Government’s response to the issue involving its recently-known Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Dr. Sheik Walid Juffali has raised many eyebrows.
But Political Leader of the Lucian People Movement (LPM) Therold Prudent believes that there is more to the issue, which the Kenny Anthony administration is not saying to the people of Saint Lucia.
“There is something greater than what we are being told,” Prudent told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) on Tuesday (Jan.19) in an exclusive interview regarding the Juffali affair.
Prudent said he believes that every Saint Lucian should be concerned about the actions of the government and Dr. Kenny Anthony, with regards to Dr. Juffali’s immunity and performance.
The government said on Monday that they intend to uphold the principle of diplomatic immunity by allowing Dr. Juffali to invoke his diplomatic immunity in the civil case brought by his ex-wife.
This comes a week after the British government had requested that the Saint Lucia government waive Dr. Juffali’s immunity to proceed with the legal matter involving his ex-wife.
The LPM leader asserted that the Government of Saint Lucia has not been transparent from the inception and it gives enough space for suspicions and for persons to start demanding answers.
Prudent recalled that nothing was known about Dr. Juffali, until the British tabloids began publishing stories that the government here was at the helm of one of the biggest divorce cases in England.
“This tells us now that since our government is refusing to waive his immunity and accede to the request of the British government that there is something more to it,” he added.
Saint Lucians, he said, should stop to ask, “What is it in the Juffali deal that makes government feel that it’s at peril to be able to remove the immunity of Dr. Juffali?”
Prudent said: You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are blocking or preventing the courts in England to move ahead in divorce proceedings, simply because you wish to become a stumbling block for a man who knows nothing about our country and a man who we don’t know what deal you made with him, and why immunity was given.”
The LPM leader maintains that the Juffali affair raises a lot of frightening questions.
“Why such a small country such as Saint Lucia would go on a limb to ensure that Dr. Juffali is not stripped of his immunity and denying his wife the opportunity to challenge him in court?”
He said this also sends a “very strong message” to women in Saint Lucia, that government would allegedly do anything to deny women their rights in court.
“If you have a government that will do anything to protect a man and ensure that his wife of over 20 years does not have the ability to challenge him in court, then what does it tell you about our women here in Saint Lucia. They have to look at it from that point of view,” he stressed.
But more importantly, Prudent said besides the divorce issue, Dr. Juffali has not proven to be someone who has Saint Lucia’s interest at heart, because he has never attended an IMO meeting.
“Not representing Saint Lucia says a lot. It means that this guy does not care about Saint Lucia. It tells me that the government is more concerned about aspects of whatever alleged secret deals they may have with Juffali.”
Prudent said the interest of Saint Lucia is more important than the interest of the St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) or any political organisation here in St. Lucia and this should be taken into consideration.