“I will ask him a thousand million hard questions. I will not let up” – Dr. Hilaire unruffled by Chastanet’s probe

By SNO Staff

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Dr. Hilaire at the press conference on Wednesday, May 28, 2018.

Castries South MP Dr. Ernest Hilaire has said he will not be distracted by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s announcement that an investigation is ongoing into his tenure as Saint Lucia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK).

“Well let me say to the prime minister, that he has just started to announce investigations. In fact, he should be prepared to have a thousand million investigations in me, because I will ask him a thousand million hard questions. I will not let up,” Dr. Hilaire said at a press conference on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

Chastanet put the Opposition member on notice during his rebuttal to the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure debate on March 22, 2018, that an investigation is underway into Dr. Hilaire’s ties with the late Saudi billionaire, Dr. Walid Juffali, who was appointed St. Lucia’s permanent representative to the International Maritime Organisation in April 2014 when he was High Commissioner to the UK.

Dr. Juffali’s post with Saint Lucia became controversial during a bitter divorce battle in which the UK Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s dismissal of his legal immunity, but ruled that his immunity was not relevant to the divorce claim, which it allowed to proceed.

The issue was used against Dr. Hilaire and his Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) during the 2016 General Elections.

The prime minister has suggested that the Saudi businessman was given the appointment in order to get him immunity.

“The member from Castries South also said in an interview that he had with Timothy Poleon …. He said that Dr. Juffali needed the immunity because he was not living in the UK. But what’s interesting is when the courts finally ruled, the courts finally ruled that the immunity did not apply to him because he had homes and was a resident of the UK for years. So you see there’s a conflict. So we know that Dr. Juffali was appointed in order to get him immunity,” Chastanet had said in parliament.

However, speaking at Wednesday’s press conference, Dr. Hilaire said Chastanet is trying to destroy him because he is one of the “biggest” critics of the prime minister and his administration.

He 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.”

During the 2016 elections, Dr. Hilaire sued Chastanet for defamation for certain comments. The matter is still in court after several adjournments, but Dr. Hilaire has denied reports by Chastanet that the adjournments were at the MP’s request.

“The matter has never been adjoined at my request. I have been to court and the prime minister has not been there, never been there, never been there, and I have been there. But I will leave that to my lawyer at the right time to address and to know where the boundaries are, what can be said. All that I am telling you is that I am waiting for my day in court and I am certainly sure that my lawyers are waiting for the prime minister to sit on that witness stand, and I want to encourage him to keep talking about the Juffali matter. Keep talking about it,” Dr. Hilaire said.

In a March 28, 2018 press release, SLP Party Leader Philip J. Pierre expressed confidence in two members of parliament – Dr. Hilaire and Shawn Edward – who are said to be under investigation by the prime minister.

Pierre states: “As Leader of the Party, I have full confidence in Dr Hilaire. I have full confidence in his work as Parliamentary Representative for Castries South, his work as High Commissioner to Saint Lucia in London and I believe what’s happening is a political witch hunt which is not new to him. In fact the Honourable member for Dennery North is under investigation into the so called Minister’s account. I’ve spoken to both of my colleagues and I have full confidence in them and I believe it’s a political witch hunt and at some point the truth will come to the forefront.”

The prime minister also announced at the March 22 sitting that probes are under way into the incomplete St. Jude Hospital project and the ‘Minister’s Account.

He said: “So I certainly want to say that there are some investigations that are ongoing: one is in the St. Jude’s. We also have an ongoing investigation, Mr Speaker, into the ‘Minister’s Account’ in terms of what took place there. And we also have an investigation taking place into the Juffali matter. So, hopefully, those pieces of information will come out and we will see where that goes.”

Government officials said last year that the new St. Jude Hospital had already sucked up $118 million and is just 50 percent complete, following an audit of the project. Windowless and poorly ventilated recovery rooms, small A&E (accident and emergency) entrances, a maze of dark swirly corridors, bumpy ramps and low-lying ceilings were some of the sights that greeted journalists on a walk-through of the St. Jude Hospital construction site in September 2017.
St. Jude Hospital patients and services have been housed at George Odlum stadium since 2009 after a fire destroyed the main hospital structure. Staff and patients face difficult conditions at a facility that itself is falling apart.

The so-called ‘Minister’s Account saga involves former youth and sports minister and Dennery North MP, Shawn Edward, who has been criticised and questioned by government officials for his alleged mishandling of funds disbursement for sports development from the National Lotteries Authority. Edward has denied any wrongdoing, claiming he is the victim of a political witch hunt.

(3)(20)
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27 comments

  1. We can ill-afford to have political idiots like up north, as representatives. When the uneducated, not the non-schooled vote, countries face peril.

    Elections have consequences. Some countries are learning this fact very bitterly. Stop electing idiots to parliament.

    Elections have consequences. Stop voting for educated idiots with just degrees in government.

    They only line their pockets. That is all they care about.

    (4)(0)
  2. The ENTIRE SLP has stopped making sense a very long time ago! If you go back to the last election's SLP shate shooting campaign, this is one is only carrying the baton.

    The SLP is only re-enforcing that it is just a crap relay team. My oh my, SLP is winning the crap race!

    (10)(1)
  3. Perception is reality. What we have there is another great helping of the customary local political jackass droppings. Thanks Rick.

    (7)(0)
  4. Oui mamma. Sa la toujou bien filosorf.

    You can bet your bottom dollar. After saying such utter nonsense, this is just another one of our many CCBs, Certified Country Bucks.

    (7)(0)
  5. AUDI DRIVING LABOUR PARTY SUPPORTER

    The audis are being seized and the mortgages are not being paid. Hillaire and his crew need to be waging a 5 year campaign because they have everything to loose. Hope that they will defeat chastanet and come back into the good graces of the Lucian Treasury is all that is keeping the top echelons of the labour party going. Juffali will hunt Hillaire for the rest of his political career. PJP will not become prime minister. so a bit of advice: stop attacking chastenet. stop attacking the uwp. Instead go fix your party. seriously. the people at the forefront of labour are caricatures of the worst parts of the support for contracts and jobs scheme. When in power they become suddenly important, threatening people, flaunting their free jazz tickets, sitting on boards they have no place to be on, and spending their days running party business in statutory bodies all over. What you need to do is return the party to some sort of theory on governance. then proceed to shift all the old heads to the back. then choose new young people who wont faint on a stage like john victorin. then choose proper candidates to run your seats. think about it...which seat are you going to win? Gros Islet? Choseul? Chas is practically laughing at you country bookie billygoats with female voices. Get hillaire to the back. Bring in Mussah. Bring in Shawn. Remove PJP. Bring back Kenny (ooops)

    (12)(1)
  6. Relly.excluding Mr chastanet.relly .I d9nt know if some of u are Damn or pretend to be .so his father money is his.and what's the one fact about rich ppl or ppl who has .I don't think u will know so I'll tell u ,more they have more they want. Why u think the bible says the rich will get richer whilst the poor gets poorer.so stop talk crap,and making statements bass on colour .that's ull downfall down here in st lucia colour not country .

    (0)(2)
  7. According to the article, attributed to Mr. Hilaire:
    --- "In fact, he should be prepared to have a thousand million investigations in me, because I will ask him a thousand million hard questions. I will not let up,”

    One can only hope that Mr. Hilaire was somewhat unfortunately influenced by possible health issues or perhaps associated meds-related impairment that may have resulted in him making this statement.

    One thousand million questions? Seriously? Despite what anyone can list to impute either government over the years, it ridiculous to suggest that one has one-billion questions.

    this sad,. really, it is. Mr Hilaire's assertion could be read as being somewhat delirious. This assertion sounds like something more expected from the several arguably pathetic desperate writings of Jeff Fedee.

    All partisanship aside. one can only hope that, if this bombastic comment was related to a medical condition, that Mr. Hilaire has access and is afforded the full help that he may need as someone that has generally, in the past, shown himself to be a very intelligent and very astute leader.

    God bless.

    (2)(2)
  8. What an "educated" idiot! What a moron personified! Who proudly utters such utter crap?

    (7)(0)
  9. One question only:

    Is it that some of our country bucks are still waking up, rubbing their eyes, and are deluding themselves into thinking that Saint Lucia wants quintessential jackasses for ministers and prime ministers?

    (6)(0)
  10. I could shake your hands forever on that.

    Degrees do not make you a MARCUS AURELIUS of Roman times. It, or they only confer a recognition that you have knowledge in perhaps ONE field or discipline. ONE area. ONE body of knowledge. ONE kind of subject matter. One-eyed being. A cyclops. In that case, you are blind to almost everything else that is not in front of you. You are a danger to yourself and to others, CYCLOPS.

    A degree, as we have proved here and elsewhere, does not say that automatically, you have become GOD. All knowing. All seeing. ALMIGHTY God. Those who adore you or obey you just because of that are fools.

    To ever assume much more, makes you an ass, of you and me. ASS-U-ME. That is what assume does to some with only credentials as their life's achievement. This is especially so, when they get their so called quick degrees from paper mills, online.

    If some of those throwing their degrees in our faces were all that smart, they would have been picked up, long ago, by reputable international bodies. Failing in this, they turn to politics to pay either their loans or to support their conspicuous consumption lifestyles.

    (7)(0)
    • You can make your point without waging war on education. Academia/Research is what drives our scientific innovation, it is separate and apart from politics.

      Likewise, do not simply ASS-U-ME that degree makes you a one-eyed cyclops. To anyone considering furthering their education, that is a lie. Degrees focus on a Core area, but they also expose you to many many other fields. That is why universities only require you to commit a limited number of your courses to your core area, the remaining courses are free for you to pursue your other interests. For example, you can study engineering while dabbling in Literature, Economics, Finance, or Philosophy.

      That being said, Hilaire is a politician, naturally, he will seek his and his party's interests. You would be very naive to think Chastenet and his team aren't doing the same. This is propaganda and nothing more and should be viewed as such.

      What is most disconcerting, however, is your vehemence and aggression towards education and personal development. Even more-so the fact that the other commenters seem to agree with you.

      Friend, there is nothing to be gained in the darkness of ignorance, only in the light of enlightenment can true freedom be attained. A degree is not meant to make you smart, its purpose is simply to show you what knowledge, we as a species, have acquired since our creation, it is merely passing the baton to the next generation.

      (2)(1)
    • I agree with you 10 million times. I wish that I could give you an additional thumbs up.

      Can you see the great genius coming from those with only degrees as proof of only book intelligence? The Jufalli manjay cochon, the Grynberg Fiasco, and Rochasmell Blunder.

      Let us stop being stupid. There are several types of intelligence besides just book learning. Those who know, know the difference.

      Thank God. The idiots are not in charge.

      This country's repeated embarrassments from Jufalli, Grynberg and Rochamel sum it all up. If one has any commonsense at all, by now such persons would know that "By their fruits, you shall know them."

      (3)(0)
  11. For someone that is chosen to represent his party he is really aggressive...just imagine if this guy was the prime minister WTF. I have been listening to this guy for the longest and he is really full of himself. why do we keep on recycling people like this to represent us.

    (12)(4)
    • Another Fidel Castro in the making. Let these jackasses do real work in the private sector for a living, instead of beating their flapper jacks making political mischief.

      The country survived the Communist SLP. We can do it again. Go to hell!

      (7)(2)
  12. "A FOOL CAN ASK MORE QUESTIONS THAN A WISE MAN CAN ANSWER".

    So the saying goes. Now little chap, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    Our adorable country bucks always keep on finding ways to embarrass themselves. Degrees do not always mean intelligence or wisdom.

    (14)(2)
    • What a clown! This is laughable. This is the best that SLP has to offer?

      (7)(1)
    • Some old boys still have a lot of growing up to do. That is even for those with a lot of grey and white hairs scattered all over their anatomies. Doctorates, however they are obtained, are not licences to shoot shate.

      (7)(0)
  13. Allan 2020

    (7)(1)
  14. There is fear all in this release. "I will ask a thousand million questions" What nonsense?

    (10)(2)
  15. Honorable members on both side, las bat chou zort la, zort la ka grand charging eachother. Politicians don't go to jail in this part of the world. Standing order 666.

    (9)(3)
  16. When the public was asking you a thousand million questions in the Jufalli matter did you take them on? None of your SLPs answered any of the public's questions. Alva was noticeably quiet.
    Instead, they come talking about immunity.
    You came later on TV and sounded like a country bookie after how many months and today you want to respond by saying you will ask a thousand million hard questions.

    Admit it for want it was, the man used you'll to avoid paying millions to his wife. A hand he thought he was paying very well.
    He love St.Lucia so much my foot. JA

    Take a hike.

    (26)(6)
    • Charles de’Cotesu

      Yep; Dr. Hilaire should be answering questions and not threatening to ask questions. In fact he should this opportunity to speak well and stop his foolish talki

      (13)(1)
    • Charles de’Cotesu

      Yep; Dr. Hilaire should be answering questions and not threatening to ask questions. In fact he s opportunity to speak well and stop his foolish talki

      (7)(2)
  17. All politicians past and present should be investigated by an independent foreign body on how they amassed their assets.

    (16)(0)
    • Excluding Mr Chastanet he was born with that golden spoon in his mouth, his father work his azz out to accomplish his wealth,the others fair game most of them push their hands in the cookie jar. Poor Helen they rape her with no mercy.

      (11)(2)
      • Relly.excluding Mr chastanet.relly .I d9nt know if some of u are Damn or pretend to be .so his father money is his.and what's the one fact about rich ppl or ppl who has .I don't think u will know so I'll tell u ,more they have more they want. Why u think the bible says the rich will get richer whilst the poor gets poorer.so stop talk crap,and making statements bass on colour .that's ull downfall down here in st lucia colour not country .

        (0)(2)
  18. New Testament Verse of the Day:

    Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me."
    –John 20:29

    (9)(3)

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