Juffali – The Show Goes On

THE Juffali Affair continues to rage and with each passing episode the government comes off more bruised than before. On Monday, a British judge questioned the legitimacy of Juffali’s appointment as Saint Lucia’s representative on the International Maritime Organization in light of the fact that it appeared to have been made in an attempt to shield the Saudi billionaire from testifying in a divorce suit brought by his ex-wife.

For some very strange reason, some people have interpreted the judge’s ruling to mean that he was in fact saying Juffali was not really an Ambassador. Questions about Saint Lucia’s sovereignty and its right to appoint its ambassadors have also been served into the argument. Those people also rely on the fact that Juffali’s appointment was accepted by both the British government and the IMO.

We have not seen the full judgment of Judge Hayden in London delivered last Monday. Neither, we think, have the various other people commenting on the judgment. But from what we read into the various press reports on that judgment we find no where that the judge implied that Juffali was not an ambassador. What we understand the judge said was that the appointment was “spurious” and “entirely artificial” which we interpret to mean quite simply that Juffali’s appointment was not genuine, that it had an ulterior motive; that it was a device used to allow him to invoke immunity in the divorce suit. This in fact is a view shared by a lot of people following this saga.

And this to our mind was the basis of Judge Hayden’s decision: that Juffali should not be allowed to do this and get away with it.

Then there is this talk that at the time of the appointment neither the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office nor the IMO raised concerns about Juffali. The reason is quite simple: that at the time neither knew what Juffali and our government were up to. It is the timing of the appointment that gave Juffali and our government away, coming as it did as soon as his diplomatic appointment was in place.

In its usual style, our government has expressed “surprise” at the ruling and has even questioned it. Juffali’s business with his ex-wife will be settled in the court in London. Our continued interest in this matter is the secrecy in which this entire thing took place and the terms and conditions under which Juffali got his appointment. This is the information that the people of Saint Lucia are calling for and it cannot be that the government has not heard their cry.

It is difficult to understand why the government would want to take on a judge all the way in London and treat its own people with such contempt and disdain. It is issues such as this that Saint Lucians railed against in the conversations with the Constitutional Reform Commission, this matter of high handedness, abuse of power and lack of transparency and accountability in the stewardship of government. Before this story broke, our government had had some 20 months to announce Juffali’s appointment to the people of Saint Lucia and never did.

At the moment, it seems that there will be no explanation to the people by the government or even by the former High Commissioner to London, Mr.Hilaire, who must have been involved in the discussions which led to Juffali’s appointment. Imagine, in all of this, there has not been a single comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which normally handles diplomatic appointments. Is there a gag rule within the government on the details of this matter? What transpired that resulted in Mr.Hilaire giving up his place on the IMO to the Saudi?

Whether Juffali wins his case or his wife gets a slice of his fortune is none of our business. But the fact that he was appointed as a diplomat of our country, is our business and we have a right to know all the details of that appointment.


  1. The judge’s ruling only challenges Juffali’s claim that being Saint Lucia’s permanent representative to the IMO entitles him to diplomatic immunity and that should negate his ex-wife’s right to take him to court for whatever reason. In my humble opinion I do not think that his motives for shopping for that role will feature in the appellate court’s decision as it did in this decision of the lower court. What will perhaps be determined is whether his diplomatic immunity extends to civil matters in family court. Although we are told that this is not his first rodeo, and there seemingly is a pattern of behavior, that too will be inconsequential to the case. So all the handwringing and unnecessary prognostication should give way to patience until the results of the appeal.


    We at Not for Party but Country were perhaps one of the first entities to call for the examination and possible implementation of the Citizenship by Investment Program. This was clearly based on the fact that it seemed to have been a success for the sister OECS country of St. Kitts from what we had learnt of it at the time.

    Much evidence has been unearthed that such a program has been a hotbed for corruption in Saint Kitts and Nevis and seemingly more so in the Commonwealth of Dominica. It is pellucid that not too upstanding persons around the world have availed themselves of that program to mostly shield themselves from prosecution for various crimes instead of sticking to the original intent of such programs – for creating investment and consequently jobs for the people of the issuing countries.

    There seems to be a greater focus on the sale of passports and citizenship, wittingly or unwittingly, to nefarious characters and charlatans than in attracting bonafide investors.
    Instead a cottage industry of companies who operate mainly as purveyors and facilitators for those who would like to purchase passports has sprung. There is also evidence that income derived by such companies is funneled to various persons, even those in the echelons of the administrations of these countries, who pretty much act as coconspirators in the racket.

    It is clear to many in Saint Lucia, and contrary to the prevailing sentiment they are not only opposition supporters and sympathizers, that the appointment of Dr. Juffali to the post of permanent representative to the IMO serves as an omen of what is to come in the operation of our own CIP program.

    No dye-in-the-wool supporter of any party appreciates accusations of corruption being leveled at their party or the government formed by the party they support. Additionally no party who shouted themselves hoarse about the corruption of the previous administration relishes that kind of scrutiny for the same thing.

    They will deny deny deny and savage anyone who makes that claim even to the point of questioning their patriotism.
    When in fact it is those who are brave enough to question and call their government to account on such matters who are the true patriots. Those who choose to adopt a “see-no-evil” posture in such matters are not doing our country any favors as enablers of corruption.

    So they take succor in the fact that those who suspect corruption, in the form of a quid pro quo, in the Juffali affair have no evidence. Like my late mother used to say in Creole “coot cootla ah dlo paka kite’ mak”. But does that mean that the surface of the water was not chopped with the cutlass?

    CIP will present many opportunities that will test the probity of our elected and administrative officials. The government claimed that their deliberative posture in the adoption of the program was to study the pitfalls and challenges the program presented to the previous adoptee countries.

    Judging from what transpired in the Juffali affair it is clear to me that if they succumbed to the first temptation that presented itself evidently they didn’t learn a damned thing. Either way this is not a good augury for CIP in Saint Lucia.

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