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At a Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) press conference on March 28, 2018, MP for Castries South Dr. Ernest Hilaire threw a challenge to his perceived detractors: “If anybody believes the vehicle I have is theirs or the government’s own, come and take it.”
Dr. Hilaire was referring to a previous sitting of the House where Prime Minister Allen Chastanet had suggested that he (Hilaire) had requested adjournments in a court matter involving both men and related to Hilaire’s ownership of a luxury vehicle.
Dr. Hilaire continued: “And when they come to take it, I will gladly give them the vehicle, no fuss, no fight. But it’s what will happen after. It’s very simple to prove ownership; it just shows you how malicious and vindictive the government is. Because if a government believes that a vehicle is theirs or it belongs to somebody in government, all you have to do is to just show proof that it’s yours.”
However, in regards to that same vehicle matter, Castries South East MP and government minister, Guy Joseph, dropped a bombshell during his contribution to the debate on the Appropriation Bill 2018/2019, late last night, April 5.
Joseph suggested Dr. Hilaire was being investigated by his own party.
“And the member for Castries South talk about us trying to victimise, on a witch hunt. I want the member for Castries South to know through you Mr. Speaker, that the investigation on his vehicle started in 2015, and the United Workers Party was not in government in 2015. So he needs to find out who…,” Joseph alleged.
The United Workers Party took over the government from the SLP in 2016 after winning the general elections by a landslide.
Following this comment, Dr. Hilaire repeatedly pointed his hand/finger towards Joseph, saying something about releasing a “letter tomorrow”.
“I want you to tell the people of St. Lucia,” Joseph responded.
Responding to news that he is being investigated for the Dr. Juffali matter, Dr. Hilaire, at the March 28 SLP press conference, accused the Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, and his government of a political witch hunt.
Dr. Hilaire said: “The prime minister has to do everything he can to discredit me. Everything he can. It is an attempt to discredit me, it is an attempt to embarrass me. It is an attempt to shut me out. Why? Maybe because my mouth is the biggest and I criticise the most and I ask the most questions. So the Prime Minister has to find a way to go after me to destroy me. I am convinced at that. When I spoke in parliament, budget last year, I said, I know I am a marked man. I said I know I am a marked man, and I know over the next few months, there are so many questions I will have to ask this government that they will do every and anything they can to come after me.”
Dr. Hilaire went on to say that the announcement of investigations against him and other colleagues are meant to distract the public from the real issues in the prime minister’s Cabinet.
He said: “There are persons in his Cabinet that he has to address whether or not they are being investigated for true, because he announced to St. Lucians that he was going to set up an investigation to find out if one of his ministers is being investigated. We are still waiting for the results of that investigation. He had a minister who was fired, and up to today the prime minister has never addressed the nation as the prime minister to explain why a government minister had to be fired.
“When you fire a government minister, it is a serious act, and there were a lot of speculations as to why that minister was fired. The prime minister was out and the acting prime minister made a statement. He came back as prime minister and up to today, has never told us the true story behind the firing of that minister. One day it will come out. And, he has another minister who was involved in a matter that is now before the courts. And of course, you have to ask the question, if you have a Cabinet with at least three ministers with question marks about them, what do you do now, you try to flip the switch.”
Dr. Hilaire is currently under investigation for his relationship with a late Saudi billionaire, according to Chastanet..