Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Chastanet apologizes over deportees statement

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Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has admitted that he made an error in his statement about criminal deportees.

Chastanet had asserted recently, among other things, that 800 criminal deportees were sent back to this country by the United States in one year.

The assertion brought a response from the US Embassy in Barbados.

The US Embassy statement pointed out that United States government statistics indicate that the total number of deportees returned to Saint Lucia in the last five years was less than 100.

In 2015, there were only eight such cases, the US Embassy statement said.

Chastanet said that he apologizes for the error.

He stated that he did not not want that to be the issue at hand here when there is a bigger issue at play relating to the security of Saint Lucia.

The Saint Lucia Prime Minister observed that there is a deportee problem which predated his assuming leadership of this country and is an issue for not this country alone.

Chastanet explained that the point of his original deportee statement was not to condemn the US.

“We are strong allies of the United States,” he declared.

The Saint Lucia leader noted that because there is a difference of opinion with Washington does not put this country at odds with the Americans.

“It does not mean that if something is not working to our benefit or hurting us we do not have freedom to say so,” Chastanet observed.

He said that governments in the Caribbean need to change their strategy and approach to the United States.

“Right now I believe we have become irrelevant and part of that is because we are not speaking with one voice from Caricom,” the Saint Lucia Prime Minister asserted.

He said there was need to understand US politics, have a stronger relationship with political parties in the US and mount a lobbying effort in the US.




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