Government’s decision to stay tight-lipped about the alleged resignation and police investigation of an agriculture official has been met with some sharp criticism from the Lucian People’s Movement (LPM).
Minister in the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Physical Planning, Natural Resources and Co-operatives, Jimmy Henry, according to disclosures made by talk show host Richard Frederick last week, was allegedly stopped by police at the George F.L. Charles Airport and questioned regarding the alleged possession of a significant sum of undisclosed cash.
There have also been rumours that the minister may resign.
LPM Leader Therold Prudent said government’s refusal to set the matter straight is an indication of the administration’s lack of transparency. He is adamant that the people need answers and that a statement should be issued as soon as possible.
“It’s almost as if the UWP is of the impression that they’ll be in power forever; [that] they’ll never be out of office and so they can do what they wish or anything they want – almost like taking the mandate which was given to them for granted. Basically, I am not here to accuse Mr. Jimmy Henry or the UWP of anything. But what I am saying is, if there are questions of nefarious activities within the UWP occurring and be it allegations, it is incumbent on the Prime Minister Mr. Allen Chastanet to step forward and clear the air,” Prudent said.
The LPM leader further stated, “They are very slow to answering questions. I don’t know if it’s as a result of ignorance, and being unfamiliar with governance because he is a new prime minister, he is not in the mold of John Compton. He is a different kind of prime minister, one that we have never seen in terms of style and in terms of operations…but at the same time being accountable to the people of St. Lucia is something that no prime minister regardless of style can afford to take lightly….”
Prudent said it is not proper that serious allegations of criminal behaviour are made against government officials and the people are told nothing.
“If there is nothing then we will accept that there is nothing but if there is something that needs to be dealt with, the people of Saint Lucia must be told about it. And you can’t just lead a government where allegations of inappropriate behaviour occurs and you say nothing about it believing that you don’t have to account to the people of St. Lucia,” Prudent told HTS Newsforce.
Prudent believes that this situation should worry St. Lucians as “it appears that Chastanet is intent on leading a government that feels that it is not accountable to the people of St. Lucia”.
Henry has declined to speak to the media so far on the allegations.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is currently on vacation leave and will return to office on July 31, 2017.