PRESS RELEASE:- Whilst in Barbados last week, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is quoted in an interview with the Barbados Nation as stating that the United States deports several hundred criminal deportees to Saint Lucia.
He said that in “some years you had 500, 600, 800 criminal deportees including murderers.”
The Prime Minister added that the repatriation of nationals “is one of the most horrific things the US could have done to this region.”
In addition to being reckless, the Prime Minister’s statement is patently false.
What exactly was the Prime Minister attempting to achieve by painting our country as one which annually receives 800 criminal deportees from the United States of America? What is the message being conveyed to potential investors and visitors if not to suggest to them that Saint Lucia is not a safe country to either do business or visit?
None of what the Prime Minister has stated is true. The fact is that on average the United States deports less than 10 Saint Lucians annually, not all of whom are criminals.
Indeed, the United States Embassy, in a rare display of chiding a leader of a sovereign state, took the unusual position of publicly refuting Prime Minister Chastanet’s comments. According to the US Embassy, the US advised that the number of deportees over the past five years total less than 100 and that in 2015 the number was just 8. Where then did Prime Minister Chastanet get his figures?
Prime Minister Chastanet went further and indicated that the US had slashed funds allocated to the Caribbean’s security. Again, the US Embassy showed the Prime Minister’s assertion to be false indicating that funding had actually increased by 31% over the last year.
In his short political career, Allen Chastanet has consistently shown a blatant disregard for truth. Just last month, he publicly stated that he had signed documentation to bring about a reduction in petrol prices. Contrary to his stated position, however, petrol prices have already risen twice under his watch.
Additionally, during an earlier stint in government, the OECS Court of Appeal had found Mr. Chastanet not to be a credible witness. Now, Allen Chastanet’s penchant for exaggeration and prevarication has caused one of our country’s strongest allies to issue a stinging and embarrassing rebuke.
The Saint Lucia Labour Party calls on Allen Chastanet to ensure that his comments, whether made locally or internationally, should be based solely on the truth so as not to cause embarrassment to our country and earn rebukes from international powers.