Intense debate over “minister’s account” highlights Tuesday’s sitting

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Intense debate over “minister’s account” highlights Tuesday’s sitting
Edward (left) and Joseph.
Edward (left) and Joseph.
Edward (left) and Joseph.

Parliament convened on Tuesday, June 27 as the United Workers Party (UWP) administration sought to get consideration and approval for three motions they brought to the House.

Two of those were the raising of $103 million to finance the 2017-2018 budget and $262 million for debt refinancing.
Also on the cards was an amendment to Schedule Three of the Value Added Tax Act.

While these matters were among the primary reasons for the sitting, the House debate seemed to take another turn, as there were hours of deliberations and back and forth between opposing sides following accusations of impropriety against former sports minister and Member for Dennery North, Shawn Edward.

Over the last few months there has been talk of Edward’s alleged use of National Lotteries Authority (NLA) funds through what was described as a “minister’s account”.

At a parliament sitting earlier this year, Member for Castries Southeast Guy Joseph had cited minutes of the NLA’s 148th board meeting, held on November 16, 2012, in which it stated:  “All allocations of NLA funds . . . the next step would then be developing a formula that would assist in regularising the amount in the minister’s account.”

Another quote he had read to the House was: “It is suggested that the disbursement into the minister’s accounts . . . did not reflect the amount requested. This may have been a communication error.”

At the time, Edward had stood in his own defense, denying that such an account ever existed.

“The member is imputing improper motives when he suggests there’s an account in the minister’s name. When I attempted to address that matter earlier on, I made it categorically clear that there is no account, and there is no record to substantiate in any bank in Saint Lucia that there is an account in the name of the National Lotteries Authority, or any of the agencies that were under my ministerial watch, called a minister’s account,” Edward had stated.

Tuesday’s several hour-long-discussion became heated with a number of interruptions from both sides after the issue was raised. Joseph and Anse La Raye member Dominic Fedee asked questions about the alleged “minister’s account.”

While responding to Joseph’s accusations, Edward called him a “political hitman.” This was later withdrawn after a ruling by Speaker of the House Leonne Theodore-John that it was offensive language, in support of a request from Member for Gros lset Lenard Montoute.

Moreover, Edward in further defending his name, called on UWP members to prove “when was the account set up? What was the purpose of that account being set up?”

“That is very easy to verify. All you have to do is to go to the commercial banks, in the case of lotteries, two of them -the Scotiabank and the Bank of St. Lucia – and it was set up during the reign of the member for Gros Islet,” Edward told the House.

“…Look at the opening dates of the accounts. And I want you to come in this honourable House and show me one account that was set up at any bank when I was the minister for youth development and sports,” he said forcefully.

The House speaker responded to Edward comments by stating: “What he (the opposition member) did, he stuck to a path, to show a result… He articulated his position to show where it is he was going and so proved… from where he is standing and with the documents quoted… there was an impropriety on your part in the administration of National Lotteries funds.”

To this, Edward responded by stating that the opposition member’s language was offensive since he referred to him as being guilty of impropriety, asking that it should be withdraw.

“The member cannot be allowed to stand here and refer to me of being guilty of impropriety. That is more than debating a matter that is before us. That is an attack on my character and my reputation…” Edward said.

Deliberations continued on this topic for hours until a resolution was eventually passed.

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19 COMMENTS

  1. What nonsense is this? As far as I am concern, no account whatsoever should be called the "Minister's Account." Couldn't a better term be used? Always some shate going on in this country, with no end in sight with these hooligans. Gosh man!

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  2. Guy Joseph when in opposition was a pesky yapping terrier in pursuing clarification and accountability, people found his antics funny but now in government he behaves like a sly mongoose. I had hoped he would amount to much more than hot air!

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  3. Telling people/politicians things like "your day must come" is contributing to the revengeful society that we are now living in. If you disagree with a statement say so and give a reason. You are the same people who complain about crime and murders, however you contribute to sowing seeds of discord by personally attacking people without any evidence. Let those politicians duke it out in the House, that's their job. Stick to yours, which is even more important - that of separating the facts from the fake news or malpalance.

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  4. All debate is welcomed. At least we, the smarter people, will have a chance to decipher what went on by analyzing the questions and answers of the members. It is moronic to call people names, whether is Guy or Shawn. That's not the way intelligent independent thinking people should be behaving. Calling names is a deliberate way of choosing a party or showing favoritism to any political group.

    I welcome any debate, and I am upset over anyone walking out of the House, it just shows how disrespectful politicians can be and how some of us facilitate and endorse that type of offensive behavior. When you were part of a lecture at school did you ever walk out of lecture room because you disagreed with the teacher or another student? It just shows that when it is not our money invested it is easy to renege on what we had promised to do. So when we listen to debates or utterances by politicians it is necessary that we try to analyze what they say and be less concerned with who they are, what they look like or what party they represent. Remember we are not representing our personal interest but also the interest of those who are incapable of doing it themselves, like our children. We can walk out on ourselves but cannot walk Out on them.

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    • Sorry, but walking out is part of the democratic parliamentary process. In fact, in the absence of prescribed sanctions that an Opposition party can employ to deal with occasions when the ruling party is taking advantage of it, walking out is the best thing to do, for the records. The people who elected those who walk out will understand. Walking out happens all over the world in democratic systems. And, by the way, do you know that there is a grop of parliamentarians in the UK who have never taken their seats in the Parliament of Westminister ? But they keep going up for elections and people keep voting for them. The voters have never asked them to go to the House of Commons to represent them.. Isn't this worse than walking out ?

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  5. I remember when the UWP PRO Kernisha Flavien would post and stress at the fact that the minister's account was in Shawn Edward's name. Now tell me Miss PRO since you have the answer to everything and that you are always right... How could the account be in Shawn's name when he wasn't a politiician as yet? Why place the blame on SLP when the crafty dirt workers were the ones doing it from time? Why can't you be unbias and see it for what it is and who should take responsibility? Why can't you blame spider? As for Guy self idk his relevance for politics but he should leave it.

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  6. Who will beat Shawn in the valley. Only Shawn himself.. This is the only sure seat for labour if an election is call in 6 months time. Our politics now growing. Nothing constructive debating in the house. We all know the process when this one take and that one take. Is just that in this case somebody take more than guy so he upset.. But who knows he is behaving in that manner so the attention will focus somewhere else. Dominique should keep quite because he know full well his election campaign was funded by outside forces. Anse la Raye people watch it, don't expect nothing. But remember to stop him when he speeding heading to Canaries.

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  7. Those idiots their debating about minister account and we have high unemployment, high crime rate, poverty etc, and that's what you'll debating about, that's what we voted for, what a set of jokers, it's pot calling kettle black affair cause all of you corrupt, so please do the job we voted you for and stop the nonsense.

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  8. Why is Guy's main objective since he resumed office to try to get dirt on every opposition member? The answer to me is clear. It is to deflect attention from the dirt on him and the dirt he is currently involved in. If he destroys everybody's credibility, then nobody will be listening to them when they start pointing fingers at him.

    Very crafty and deceitful politician.

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  9. Why is Guy's main objective to search for dirt on every opposition member? The answer is clear; to deflect attention from the dirt on him and the dirt that he is now assembling.

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  10. its time to resurrect the staff party for me to campaign and make sure they win, so we can reap real rewards like air condition units under all breadfruit trees. Now that is progress and a party with a vision .Soooouuuu Tout Apw'ee Fett Feni STAFF PARTY ME SEH!!!!!!!!! Can't wait to vote

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  11. Sean Edwards isnt looking good anymore...both literally and figuratively. Enjoy your last four years as a representative.

    (36)(36)

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