(SNO) – The ruling United Workers Party (UWP) is demanding answers from the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) over the appointment of a Saudi billionaire, Walid Juffali, as a diplomat when the SLP held the reign of power.
The UWP is raising concerns in light of an Al Jazeera documentary, Diplomats for Sale, which alleged that diplomatic passports and positions are being sold by Caribbean countries to rich foreigner to gain diplomatic immunity.
Juffali, who died in 2016, was appointed Saint Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in July in April 2014.
Following that concerns were raised that he was using his diplomatic immunity status to protect his wealth from his ex-wife during divorce proceedings.
In a statement on Friday, the UWP said he was appointed to the post by Castries South MP and former High Commissioner Dr Ernest Hilaire and the St Lucia Labour Party Administration and is very concerned over the matter.
“These concerns are extremely valid given the negative light in which Saint Lucia’s appointment of Walid Juffali by the former Government was mentioned in Al Jazeera’s investigative piece titled “Diplomats for Sale,'” the statement said.
Therefore, the party is demanding answers from Hilaire, former prime minister, Dr. Kenny Anthony and the SLP.
“As revealed by host of “Talk” Rick Wayne, did Ernest Hilaire and The St Lucia Labour Party know that Dr Juffali was seeking a diplomatic appointment purely for diplomatic immunity status?” the party asked.
The UWP also asked, “Given the revelations of the Al Jazeera documentary with regards to Diplomatic Passports and Quid Pro Quo, did Ernest Hilaire or any member of the Labour Party receive any benefits for issuing Juffali’s diplomatic passport?”
“The UWP feels it necessary and an obligation on the part of the SLP and the former High Commissioner Dr Hilaire to answer these pertinent questions as Saint Lucians deserve to know what really happened given the current negative light being shone on Saint Lucia because of this appointment,” the party said.