Castries Mayor Peterson Francis has responded to claims made by Castries South MP, Ernest Hilaire, that the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) is in financial trouble.
The opposition MP made the claims recently during a Town Hall meeting of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP).
Among Hilaire’s assertions was that things were so bad at the CCC that it had to sell shares it had in the Saint Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCELEC).
“We sold some of our shares in LUCELEC because that was a policy decision of the government,” Mayor Francis told a news conference Monday morning.
He explained that the government, the CCC and the National Insurance Corporation each had one director on LUCELEC’s board.
“Between government, NIC and CCC sold shares – so right now CCC has a director, government has a director and NIC has two directors; so we have four directors now so that we are better positioned to do certain things that the government has in mind,” Francis told reporters.
He explained that the CCC had 16.30 percent shares in LUCELEC and sold 0.83 – less than one percent.
“The equivalent as far as shares are concerned we have 3 million 147 thousand 952,” the Mayor stated.
He said the CCC did not sell the shares because it was in a financial bind, but because of a government policy decision.
Francis accused Hilaire of throwing out innuendos concerning the CCC.
But he explained that every month the opposition politician is being sent a written invitation to the statutory meeting of the CCC.
“Not only is he being written to, he is being sent the minutes of the statutory meetings,” Francis disclosed.
However he said Hilaire does not even acknowledge receipt of the invitations.
Francis said the Castries South MP is making accusations when he can come into the CCC and ‘demand’ the answers that he requires and deserves to know.
He revealed that the wage bill of the CCC is over half a million dollars a month.
“I have been on record more than once complaining about our wage bill, so I don’t know why Mr. Hilaire is out there saying we have a wage bill of so much,” the Mayor lamented.
He blamed Hilaire and the previous labour administration for the situation.
Francis said despite the issue, the CCC did not send home anyone but he put the proper management structure in place.