Conflict of Interest ? — SLP Wants Answers From P.M.

THE St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has called on Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to dispel what it called “growing public perception” that he is facilitating misdeeds by Economic Development Minister, Guy Joseph.

The party appealed to the Prime Minister to explain why he remains “powerless in the face of bold abuses of office by Minister Joseph.”

The SLP wants to know why the Prime Minister had not reprimanded Joseph for allegedly sitting in as Chairman of Cabinet during his acting appointment as Prime Minister while his wife made a presentation to Cabinet for incentives on behalf of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Training Institute (CHTTi), with which she has a close affiliation.

“Why is the Prime Minister forced to condone such blatant conflict of interest by Minister Joseph?” questioned the SLP.

The party went on to state that it felt compelled to ask the Prime Minister to confirm whether CHTTi is to be a beneficiary of a $10 million allocation in the 2017-2018 budget estimates, designated for training.

“This will help to clear the deep suspicion which surrounds that particular allocation in the estimates,” noted the SLP on Thursday.

The SLP claims that the doubts over special treatment of CHTTi were made worse when at a public ceremony Joseph received a cheque of US$40,000 from the Taiwanese Ambassador which Joseph stated was on behalf of Minister Dominic Fedee, and that the Ambassador subsequently reveal it was the second payment of a total grant of US$100,000 going to the same CHTTi.

The SLP questioned whether Joseph was being deceptive to the Taiwanese, adding that a few months ago, Joseph exposed on Timothy Poleon’s ‘Newsmaker Live’ television talk show that he had knowingly made false representation to the Taiwanese in the matter of CDP contracts.

“This is what he said then: ‘I had to compile a list based on the contracts that were in the Ministry; pretend as if the projects had not been done and submit it to the Taiwanese for approval,” noted the SLP.

The party then went on to ask whether the Taiwanese knew that Guy Joseph’s wife, Wendy Bailey (maiden name), had interest in CHTTIA?

“The Prime Minister needs to tell the public whether these abuses of office are acceptable to him or publicly condemn the behavior of his close friend and Cabinet colleague,” ended the SLP’s statement.

A response from the Office of the Prime Minister was not forthcoming as we went to press yesterday due to the Prime Minister being out of State and expected back over the weekend.

A source close to the government and the Prime Minister said the SLP statement does not merit a response.

Efforts to get a response from Joseph were futile as telephone calls to his office and messages left on his WhatsApp network went unanswered.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

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