Leader of the Opposition Philip J. Pierre has called upon Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee to recuse himself from any Cabinet decisions concerning his former employer, Sandals.
Reacting to yesterday’s exchange between Fedee – who is also responsible for the government’s information and broadcasting portfolios – and journalist Miguel Fevrier, Pierre said: “What concerns me is the seeming lack of transparency in that situation…. Dominic Fedee’s last job before he became a minister was as an employee of Sandals. Therefore, the prime minister should exercise the necessary judgement and advise Dominic Fedee to not only recuse himself, but try as far as possible not to make statements that seem to favour Sandals.”
In addition, Pierre highlighted what he considered to be a contrast between campaign promises of transparency and current practice.
“The government seems to be on a policy of suppression of free speech. You recall the Rehani Isidore issue, where the prime minister berated Mr. Isidore and certain things happened after. Then, you can recall the recent situation regarding Dr. Tennyson Joseph, where the prime minister openly called for his dismissal from an institution of higher learning”. [editor’s note: PM Allen Chastanet never explicitly opined that Dr. Joseph be fired, but rather expressed surprise that he was still “allowed” to teach students]
The opposition leader went on to link these past incidents with the testy back-and-forth between Fedee and Fevrier.
“Miguel Fevrier is exercising his right to ask questions. The simple thing for the minister to say was that there is no truth…. there a disposition of the government towards vindictiveness…and this is very worrisome.”
Pierre also questioned whether the minister’s past and recent statements disparaged market vendors.
“It’s the same Dominic Fedee who said that Jazz is not for the vendors in Marchand…so there is a tendency from the government to berate vendors and people from the lower income groups. The vendors were very necessary during the campaign…but right now vendor’s talk, to Dominic Fedee, is irrelevant and not worthy of discussion.”
Concluding by returning to the issue of recusal, Pierre also called for Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to recuse himself from any Cabinet decisions pertaining to Coco Palm Hotel, which is owned by the Chastanet family.