As things continue to heat up in the Juffali affair, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has accused the Kenny Anthony administration of failing to listen to their advice.
UWP Chairman Guy Mayers has said that the party’s position has been vindicated by the statement coming out of the Office of the Prime Minister on Tuesday, December 29.
“Had they heeded the advice of this party and our political leader, and instead of shooting the messenger, maybe a request by the UK gov’t would not have been necessary,” Mayers stated.
The party chairman said as predicated, St. Lucia has no choice now, but to respond to the UK government and will have no choice but to lift Dr. Walid Ahmed Juffali’s diplomatic immunity.
This, according to him, is consistent with what the UWP has been calling for over the past few months.
“We cannot continue as a nation, allow a government to bring the name and reputation of our country through the mud,” Mayers added.
The government has confirmed receiving a request from Mr. Julian Evans of the Protocol Directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to grant a waiver of the diplomatic immunity of Dr. Juffali.
Dr. Juffali is Saint Lucia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the United Kingdom, something that was kept a secret until the British press exposed it.
The Saudi billionaire is to answer a claim for additional financial relief in the High Court in London from his ex-wife, whom he had divorced in Saudi Arabia.
The government stated that it would not respond to requests from private lawyers to lift the immunity of Dr. Juffali as such requests can only come from the receiving state where the diplomat is based.
The government, however, acknowledged that matters of this nature are governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 of which Saint Lucia and the United Kingdom are signatories.
The administration plans to follow the “well established diplomatic channels”, to address this matter while protecting its integrity as a sovereign state.