The opposition has responded to Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s statement about plans to meet with some ambassadors, who he thinks should resign or quit.
Opposition Leader Phillip J. Pierre said haste, inexperience and the desire to inflict pain on the Saint Lucia Labour Party is driving the government to do these unceremonious things.
Pierre told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) recently that contracts for every ambassador has an out clause but it says that the ambassador must be fired with a cause.
“The ambassador to the OAS has up to April, the reason why the government’s five year real term ends in April. The ambassador in Miami, the contract ends in April next year,” he explained.
The opposition leader is questioning what damage an ambassador can do to a government between October and April. “Ambassadors and high commissioners work on instruction from head office. So its just the prime minister wants to be vindictive,” he opined.
“When we came into government, we kept ambassadors and high commissioners til their term ended in April because these people work on instructions. Ambassadors do not dictate government policy. Ambassadors are not ministers of government, they follow government policy.”
He continued: “So to make the point, and point specifically to ambassadors that you are going to fire them and take them to court, is very unbecoming of a prime minister who speaks of bringing the country together.”
Pierre told SNO that the government has two choices, they either send the ambassadors home, pay them and allow civil servants to run the embassies, or let them complete their contracts.
Meanwhile, the prime minister has also stated that some statutory boards did not want to resign, making the process of appointing new board members more extensive than usual.
But again Pierre argued that the minister in charge of boards can dismiss the board at his will, with the exception of the Public Service Commission and Teaching Service Commission, which are appointed every three years.
“Boards do not tie you. Most of the boards responsible to an authority that has staff,” he stated.
Pierre said in cases where a new government takes office, it would be wise if they retain the services of some of the board members, to use their institutional memory, and add whoever they wish.
“But what this government wants to do in their whole desire to victimize and desire to look for blood, they want to dismiss everyone. And now they find themselves in a position where they do not have the institutional memory to continue the business of government…like in the case of the Castries City Council,” he said.
Chastanet has said that his administration is not in a rush to appoint people ‘willy nilly,’ as his administration is using the current time scale to work on its overall plan.