Letters & Opinion

Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir,

In your issue of 16th April, you published an article by one of your regular contributors, Earl Bousquet, which, regrettably, has caused me to put pen to paper to address you for the first time.

Mr. Bousquet is one of the most senior journalists in St. Lucia. Indeed, I believe that he was even, for a time, the Editor of your esteemed Newspaper. In the past, whilst Mr. Bousquet’s preference for the St. Lucia Labour Party has been apparent, his writings have generally had a measure of balance which added to their persuasiveness.

The article to which I refer, however, headlined “The Bottom Line”, fell so far below any standard expected of a journalist of Mr. Bousquet’s seniority and expected objectivity that I felt compelled to bring this to your attention.

In the fifth paragraph of the article Mr. Bousquet writes “….while its courts continue jailing politicians who bring public offices into disrepute”. Mr. Bousquet then refers to Marcus Nicholas who was convicted of Uttering or using false documents for tax purposes. Although Marcus Nicholas was for a period prior to 2006 an active member of the United Workers’ Party, indeed he was, if I recall, leader of the Parliamentary opposition in Parliament between 2001 and 2006, my information is that his association with that party for the last few years,  has been, if anything, philosophical rather than active. Bousquet makes the point that the case against Nicholas dates back to 2017, many years after any active association with the UWP. His crime was for personal gain, yet you deliberately and erroneously characterize it as “bring[ing] public offices into disrepute”.

Bousquet also refers to Marius Wilson, former member for Micoud North representing the UWP and one time leader of opposition business in parliament, who was convicted and sentenced to prison for using “his licensed firearm to shoot a fellow citizen in clear public view”.  Mr. Bousquet says of this latter incident that he was “jailed for bringing the office into serious disrepute”. Again, the crime was committed in circumstances having absolutely nothing to do with Public office.

As egregious as is Mr. Bousquet’s attempt to link the convictions of two former UWP members to the Party they once supported, he goes further when he writes: “The former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance is currently being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Department for allegedly using public finances to fund a performance on his 2011 elections platforming Soufriere”.  A journalist of Mr. Bousquet’s seniority and experience knows very well that prosecutions by the State are brought  by the Director of Prosecutions, and not the Attorney General, and further, that the actual case brought by the Attorney General is a Civil case for damages and has nothing to do with criminal prosecution. In the words of Bousquet “According to the charge….”. There is no charge. There is a civil claim which is being vigorously resisted by Mr. Chastanet. It is not, as Bousquet dishonestly states, “Chastanet hasn’t denied the charge of ‘Malfeasance’…..” giving the clear, but absolutely untruthful, implication that Chastanet accepts the charge of misfeasance.  A visit to the East Caribbean Supreme Court web site provides all of the above information which is in the public domain. It is clear, however, that Bousquet is indifferent to truth.

The final nail in the coffin of Bousquet’s entitlement to respect as a journalist, however, is that in an article that purports to deal with errant political behaviour,  absolutely no mention is made of the case against the Hon Earnest Hilaire for what has come to be called “Rovergate”.  No aspersion is cast against Hilaire, rather the unevenness  the treatment of Chastanet and Hilaire is thrown into sharp relief.   Respect earned by a lifetime of diligence has, unfortunately been sacrificed on the altar of political prejudice.

Disappointed

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