HRI says Shams, co-defendants innocent

Human Rights International (HRI) has asserted in a letter to Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, that Lambirds Academy CEO, Doctor Iftekhar Shams and his three co-defendants are innocent.

The four are facing charges of human trafficking.

Shams had two other charges against him dropped.

In a February 22, 2017 letter to Prime Minister Chastanet, Barrister Monwar Hossain, the HRI Secretary General, said the international human rights group is  yet to fathom and the Saint Lucian Government to find out, the reason for the accusations against Shams and his colleagues.

Hossain’s letter named a number of local officials and police officers.

The letter said they had brought ‘huge’ shame and expense on Saint Lucia by pursuing the Lambirds case which has seen 45 adjournments.

The letter urged Chastanet to ask the named individuals for an explanation.

According to the HRI letter, the organization believes that Doctor Shams came here in 2014 at the invitation of Invest Saint Lucia, having long wanted to establish a worldwide chain of training institutes.

HRI expressed the view that  the warm welcome from the Government, Invest Saint Lucia and the attractive Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), made Shams decide to start with a Cooking and Hospitality training institute.

HRI is of the view that the initiative could have easily added $3.2M (US) to the Saint Lucian foreign currency reserve annually in its initial years, the letter indicated.

It noted that Shams invested more than what was required by the higher investment threshold for the CIP Programme at that time in two campuses and two training restaurants.

According to the HRI letter, in January of 2015, students started flying in and classes started.

It observed that the students were vetted and visas were approved by the Saint Lucia Immigration office.

“They came in through international airports crossing those immigrations, came with genuine Saint Lucian Visa, interviewed by the Immigration Officer at the Saint Lucia Airport again, welcomed by the Institute Representative and then taken to their initial accommodation arranged by the Institute,” the letter observed.

HRI stated that the students were attending school when the Lambirds Academy saga happened.

“Just because two students at the time of the raid were in the practical training class in the restaurant taking the cooking lessons, RSLPF came up with the brilliant idea of charging Dr. Shams with Human Trafficking. Can you fit the situation in any way even remotely close to Human Trafficking?” The letter said.

The HRI letter to the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia expressed concern about the pace of the Lambirds Academy trial, the continued incarceration of three co-defendants and the safety of Doctor Shams in the face of what was described as frivolous lawsuits that do not have any basis, substance or proof.

The organization stressed that it would appeal to the Privy Council if needed to prove the innocence of Shams and his co-defendants.


  1. sharon terrell
    March 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Sure they innocent,kenny leather face kennyochio Anthony set them up then stick them up.Year the old gray mare.Now is time to stick him up arrest jason.

  2. tenman
    March 12, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    It would be helpful if the writer could provide some background on HRI which this shyster heads. Barrister Monwar Hossain is a UK based lawyer who specializes in immigration law.

    1. Jusna Miah
      March 16, 2017 at 9:46 pm

      The HRI started working since 1994 under the leadership of the then British senior Member of Parliament (MP) Robert Perry. It has intervened in many cases worldwide and secured justices for many people. Barrister Monwar Hossain is a lawyer in the UK specialised in Human Rights Law, Civil Litigation and UK Immigration & Nationality Law. He is a reputable lawyer working in the human rights field for many years. I ask the readers to look into the definition of human trafficking and also the purpose of this offence from the UN website, and I believe, you will find the charge against Dr Shams can’t stand.

  3. Anonymous
    March 12, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    My only observation in this matter is that since Dr. shams was legally facilitated in setting up his business here, and since the Government did all the due diligence that was necessary, then Dr. Shams should not be left holding the bag all by himself. at the very least, the Government must be considered as having been complicit in the matter. On this technicality, therefore, the human trafficking charges against the gentleman should be withdrawn or dismissed, especially in light of the fact that the matter of refunding the students has been settled. In the final analysis, Dr. Shama should regard the entire affair as a failed business venture, pack his bags, and leave the island quietly. But he may wish to stay tuned to developments involving the DSH project in Vieux Fort, just to give himself some comic relief.

  4. Anonymous
    March 12, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    Hmmmmmmmm; well well

  5. Anonymous
    March 12, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    The gentleman was supported all along by the Government of the day. How then can he be charged with these offences? Shouldn’t the Government share the responsibility for how things turned out? I believe that Dr. Shams should be found not guilty on a technicality, to wit, that he acted above oars all along, with support from the St. Lucia Government. And I agree that he should leave the island and consider that programme to have been a failed business venture.

  6. deleted
    March 12, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Should read:that he acted above board…….

  7. deleted
    March 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    In light of what is happening to Dr. Shams, we need to take careful note of the DSH project in Vieux Fort. If, God forbids, that project fails, I hope this Government in general, and the current Prime Minister, in particular, will take responsibility for such failure. In fact, we have to look closely at ALL projects that the Government is pursuing at the moment anD note whether due diligence is being done or not. What is good for the Lambirds goose must also be good for the gander DSH or the fishy Dolphin chicken.

  8. Pankaiso
    March 13, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Dr Sharms pls call de names of all de police and other high up officials involved what a you afraid we want to no of the police and government official scandal or bacannal

  9. bambi
    March 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    It is the courts that will decide your fate not the Prime Minister.

  10. Anonymous
    March 13, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    I have followed this case very carefully and is eager to see the evidence that will equate this saga to any ” human trafficking.”

  11. Anony
    March 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    Last court hearing was on 16th of march…
    Any lead?
    Are they released?

  12. Anonymous
    June 22, 2017 at 10:07 am

    the government and these all peoples are foolish …they are only harassing the students who applied in this college …. bcoz they will never clarify the case and college will never refund the money … we sell our home when we apply for this college … college suddenly closed …we never receive the refund … from last three years we are still waiting …..they are harassing us .. i don’t know these people don’t have family, emotion ??(Words deleted)