On Thursday, Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre laughed off a controversy that exploded in the international media over Friday’s presentation of a signed photograph of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, given to him when the couple paid a courtesy visit.
Critics lambasted the couple over the gift, calling it ‘tone deaf’ and ‘insulting’.
And online publications carried photos of Pierre receiving the gift while calling attention to his facial expression.
Questioned about the affair, the Saint Lucia Prime Minister burst into laughter.
“I was very happy to be made an international celebrity. I didn’t know anything was wrong with my face. I think I just accepted the gift. But I am very happy that the world press thought it was fitting to make me a celebrity. I thank them for that,” the Castries East MP declared.
“There was no reaction, People read into my reaction. I received the gift and that’s it,” Pierre told reporters.
He said he was very amused because his friends overseas called him to declare that he had become an international celebrity because he accepted a gift from the Earl and his face was not the way it was ‘supposed to be’.
According to Pierre, the Royal couple enjoyed their visit to Saint Lucia and were treated to the best of Saint Lucian hospitality.
The visitors, who arrived here on Friday and travelled to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda, were meeting school children here on Thursday.
“I think we have to be hospitable to our guests,” Pierre asserted.
And regarding a protest Wednesday against the visit, the Prime Minister observed that Saint Lucia is a democratic country.
“It’s people’s democratic right to protest. We are a government that believes in democracy and the rule of law and the right to protest once it is done peacefully,” he told reporters.