Cor­rup­tion Cited!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By

You can take the man out of the coun­try but you can’t take the coun­try out of the man. So goes a lo­cal tru­ism that may or may not be re­lated to the manger co­chon that passed for the An­nual Gen­eral Meet­ing of the Saint Lu­cia House Foun­da­tion (for­merly He­len­ites Cen­ter!) con­vened on Mon­day, April 6, 2015 at 438 E49 Street, Brook­lyn, New York.

The meet­ing spun right out of con­trol when the sit­ting ex­ec­u­tive at­tempted to reg­is­ter eight groups—which some con­sid­ered a de­lib­er­ate at­tempt to rig the elec­tions.

Tra­di­tion­ally, groups present their ap­pli­ca­tions to the ex­ec­u­tive and gen­eral body at a monthly meet­ing where they are af­forded the op­por­tu­nity to say why they would like to be­come mem­bers. How­ever, in the case of the al­leged il­le­gal eight, this was not done. Sub­se­quently, each reg­is­tered group was al­lowed to have two mem­bers par­tic­i­pat­ing in the vot­ing process.

It can be con­cluded that the ex­ec­u­tive reg­is­tered eight non-ex­is­tent groups in an ef­fort to re­tain of­fice. One in­di­vid­ual who has been ac­cused mul­ti­ple times of mis­han­dling the as­so­ci­a­tion’s funds, per­suaded her friends and fam­ily to reg­is­ter three groups not pre­vi­ously ap­proved by the ex­ec­u­tive.

Con­sul-Gen­eral, Ju­lian Du Bois, sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the al­le­ga­tions of fake groups from fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor Ce­cil St. Jules, hus­band of Lorine Charles St. Jules, U.S Mid­west­ern Re­gion, Re­gional Mar­ket­ing Manager. St. Jules con­firmed the groups were in­deed reg­is­tered. When asked about the eight reg­is­tered by Curtis Browne, the foun­da­tion’s PRO and an ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber, Mr. St. Jules was un­able to shed new light on the is­sue.

Two weeks prior to the AGM, the Con­sul-Gen­eral sent out an email to the ex­ec­u­tive body, and copied it to Am­bas­sador Menissa Ram­bally, wherein he ob­served that a nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee had not yet been ap­pointed as re­quired by Ar­ti­cle vii, Sec­tion 10 of the foun­da­tion’s Con­sti­tu­tion. Du Bois fur­ther sug­gested the elec­tions should be post­poned in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate his rec­om­men­da­tion. On re­view of the con­sti­tu­tion Browne in­formed the Con­sul­Gen­eral that he had mis­read the con­sti­tu­tion; that it con­tained no such rec­om­men­da­tion.

Con­se­quently, Mr. Du Bois with­drew his state­ment and the elec­tions were al­lowed to pro­ceed. At the sched­uled AGM, due to mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tions speak­ing up against the cor­rup­tion and bla­tant at­tempts to sell the elec­tion, the Con­sul­Gen­eral post­poned the elec­tion. Alas, his chair­man­ship was re­voked on the ba­sis that the con­sti­tu­tion pro­vided for the tak­ing over by the board of di­rec­tors when a meet­ing has be­come un­ruly—a propo­si­tion that could not be sub­stan­ti­ated. Mean­while, in an ef­fort to set­tle the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions, mem­bers asked to be fur­nished with the min­utes of the pre­vi­ous meet­ing.

Mr. Du Bois promised to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion and resched­ule the elec­tion for Mon­day, April 20, 2015. He added, how­ever, that the prob­lem­atic eight groups will be al­lowed to vote on this new date. It is an­tic­i­pated the new meet­ing will end in up­roar, as did the last.

The com­mu­nity is ask­ing for mean­ing­ful change and res­o­lu­tions that would erase traces of alien­ation. They want to be part of the so­lu­tion, not part of the prob­lem. They are ask­ing for con­sti­tu­tional re­form and a change in the cur­rent regime. One mem­ber said: “The ac­tions of the ex­ec­u­tive have cre­ated mis­trust and di­vi­sion, not to say to­tal po­lar­iza­tion.”

They are ask­ing for a fair elec­tion, with only legally reg­is­tered groups par­tic­i­pat­ing. Most im­por­tantly, they are ask­ing for a neu­tral party to over­see the up­com­ing elec­tion process.

The Saint Lu­cia House foun­da­tion was es­tab­lished in 2010 with the man­date to serve as the um­brella or­ga­ni­za­tion for New York, New Jer­sey and Con­necti­cut, work­ing in con­junc­tion with the Saint Lu­cia con­sulate in New York. Elec­tions are held ev­ery two years. The cur­rent Pres­i­dent and most of the ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers have been on the board from the foun­da­tion’s in­cep­tion.

At this last meet­ing on Mon­day, the min­utes of the last meet­ing, that were in­ac­ces­si­ble, would have proved whether there had been vet­ting or men­tion of the eight new groups.

We will con­tinue to dis­rupt ev­ery meet­ing un­til this is sorted out. An in­junc­tion to stop the elec­tions on April 20 is be­ing sought.

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