Chairman of the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) Dr. Ernest Hilaire has been selected by the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) to contest the Castries South seat at the next general elections.
Dr. Hilaire, a former Saint Lucia High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, will be competing against former trade unionist and United Workers Party (UWP) Senator Mary Isaac.
General Secretary of the SLP, Leo Clarke, is reported in the media confirming Dr. Hilaire’s selection.
Clarke said Dr. Hilaire has strong links to the constituency, having grew up in Hospital Road area. The party’s General Secretary said that the former diplomat has also been active in several SLP campaigns.
The party, he said, is confident that Dr. Hilaire will manage to secure the seat at the next elections.
Dr. Hilaire has been accused of being directly involved in the appointment of Dr. Sheikh Juffali, the embattled Saint Lucia Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The Opposition has been calling for Dr. Hilaire’s resignation, ever since the issue involving the Saudi billionaire has been brought to light and caused major embarrassment for Saint Lucia.
Observers have suggested that the SLP forced incumbent MP for Castries South and Minister of Education Dr. Robert Lewis to bow out of elective politics, to make way for Dr. Hilaire to contest the seat.
However, Dr. Lewis has repeatedly denied the accusations and said the decision to bow out of election was a personal one he made and it is something he had in mind since he entered political life.
Dr. Hilaire served as Personal Assistant to Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony in 1997. In 1999 he became Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
In 2005, he was given the responsibility of managing Saint Lucia’s hosting of ICC World Cup 2007. His success in that endeavour led to his appointment as the Tournament Director for the ICC World Twenty20 2010.
He also served as the Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).