With the July 12 resignation of government minister Jimmy Henry still fresh in the minds of Saint Lucians, renewed called are being made for the same for Senator Ubaldus Raymond, who was at the centre of a nude photo scandal in January this year.
Raymond had defended his credibility when the photos allegedly belonging to him, were shared on social media. He dismissed those claims and said at a news conference on January 13 that he was blackmailed.
Subsequently, 18-year-old Kershel Louis was charged with aiding and abetting blackmail in relation to the scandal.
At a Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) press conference on Thursday (July 13), SLP leader Philip J. Pierre said every political party and government should set standards to oversee the behaviour of their officials and if they fall short, they should be required to leave office.
He said that apart from the legal ramifications, ethics should also be seriously considered.
“[People say] ‘oh, you all accuse people of corruption and you all didn’t arrest anybody’. It’s not a matter of arresting anybody, it’s a matter of being ethical. It’s a matter of stopping conflict of interest… It was unethical and it was immoral and sometimes in the politics of Saint Lucia and in public life we must begin now to deal with a lot more ethics. So if you do something that’s immoral then you should do the wise thing and leave government,” he said.
Pierre said that no SLP official would remain in government if there was such a scandal involving them.
“The leadership of the country [and] the political party must set standards. None of the men in our party, if they have ever found themselves committing these transgressions [and] that can be proved, they will not remain in our government. I can assure you of that,” he stated.
Pierre drove his point by highlighting the resignation of Soufriere MP Walter Francois during the SLP’s reign.
“When there was a minister who missed his PHD by just one course and he was asked to resign. That wasn’t anything illegal he did but it was a matter of ethics,” Pierre said.
Since the scandal, many have called for Raymond’s resignation via social media groups and blogs.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, making his first public comments on the matter, had said Raymond did the right thing in making a report to the police.
Despite the continued public outcry against the senator’s continued presence in government, Chastanet refused to take any action, stating that everyone should await the outcome of the court case.