GOV­ERN­MENT CON­FIRMS UK RE­QUEST

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Apress state­ment com­ing from the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter on Tues­day De­cem­ber 29, 2015 ac­knowl­edges that the gov­ern­ment of Saint Lucia has been asked by the UK gov­ern­ment to waive diplo­matic im­mu­nity of Dr. Walid Juf­fali. The gov­ern­ment here, how­ever, has not in­di­cated whether it will ac­qui­esce to the re­quest.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lucia con­firms that it has re­ceived a re­quest from Mr. Ju­lian Evans of the Pro­to­col Direc­torate of the For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice to grant a waiver of the diplo­matic im­mu­nity of Dr. Walid Ahmed Juf­fali, the Saint Lu­cian Per­ma­nent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion in the United King­dom, to an­swer a claim for ad­di­tional fi­nan­cial re­lief in the High Court in Lon­don from his ex-wife, whom he had di­vorced in Saudi Ara­bia,” the press state­ment com­mences.

Fur­ther: “The Pro­to­col Direc­torate says that the re­quest was made af­ter it re­ceived cor­re­spon­dence from the le­gal firm rep­re­sent­ing the ex-wife of Dr. Juf­fali, Hughes Fowler Car­ruthers.”

Ac­cord­ing to the release, the of­fice of the prime min­is­ter first be­came aware of the re­quest in two ar­ti­cles pub­lished in two Bri­tish News­pa­pers on De­cem­ber 27, 2015, The Mail On Sun­day and The Tele­graph.

“The Gov­ern­ment of Saint Lucia has al­ways stated that it would not re­spond to re­quests from pri­vate lawyers to lift the im­mu­nity of Dr. Juf­fali or any of its di­plo­mats as such re­quests can only come from the re­ceiv­ing state where the diplo­mat is based. To do oth­er­wise would be to ex­pose our di­plo­mats, wher­ever they are as­signed, to the whims of pri­vate lawyers,” the state­ment went on to say.

“How­ever, mat­ters of this na­ture are gov­erned by the Vi­enna Con­ven­tion on Diplo­matic Re­la­tions, 1961. Both Saint Lucia and the Gov­ern­ment of the United King­dom are sig­na­to­ries to the Con­ven­tion, and are bound by its pro­vi­sions, pro­ce­dures and con­ven­tions, “the state­ment goes on to add.

The release ends: “Saint Lucia en­joys close po­lit­i­cal and diplo­matic ties with the United King­dom and will, there­fore, fol­low the well es­tab­lished diplo­matic chan­nels to ad­dress this mat­ter while pro­tect­ing its in­tegrity as a sov­er­eign state”.

The claim for ad­di­tional re­lief by Dr. Juf­fali’s ex-wife will be heard in the High Court in Lon­don from Jan­uary 18-22, 2016.

There has been no word com­ing from Saint Lucia’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Alva Bap­tiste on the Juf­fali af­fair. Has he been gagged by the prime min­is­ter?

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