Chas­tanet says it’s time to cut Juf­fali loose!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Apress re­lease from the of­fices of the United Work­ers’ Party on Fri­day urged Prime Min­is­ter Kenny An­thony to “do the right thing and re­voke Dr. Walid Juf­fali’s diplo­matic sta­tus in the best in­ter­ests of Saint Lu­cia.” The re­lease ref­er­enced “the fur­ther dam­age to the is­land’s over­seas im­age” caused by the fall-out from the world-wide me­dia cov­er­age the Juf­fali is­sue has at­tracted, “nearly all of it at Saint Lu­cia’s ex­pense.”

The UWP re­called its ear­lier warn­ing of the pos­si­ble con­se­quences in in­ter­na­tional diplo­matic cir­cles if the govern­ment main­tained its in­tran­si­gence on the is­sue of Dr. Juf­fali’s widely dis­puted diplo­matic im­mu­nity. The re­lease quoted party leader Allen Chas­tanet as say­ing there would be a price to pay for the Kenny An­thony ad­min­is­tra­tion’s stub­born­ness in the face of well-in­ten­tioned ad­vice.

A UWP govern­ment will do the right thing for the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia, Fri­day’s re­lease promised, “by dis­pens­ing with the non-per­form­ing Dr. Juf­fali and re­plac­ing him as our rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­ga­ni­za­tion with a qual­i­fied and car­ing Saint Lu­cian.” The party also promised, if elected to of­fice, “to get to the bot­tom of why and how Juf­fali’s ap­point­ment was made.”

The Saudi’s ap­point­ment re­mains shrouded in mys­tery, noted the UWP in its re­lease. “It was never an­nounced to the Saint Lu­cian peo­ple and con­tin­ues to be af­forded zero trans­parency.” Be­sides: “Our party con­tin­ues to con­tend that Dr. Juf­fali’s ap­point­ment was cal­cu­lat­edly kept se­cret un­til it was ex­posed by a Lon­don news­pa­per.”

The For­eign and Com­mon­wealth Of­fice in Lon­don ap­pealed in vain to the Saint Lu­cia govern­ment to sus­pend Dr. Juf­fali’s diplo­matic im­mu­nity so that his wife might have the op­por­tu­nity to place her di­vorce­set­tle­ment case be­fore a Bri­tish court, noted Fri­day’s re­lease.

“The mat­ter was nev­er­the­less heard,” the com­mu­niqué points out, “and Dr. Juf­fali’s ap­point­ment de­clared ‘spu­ri­ous,’ and an ‘ar­ti­fi­cial con­struct’ de­signed solely to serve his de­ter­mi­na­tion to avoid the suit brought by his ex-wife. The judge also ac­knowl­edged Dr. Juf­fali’s fail­ure to carry out any of the du­ties of his of­fice.”

While Dr. Juf­fali’s lawyers have ap­pealed the judge’s de­ci­sion, said the re­lease fi­nally, “it is time to at­tempt a restora­tion of Saint Lu­cia’s once proud rep­u­ta­tion. Es­pe­cially in th­ese dif­fi­cult times, with our strug­gling econ­omy, ris­ing crime and a rep­u­ta­tion for deny­ing cit­i­zens their con­sti­tu­tional and hu­man rights, the UWP is de­ter­mined to cor­rect the sit­u­a­tion. We are con­fi­dent th­ese chal­lenges can be over­come for the ben­e­fit of all Saint Lu­cians.”

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