PRESS RELEASE:-UWP supports Investigation into Shawn Edwards handling of National Lottery. The MP Must Resign!
The United Workers Party is in support of a full and extensive investigation into the alleged abuse of office and the accusations of mismanagement of the funds of the National Lotteries Authority, during the time MP for Dennery North Shawn Edward had oversight over the organization.
The damning documents released in the House of Parliament and in the public domain, raise questions about the former Minister for Sports. It is alleged that during his tenure as Minister of Youth Development and Sports, Edwards gave directives to the Board of the National Lotteries Authority, to have an account that was set up by the previous Board be under the direct supervision of him as the Minister and it was therein referred to as the Ministers Account. The previous set up with this account was to finance small requests up to an amount of $5000 but Mr. Edward directed the board to assign 1/3 of the average $700,000 monthly funds of the lotteries to this account with the Minister having direct oversight.
Documents in the public domain further indicate that during the last six months leading up to the general elections of 2016, the Minister utilized this account as though it was a personal piggy bank and directed the board to expend a total of $2.09 Million dollars; with monthly amounts as high as $500,000 both in March and May 2016, conspicuously weeks before the polls.
The former Minister defended his tenure by indicating that he never signed any cheques and that the board was responsible for writing cheques. Based on the documents released and information reaching the United Workers Party there is no evidence to suggest that the board of which the Former Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, Ms Jadia Jn Pierre and Anse La Raye Candidate, John Victorin was a part of, ever gave any contracts or approved any of the supposed activities that the cheques were written for.
The United Workers Party demands that Shawn Edwards be answerable to the sports people of Saint Lucia and the public of Saint Lucia and answer the following questions:
- Why was the account termed as the Ministers account used to for a cheque to NICE for $70,000.00?
- Why and who was the purchase for I-Phones to the tune of over $5,000 for?
- Why was a cheque written to a Medical school for $15,000 with no explanations?
It is very concerning to the UWP that under the leadership of Shawn Edward the Lotteries expended a total of $1.44 million dollars, not including the lights which cost another $700,000 on the Dennery La Ressource Playing Field and an amount of $1.03 million dollars, between 2015-2016, on the Marigot Playing field, with nothing to show for these expenditures.
The United Workers Party calls on the Former Minister, the former Press Secretary Ms Jadia Jn Pierre, the Candidate for Anse La Raye Mr John Victorin and other Board Members to explain, why were contracts issued to SLP Candidate for Castries South East Joachim Henry in the name of his company Edah Inc to an average of $244,000.00 for the supervision of works that were not completed but yet he was paid in full?
Leader of the Opposition, Philip J Pierre in his press conference on July 13 said: “every political party and government should set standards to oversee the behavior of their officials and if they fall short, they should resign. He also stated that apart from the legal ramifications, ethics should seriously be considered”.
The United Workers Party wishes to ask Hon Phillip J Pierre to state that it fully supports an inquiry and investigation into the use of the funds of the lotteries which should answer the following questions:
- Did the Saint Lucia Labour Party use the National Lotteries monies for campaign funding?
- Why were so many projects executed six months prior to the date of elections with no Board approval?
- Did the Former Minister Shawn Edwards abuse his authority over the National Lottery?
- Were members of the Board complicit in the Minister’s alleged abuse of the Minister’s account?
By his own words, the Leader of the Opposition should immediately request the resignation of Mr. Shawn Edwards. Or is this simply another case of the Labour Party continuing it’s two-faced and double standards mentality. We demand that the Leader of the Opposition do the Honourable thing and ask Mr. Shawn Edwards to resign and also demand that Senator Joachim Henry resign from the senate.