Saturday 28 March, 2020

Pierre, Hilaire fire back at Joseph, Chastanet on Pajoah issue

The SLP held a press conference earlier today where Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre and Castries South MP Ernest Hilaire both gave statements on the Pajoah letter issue.

Pierre said, "The response provided by Hon Guy Joseph to my earlier call for his dismissal in relation to the PAJOAH letter scandal is an insult to all Saint Lucians who desire a country governed with integrity, transparency and accountability. I am not surprised Hon Guy Joseph’s response was empty and simply disrespectful. His reaction was an act of gross arrogance and showed scant regard for the laws and procedures which are in place to avoid corruption and misbehavior in public office.

Inspite of the Prime Minister’s equally bewildering response to the question posed to him on the issue there are more questions than answers.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party would like to know:

1. Why did it take the Prime Minister over three months to ask Minister Guy Joseph whether the letter was authentic?

2. Why did Guy Joseph not on disclosure of the letter immediately say that the signature was a forgery?

3. The letter in question sought funding for two projects, the Street Lighting Project and the St. Jude Hospital, however why did the Prime Minister include the Police Headquarters?

4. The Street Lighting Project was estimated by the CDB in May 2016 to cost $34.8M. The letter requested $167.4M meaning that $132.5 more was requested. What was the additional $132.5M for? Did the government require $132.5M more for St. Jude?

5. If the commitment in the letter was according to Guy Joseph not intended to be binding on the Government was it intended to mislead or misinform the “suitable financial institution that would be able to provide the requisite financing”.

Hon Guy Joseph in his usual arrogance and useless bluster tried to deflect from the Pajoah letter by referring to the usual UWP refrain of Lindquist.

Today, I want to explain that the PAJOAH Letter Scandal is just an extension of the behaviour of Guy Joseph. It is unbelievable and shameless that Guy Joseph would bring up the Lindquist Investigation and claim to be innocent. Instead of blustering about the cost of the Lindquist investigation, why has he not continued the investigation?
You will recall that soon after the elections of 2016, Guy Joseph, with great arrogance, informed the country that one of his first acts as a Minister would be to ask the AG about the status of the Robert Lindquist investigation.
Did he ask the AG and if not, why not and if he did, what was the response of the AG?

Did the AG ignore the Minister?

Guy Joseph boasts that the SLP spent $3 million investigating him and came up with nothing. He keeps asking the SLP to present the Lindquist report, yet on September 12, 2017, Guy Joseph informed Parliament that “…when I am ready to deal with him, I have everything there, everything, and I want the world to see this report”. Why isn’t he releasing the Report?

When Offshore Alert released information that the US Government had filed a case in the District Court in Florida into what some called the Assenza matter, the Prime Minister promised an investigation. What is the status of that investigation Mr Prime Minister?

The Prime Minister has said that the Lindquist investigation did not follow proper procedure. Which procedure, Prime Minister, was not followed? What have you done about the “procedures” which were violated and or who violated the procedures?

The PAJOAH Letter Scandal must be addressed and the Labour Party will not rest until it is investigated. Again, I repeat if the signature was authentic then this was a serious matter and Guy Joseph should be disciplined for gross misbehavior in public office. If the signature was not authentic then this is an equally serious matter and the Prime Minister must involve all relevant agencies including a recognized handwriting expert to ascertain the forgery of the letter.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party will inspite of the arrogance, threats and bravado of Guy Joseph continue to address this matter with greater intensity if the Prime Minister does not respond to calls to take action.

Hilaire said, "On Tuesday May 27, 2019 the Prime Minister was a guest on Andre Paul’s “What makes me Mad” talk show and when asked if the PAJOAH letter had not been signed by Guy Joseph could that not be seen as a major breach of national security.

In response the Prime Minister stated “Won’t be the first. Sadly. I mean we had Ernest Hilaire, this is gonna be taken up in the House, that was trying to introduce a document that had somebody’s signature on it and the document that he has is a false document. I am saying that publicly. Alright. So the document that he presented to the House had the signature page of the original document but it did not have the body of it. Same issue.”

Let me address this matter. This comment by the Prime Minister is absolutely false, and highly defamatory. It therefore seems to me that the Prime Minister does not learn. He cannot seem to understand that as a Prime Minister he just cannot continue to mislead and lie. Some years ago the Court of Appeal in the Tuxedo Villas appeal found he was not a witness of the truth.

The Prime Minister nevertheless says this matter will be taken up in the House. I am anxiously waiting and I can assure you that he will be severely embarrassed.

Publicly, the Prime Minister must put up or shut up. If I am part of producing forged documents, or in possession of documents that are fraudulent the Prime Minister must produce the correct document to prove that the document was a false document then he must request that the Office of the DPP investigate the matter. I am prepared to testify, under oath, who gave me the document and under what circumstances. At the same time, I expect Donovan Williams, Douglas Parker and the Cabinet Secretary will also be interviewed and required to testify under oath and provide all relevant information on the signing of the document and other relevant documents.

It is a major failing for a Prime Minister to announce publicly that there are persons out there forging documents and signatures of Government officials and a Minister yet do nothing about it. That does not sound right and sensible. Prime Minister act up, you are in power, investigate the PAJOAH letter and the so-called Lockerbie Contract. Prime Minister take note, you have taken this matter to a new level and we will not let it rest. We will be relentless in seeking the truth relating to the PAJOAH Letter and the “Lockerbie Contract”."

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