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Tuesday, November 24, 2015


After David Blair’s “treatise” in the Daily Telegraph about Dr Juffali’s private matter with his wife, a UWP-leaning section of the St. Lucian Press picked up from where he left. Incidentally, Mr. Blair is a highly educated Malawian-born English Journalist who holds a First Class degree in PPE and an MPhil in International Relations. He was President of the Oxford University Conservative Association in 1993.

Unfortunately, Mr. Blair’s admirable qualifications did not prevent him from landing the Daily Telegraph into hot waters by way of being part of a libel suit which resulted in the award of damages of £150,000 plus additional legal costs of about £2 million to George Galloway, then a member of the British parliament.

Whether Mr Blair has moved on with the Juffali issue or not, it has generated a tidal wave of public opinion in the St. Lucia resulting in the reckless "implication" and demonization of the former St. Lucian UK High Commissioner by the UWP-leaning section of the St. Lucian press. The Leader of Opposition has also had his big bite of the cake by making reckless,m irresponsible and inflammable statements which insinuated potential kick back and corruption in the appointment of Mr Juffali. The whole saga is at a point where it's anybody's guess where the matter is headed. Like the George Galloway matter, will the ongoing controversy end up in a court of law with damages of the magnitude awarded to him also being awarded to the victims?

Permit me, amidst the crescendo of sheer noise surrounding St. Lucia’s “Citizenship by Investment Programme" (CIP), to offer an unrefined and rather disorganised perspective.

Firstly, I’m not surprised by the demonstration of "barbaric territoriality" which surrounds the issue. Dr Juffali’s proposal for the establishment a medical research industry in St. Lucia is perhaps a scientific blessing in disguise to this island which has been long overdue.  It promises to open up new vistas in science and technology in St. Lucia which has the potential to put us on the world map for scientific research into a highly problematic area for us; yet, we have unconscionably embarked on a dirty political campaign to demonise him by unfairly imputing all sorts of improper motives, ranging from women’s issues to race/ethnicity to terrorism, partly because he is an Arab representing St. Lucia as its ambassador to the International Maritime Organization.

In the Leader of Opposition's shortsightedness and impulsiveness, he may not have given sufficiently deep thought to the impact of Dr Juffali research project for St. Lucia. Apart from demonstrably not being an academic himself, Allen may be not surrounded with the requisite protective belt of quality academia to advise him on the relevance and significance of Dr Juffali project to St. Lucia and mankind generally. If that were the case, and if he were genuinely concerned about the country he wanted to PM, then he might have grabbed it with both eyes closed! Dr Gail Rigobert - perhaps the Lone Ranger in camp equipped to offer Allen qualitatively sound advice on matters related to scientific research - has not delivered. Dr Preville, another brilliant academic, has been neutralized and marginalized by Team Chastanet.

It is noteworthy that the attitude to Dr Juffali's Research project proposal has a striking parallelism to our attitude to the banana industry. Who knows  . . . that the latter might have collapsed partly because of a general lack of the proper scientific research that may have been necessary to pre-empt and control the infestation of the Black Sigatoga which has destroyed the mainstay of our economy St Lucia on the whole has found herself in a self-perpetuating "vicious circle of underdevelopment" partly because of the dearth of scientific research into the issues and problems that matter

At the risk of repetition, it may not be unfair to conclude that the lack of scientific research may have virtually killed our banana industry; and my fear is, if Dr Juffali project is sabotaged, then one hypothesis a similar result may follow for the thousands of St. Lucians who suffer from diabetes.

It is quite clear that, Dr Juffali is being blissfully being drawn into this largely manufactured pseudo-controversy because of politics. It is however noteworthy that the very Daily Telegraph who broke the unfortunate story about Dr Juffali also wrote about him and I quote:

"Mr Juffali, 60, is one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent businessmen and philanthropists. He possesses three knighthoods - one from the Vatican, where he is a member of the Papal Order of St Sylvester, another from Denmark and a third from Lebanon"

The opposition party has accused the government of failing to do due diligence on Dr Jaffuli. If this is the case, then the opposition may be even guiltier. They are so submerged in internal division and fragmentation that they may have lost their faculty for demarcation which renders them helpless in terms of their awareness of when/where to start or when/where to stop. The section of the Team Chastanet-leaning press seemed equally mixed-up. The end result: they both may have made a major “boo-boo” in their treatment of a prominent gentleman of international repute appointed to serve our interest.

If the school of thought that those actions are largely fueled by the UWP’s propensity for division and fragmentation, then why should any right-thinking press also jump on that bandwagon and contribute to the potentially untold collateral damage to our international image that may result? Why don’t that press instead help the party to regain its lost focus and equilibrium? Why should a talk-show host who plays excerpts of President Kennedy’s greatest speech at the beginning and end of his talk show, an then only to make a mockery of the great speech during the show by stooping to the lowest levels of journalistic practice? Equally, why should the publisher of the Star Newspaper who was also an editor for the famous Joe Weider Magazine and who himself has held on to the title of Mr World and Mr Universe be so childishly territorial even when his wife is of similar racial and ethnic extract?

Those are some of the puzzles in the paradigm that we need to solve.

To comprehend the dynamics of the Team Chastanet empire (which has demonstrated a natural propensity for "division") may call for an understanding of differential and integral calculus. Under Chastanet’s leadership, the UWP in pursuit of political power has irreversibly degenerated into fragments; yet the empire behaves as if it were a united front

Perhaps, the MP for Soufriere puts it well when he said "The UWP is divided and they are divided as to whether they are divided". The Team Chastanet empire has been given three chances in as many years to prove itself; but with each passing year, the division and fragmentation of the UWP grows worse.

The foremost puzzle is: why an expatriate leader who was born in Martinique of an Irish mother and wishes to hold the top job in the land wouldn't reflect on his reckless pronouncements and seek to behave better. To compound the puzzle, he has a huge albatross of unresolved issues around his neck including questions about his integrity, his academic and professional credentials plus a civil suit for malfeasance.

The challenge is how does he move forward towards a rational reconciliation and ultimately satisfactory resolution of those complex issues without hurting himself further. It may require a measure of politically genetic re-engineering along political calculus.

What is the impact of the forgoing on the electorate and the general populace? If the division, fragmentation and degeneration persist, then the ripple effect is bound to spill from the UWP to the larger society and that can have catastrophic consequences in a country already facing high levels of vulnerability. We can only pray in anticipation of what is going to happen in the next few months as we roll into elections.

But I have confidence in St. Lucians. If we minus the politics from the St. Lucian person, he is quintessentially a good person. He is loving, hospitable etc.

Now, let us put the Juffali matter in context.

Both Mr Wayne and Mr Chastanet have excoriated Mr Juffali because he is a foreigner holding a diplomatic position. They both have gone to the point of subtly linking him to terrorism based on his race and ethnicity. But here’s the reality: Rick’s wife (like Dr Juffali) is of Arab extract. Does that make her a terrorist living in St. Lucia? Absolutely not! Mr Chastanet’s mother is from Ireland, the homeland of the IRA which is considered to be the motherland of terrorism, does this make him a terrorist? Absolutely No!

Hence, what is their point in pushing a terrorism agenda based the race and ethnicity of Mr Jaffuli? But because the agenda is a flip-flop with no substance, it is not self-sustaining and like the Lambird Scandal, it will die a natural death unless some form of litigation arises for defamation.

It troubles me when we claim that we live in a global village and yet we display those unparalleled levels of aggressive parochialism, especially of the magnitude directed at the CIP. If this is not a double standard, then what is it?

The argument that we are selling our sacrosanct passport is an absurdity that is untenable. Paradoxically, it is an argument put forward even by those who seemingly do not display any sense of love for country. But it is a convenient political argument on an island perceived by economically elite to be inhabited by mostly illiterate Kweyol-speaking natives.  It may be an argument adduced even by those living abroad and who may have even renounced their St. Lucian citizenship in exchange for a US, British/EU or Canadian passport. It may be even an argument adduced by fraudsters at large who may have benefited from acts of fraud against the public purse.

But here’s the reality: About a quarter of Singapore’s population are economic citizens and they are inextricably part of the islands unbelievable success story.

 Both USA and Canada are nations of immigrants which have used variants of citizenship by investment.  St. Lucians in the diaspora are indisputably major beneficiaries of CIP.

To the best of my knowledge, the CIP Bill was passed unanimously (or at least without objection from the opposition) in the lower house which included 6 opposition members. The question therefore is: why is the Party Leader (who incidentally is not a member of the Houses of Parliament) going contrary to a decision of the House of Assembly which the members of his party supported? Is this "split personality" plague the modus operandi of Team Chastanet?  

Further, why should the UWP (1) want to emulate the Singapore model, (2) why would Chastanet choose to speak pre-emptively on behalf of the US on sundry matters of national interest (including the appointment of Mr Juffali as IMO ambassador), (3) Why would he promise St. Lucians free entry into Canada . . . and yet condemn the implementation of the CIP in St. Lucia? Why should a "government-in-waiting" consider CIP good for all and sundry except the country it seeks to govern? If those indications represent the extent of a UWP government's commitment of territoriality, then is it ready to be trusted with the reigns of government? Even more importantly, why is its leader traveling the world so frequently? Why do they hold non-St. Lucian Passports? Why do they buy properties outside St. Lucia, in Canada, for example?

The politicians and a "triumvirate" of UWP-leaning journalists obviously believe they are geniuses and we are downright fools. In the circumstances, "Ambush in the Night" by Bob Marley is so instructive.

In closing, Chastanet - who was born in Martinique -  of an immigrant Irish mother - is undeniably an immigrant himself.  Yet he has become highly xenophobic, territorial and anti-foreigner. Rick's wife is an Arab, yet his rhetoric is so territorial that he like Chastanet exudes frightening xenophobia? With their continental exposure and resultant emulation, the question remains: are they just playing games with our little brains? Is the game hypocrisy? Do they just wish to use us as pawns in their planned ambush of Dr Juffali?

Let us hope in their quest to embarrass the government of St. Lucia using the planned ambush of ambassador Juffali, that they do not harbour any hidden "terrorist" motives designed to make the world perceive us as sympathetic to terrorists.