Tuesday 26 May, 2020

Hilaire, Chastanet Square Off in Defamation Case

Castries South parliamentarian Ernest Hilaire on Wednesday said he was looking forward to his day in court with Prime Minister Allen Chastanet in the defamation case he filed against Chastanet.

The case is about pronouncements purportedly made by the prime minister, linking Hilaire to the sale of diplomatic passports, the controversial appointment of now deceased Saudi Arabian billionaire Walid Juffali as St. Lucia’s Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and holder of a diplomatic passport issued by the Government of St. Lucia under a Labour administration and the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).

The case took on new meaning to the public when Chastanet, in his debate-ending presentation in the House of Assembly last Thursday on the Estimates of Expenditure for the financial year 2018 – 2019 announced that investigations were ongoing into the Juffali matter. Chastanet also put Hilaire 'on notice' saying he does not take his advice on CIP issues as he believes he has completely discredited himself in this area.

The prime minister told the House that Hilaire was brazen to take him to court for defamation, a case that has been postponed three times at Hilaire’s request.

According to the prime minister, since Hilaire created the case a lot of evidence had been unearthed, evidence which has been passed over to the relevant authorities.

Hilaire has denied that the case’s postponements were as a result of requests made by him, stating that he can easily prove that to be an untruth made by the prime minister.

Hilaire is not perturbed at all by the prime minister’s pronouncements of an investigation into the Juffali matter, encouraging the prime minister to continue talking about it and to keep repeating all the things he said in the past about Hilaire and diplomatic passports and Juffali.

“He (prime minister) should ask his lawyer why I am asking him to repeat all what he is saying about the Juffali matter. I like it when he keeps on repeating it,” Hilaire said.

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