An Open Let­ter to Rick Wayne

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LETTER -

Dear Rick, I need help. I need it to ex­plain cer­tain mat­ters that have trou­bled me ever since the is­land re­turned Labour to of­fice in 1997. I state as truth­fully and as sim­ply as I can that there has never been in my hum­ble es­ti­ma­tion a politi­cian in Saint Lu­cia, from adult suf­frage to the present, who has at­tempted to use the laws to in­tim­i­date, dis­tract and hood­wink op­po­nents as the one who be­came Prime min­is­ter that year. That man was for­ever threat­en­ing some­one or group with court ac­tion. It was as if he knew some­thing in the laws that no one else knows. Guy Joseph and Allen Chas­tanet were sub­jected to end­less ha­rass­ment by his party hacks. Why do you think Guy and Allen were se­lected as tar­gets?

About one month fol­low­ing the 2016 gen­eral elec­tions when he seemed to have fi­nally re­cov­ered from the knock­out blow in­flicted by the elec­torate, the first thing the man did was to chal­lenge the same Allen Chas­tanet (now his and the peo­ples’ Prime Min­is­ter) to al­low the bo­gus charge which was brought against Allen for help­ing the peo­ple of Soufriere, to stand in court. My sense is that, since pol­i­tics was at the root of that court case, Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet should now use the same au­thor­ity which the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter used, to bring an end to such an ar­ro­gant and reck­less po­lit­i­cal mind, and let the chips fall where they may. What do you think Rick and what should be done about the for­mer leader? Clearly, the man needs help. In the for­mer Soviet Union he would have been con­signed to a State-run asy­lum.

The other mat­ter per­tains to one which you re­cently raised in your Star news­pa­per con­cern­ing the He­len­ites af­fair and the Gryn­berg oil ex­plo­ration deal. More in­for­ma­tion is needed on these is­sues. I note the con­cerns you shared with your read­ers and I too wish to share what in­trigues and both­ers me at this time. The mat­ters as­so­ci­ated with these two have, to my knowl­edge, at least two prin­ci­ple lo­cal ac­tors – Hunt­ley and An­thony. But why go after the lit­tle fish and not the larger shark? Who was the boss, Hunt­ley or An­thony?

Be­fore pro­ceed­ing let me set the record straight by vol­un­teer­ing that I was the Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs when Earl Hunt­ley was con­firmed as Per­ma­nent Sec­re­tary in that Min­istry, upon my rec­om­men­da­tion to the Prime Min­is­ter. I has­ten to add that there was noth­ing per­sonal in my rec­om­men­da­tion. Mr. Hunt­ley ap­peared to be a per­son of some in­tel­li­gence whom I deemed com­pe­tent in his work. I also wish to add that I made no as­sess­ment of his char­ac­ter or his in­tegrity as a man, as I did not think then it im­pacted my Min­istry or the Gov­ern­ment.

Hav­ing cleared this let me say that I’ve been deeply trou­bled by the Gryn­berg mat­ter and more so about the si­lence of the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter. The Star news­pa­per has re­minded us of the dou­ble stan­dards that have been in­flicted on the un­sus­pect­ing peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia by the for­mer Gov­ern­ment. Here was a Gov­ern­ment that seemed to know Chas­tanet and Caz­abon had cir­cum­vented the law in the Soufriere mat­ter yet it had com­pletely lost its tongue when the spot­light turned to Gryn­berg and the He­len­ites af­fairs. To this day the man refuses to speak clearly and sim­ply on these two dis­turb­ing is­sues. Rick, what can be done to make the man speak truth to the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia?

It is dif­fi­cult for any­one with a mod­icum of in­tel­li­gence not to have per­ceived that for­mer Am­bas­sador Hunt­ley was a go-be­tween in the Gryn­berg mat­ter. Why was there need for him after Hunt­ley’s first in­tro­duc­tion of the two main play­ers? I hold no brief for Hunt­ley; I am, how­ever, aware that in pol­i­tics the buck stops at the desk of the leader. Do you know why some lead­ers love to use oth­ers as shield? Have you ever done that?

The log­i­cal ques­tion for any pa­tri­otic Saint Lu­cian is this: Why has the for­mer SLP Gov­ern­ment not ap­plied the same ar­gu­ment it did in the Caz­abon (and later Chas­tanet) mat­ter at Soufriere, in the He­len­ites and Gryn­berg af­fairs? Where does the buck stop; is it at the feet of mi­nor op­er­a­tives or is it at the feet of the one who makes fi­nal de­ci­sions and is­sues in­struc­tions?

The same sort of ques­tion comes to mind on the il­le­gal drugs is­sue. Why are small­time users and sell­ers sent to prison while the big men who im­port the stuff are free to roam about in their large, flashy cars to drink brandy at some of the most ex­pen­sive homes on the is­land and move about as freely as law-abid­ing ci­ti­zens? An­swer that Rick, if you can.

Rick, I re­main sus­pi­cious, if not fully con­vinced, that the at­tempt to in­tim­i­date Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet on the Soufriere is­sue is an­other huge smoke screen aimed at di­vert­ing the work and at­ten­tion of the UWP Gov­ern­ment. Most Western democ­ra­cies al­low 100 days be­fore its best jour­nal­ists and re­porters make an ob­jec­tive in­tel­lec­tual as­sess­ment of the di­rec­tion of a new Gov­ern­ment. It is hardly 60 days since the last elec­tions. There are hyp­ocrites among us who spent a year and more be­fore ut­ter­ing a neg­a­tive com­ment on the last failed SLP regime. I feel con­fi­dent that these hyp­ocrites have been found out and they must not be al­lowed to raise their voice with­out a ro­bust chal­lenge. What is your view on this?

The Voice ed­i­to­rial last week pointed out that the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter did not say specif­i­cally that the UWP paid named per­sons for votes. But then he does need to be spe­cific when speak­ing to his ‘labar tribes­men’. Ac­cus­ing church lead­ers of in­flu­enc­ing the last elec­tions was over the top. A pic­ture of the for­mer PM with his head bent in his left hand in a church said it all: ‘Oh Lord, what have I done?’ cried the cap­tion. What the Lord did was to use per­sons like you, Rick, to help save his peo­ple from their pharaoh.

The peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia should be re­minded that evil never rests. Some per­sons would pre­fer that the peo­ple suf­fer un­der pharaoh than give a new Gov­ern­ment an op­por­tu­nity to help them. What a shame!

Rick, I end with this re­quest: Please con­tinue to keep Gryn­berg, He­len­ites, IMPACS, UNESCO and IMO in the pub­lic’s eyes. May your Star news­pa­per con­tinue to shine a light wher­ever dark­ness threat­ens and in­flu­ence oth­ers to do the same, in­clud­ing keep­ing a watch­ful eye on the new Gov­ern­ment. Tough, but I feel con­fi­dent you can do this. Yours sin­cerely, Peter Josie

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