PRIME Minister Allen Chastanet is likely to make a statement on the future of his embattled Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Dr.Ubaldus Raymond, who is embroiled in a blackmail scandal that has led to charges being laid against a young woman.
A well-placed government official told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the matter was expected to be discussed at yesterday’s regular Cabinet meeting and a statement could be issued on today, Tuesday.
During the weekend there were widespread rumours that Raymond, a Senator, had resigned from the Cabinet and was being replaced, but these reports turned out to be unfounded.
Raymond is at the centre of a firestorm on social media where in addition to nude photos allegedly of the minister, extracts of a WhatsApp conversation purporting to be between him and the woman have been in the public domain.
The woman appeared in court last Friday charged with attempting to blackmail Raymond. She was later released on EC$10,000 bail.
Raymond has since told reporters that no amount of threats will cause him to turn away from his values as a human being and as a family man.
“I will not give in to political operatives who will use the most disgusting tactics in order to malign my name or to scare me into submission. I will trust in the court system and in the Almighty God,” he said in a statement, adding “my record speaks for itself.”
Social media has also been rife with other reports implicating other prominent persons in the matter, but none of those mentioned had responded to the claims.
Raymond contested the Castries North east seat for the St Lucia Labour Party in the general election of 2011 when he was defeated by the incumbent and current M.P. Stephenson King. He was made a parliamentary secretary following the SLP’s victory but later quit expressing frustration with the party.
Raymond then left and worked in the Turks and Caicos Islands as economic advisor to the government. But last year he returned home and aligned himself with the United Workers Party, helping the party draft its economic policies in preparation for the June 2016 general elections.
Yesterday, the St. Lucia Employers Federation announced that Raymond is slated to deliver the keynote address at its Membership Workshop entitled “Productivity Improvements for Small and Micro Enterprises” tomorrow at the Bay Gardens Hotel .