants to determine the status of Juffali’s proposed diabetes research centre project here.

He revealed that the new United Workers Party (UWP) government intends to deal swiftly not only with the matter of the appointment of the Saudi national, but with several other diplomatic postings as well.

Chastanet told the Times that his government is now discovering that several persons have been appointed as ambassadors.

“What is more disconcerting is that the ambassadors have actually been given contracts which exceed the time limit of their term,” the Prime Minister said.

Chastanet asserted that everybody would know and recognize that ambassadors are appointed to serve at the pleasure of a Prime Minister.

He explained that to give people contracts without any “out clauses” presents a difficult situation.

The Prime Minister explained that his new government intends to rectify the problem as quickly as possible.

Chastanet indicated that it was normal convention for ambassadors to be given limited terms, unless they are professionals.

“I can understand that sometimes successive governments may want to keep someone there,  recognizing that they are professional,” he remarked.

However he observed that there are diplomats who are clearly appointed by an administration because of an awareness of the administration’s policies.

“This is the first time that this has happened in Saint Lucia and we are looking into the matter,“ Chastanet said.

He added:

“We haveour lawyers giving us advice in terms of how we ought to proceed with this situation.”

Chastanet’s United Workers Party (UWP), won the June 6, 2016 general elections by a margin of 11 to the then ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party’s six seats.