Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Opposition Leader Blasts “Stifling Stench Of Corruption’ In Government

Saint Lucia’s opposition leader, Philip J. Pierre, has hit out at what he describes as the ‘stifling stench of corruption’ generated by the actions of the current administration.

Pierre made the comments Thursday at a news conference.

The conference was summoned to respond to ‘ the comfort letter from Minister Guy Joseph to Pajoah Ltd.’

Pierre’s opening statement to the event is reproduced below:

As the official Opposition in the Parliament of Saint Lucia, we have a responsibility to the people of Saint Lucia to inform and do all we can to stem the rapid loss of the good governance image of our country. And that responsibility we take very seriously.

The actions of this UWP Government continues to generate a stifling stench of corruption and it requires that the citizens of our country become more and more vigilant in monitoring the bold flaunting of the laws of the country that have become the part of the normal operations of the Administration.

Recently, a letter has been circulating around social media that should be of serious concern to all caring Saint Lucians.

The alleged official letter addressed to “Whom It May Concern” from the Ministry of Economic Affairs signed by Minister, Guy Joseph, dated 12th November 2018, is committing the government of St Lucia to repaying a loan of US$62million or EC$167.4million at 3.5% over a fifteen-year (15-year) period for two projects:  a street lighting project that had already been financed by the Caribbean Development Bank and the St Jude Hospital Project. Further, the letter states that the Government “has agreed to enter into a contractual relationship with PAJOAH’s Limited”, a little known company to undertake the said projects.

This letter is highly irregular and presents a high risk of damaging the image of Saint Lucia as a law abiding nation and in particular the handling of multi- million-dollar projects, for the following reasons:

  1. Minister Guy Joseph is not the Minister of Finance and is in no position to commit the government of Saint Lucia to any financial obligations except if he has been directed by the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister to do so. Moreover, such financial obligations should have received parliamentary approval.
  2. PAJOAH’s Limited has no history or known capacity to undertake work of the nature referred to in the letter.
  3. According to the letter the projects worth EC$167.4 M were awarded by direct award.  There has been no bidding process. A preferred option to ensure the government and people of Saint Lucia get the best value for money. A bidding process would ensure that the country would receive the most competitive option.
  4. All direct awards are signed by the Prime Minister.  It begs the question was the Prime Minister aware that such a commitment was being made or did he approve of the commitment.
  5. The letter is addressed to any institution willing to lend the said sum, which includes undesirable sources that potentially can bring the Government of St Lucia into disrepute.   
  6. Communication (responses) to the subject were to be addressed to Hon Guy Joseph and not the Permanent Secretary which is the usual practice.

In the light of the foregoing, we call on the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Allen Chastanet, to make a public statement about the authenticity of this letter, and if the letter is indeed authentic, that he takes disciplinary action against Minister Guy Joseph.

 If the Prime Minister fails to respond accordingly, within the next seven days, the official Opposition will be left with no choice but to comment that Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is not in control of his government and their questionable actions.

Saint Lucia government’s ability to borrow money from traditional financial institutions is based on its ability to repay, and its respect for the rule of law. Respect for the rule of law is manifested in government’s observance of rules, laws and conventions in the execution of its duties.

This is the latest in an increasing number of irregular and questionable financial arrangements between agents of government and private individuals and companies that continue to sully the image of the country. The concerted efforts by this government to feed its friends, family and foreigners at the expense of the taxpayers of this country must be confronted by an equally determined citizenry to bring it to a halt.

St. Lucians must wake up and smell the coffee.

7 COMMENTS

  1. The sad reality is, if one were to save these types of articles and retrieve them at another point and time if and when the current Government goes in opposition, claims like these will be directed at the sitting Government. As I read online newspapers from around the Caribbean, I hear the same things about sitting Governments coming from the Opposition. I read things like Nepotism, cronyism, blunders and plunders , mismanagement and incompetence; and this song is showing no sign of fading.

    • And JDorn, what’s your point? Are you suggesting that because of what you have stated we should not be concerned? Yes these broad allegations are always made but in this current case the evidence is right before us. The evidence is right there in social media and the government is unable to defend them. The government’s only response is the threat made by Minister King that any public servant found posting the evidence will be disciplined.

      • What is the evidence? I have said that government needs to pass a freedom of information ACT and strengthen its Archives Act so the we know what are official documents other than that politicians will just be using unsuspecting persons to peddle their agendas. Everyday we hold authorities to and we compare our situations with foreign countries which have those measures in place. I am sure that Mr. Pierre hasn’t told you that such legislation has been there since around 2000 and non of these governments has made any effort to pass them. There is also an Anti- Corruption Act sanction by the UN. Why haven’t none of these been passed?? Instead you hear politicians pandering to the information illiterates.

        Even media personnel get trapped in this type of disinformation. As i heard a few days ago one of them giving a totally erroneous explanation of the powers of arrest. I i know they got that from a politician or lawyer close to politics.

        Pertaining to these facts a document online/social media cannot be construed as one which is a valid or official document and for this no official is bound to answer, similarly photos circulating online has the same effect. A valid document is not just a piece of paper or an electronic file, a significant part of it is its authenticity and in the case of an electronic document is made up primarily of its metadata. Metada is the information about the data, which includes, time of creation, author, etc. If the SLP could release the metadata then it might be of some interest to people who know better.

        Besides question like these cannot be addressed in such forums (public). The Leader of the Opp. is sufficiently knowledgeable as to how he can find these answers in accordance with our parliamentary system.

        Which is why i find it to be just a case of a politician pandering to his unsuspecting followers. I knows how to find the truth, he obfuscates his role in following the procedure, just to create confusion, mischief and play on information illiterates.

  2. Grabbing at A straw nowadays. Why didn’t he look at these six irregularities and gives the Minister the benefit of the doubt. As Pip stated, the letter is just circulating on social media. I can create a letter from him with his signature with no irregularity and post it social media. The problem with the SLP is that they have created their own monster with St Jude Hospital. Now that the Hospital has started it has become a dagger in they heart. In trying to remove that dagger they are actually digging it deeper. That whole FAKE NEWS was created by the SLP themselves.

  3. The salient point is the issue facing our country much like many small islands like our is The System of Governance. In particular the lack of checks and balances that ensure at the very least sit in governments obey the rule of law.

    I recall not to long ago the Kenny Anthony administration well supported by Pierre, the then Minister of Communication refused to legislate the “Power of Recall” which essentially makes provision for constituents to be able to recall their Member of Parliament (MP) and call a by-election. That way the power would reside with the electorate pre and post elections so governments don’t operate with absolute impunity during their term in office.
    What redress is there if the only power that resides with an opposition is to call on a PM to discipline an MP at his discretion other wise make a public declaration that the said PM has lost control of his ministers…

  4. Well Mr. Pierre, when you are in power, you do as you please; now you are in opposition, so fight your fight!

  5. Don’t be a hypocrite Pierre, what about the alleged rapist and other corrupt persons who were and some still are in your party. Both parties stink of corruption. Yon pas voh lort.

Comments are closed.

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