By Melanius Alphonse
Caribbean News Now associate editor
CASTRIES, St Lucia — After telling local media last month that he had no idea where they got the notion from that a proposed new border control agency in Saint Lucia was to be set up as a statutory corporation, in a testy exchange with reporters Prime Minister Allen Chastanet now claims he “misspoke”.
Responding again to questions from local media, Chastanet said, “Of course I would say I misspoke.”
Earlier this month, in an abrupt about-face to previous denials of the existence of a Cabinet conclusion, which authorised the “establishment of the Saint Lucia Border Management Authority as a Statutory Corporation”, the prime minister’s office announced that the Cabinet had “taken the decision with immediate effect, to revoke Cabinet Conclusion 247 of 16th April 2018, which previously addressed the establishment of the entity”, and which the prime minister and two other government ministers had stated did not exist in the first place.
Chastanet now asserts that the Cabinet conclusion in question had been four months previously – apparently too long ago for him to remember.
“This was a Cabinet conclusion that was in April. You asked me a question out of the blue in what, August or early September?” he said.
An equally forgetful minister for the public service in the Office of the Prime Minister, Dr Ubaldus Raymond, in admitting that the consultation process regarding the border control unit was flawed, also attempted to deny the expressed intention recorded in the relevant Cabinet conclusion that it would in fact be created as a statutory corporation.
“So, that clearly, cannot be and will not be the policy of government to put the border control as a statutory organization,” he said, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Cabinet conclusion itself had already been leaked to the media and was widely publicised online.
“The real question is whether he deliberately misspoke. Given the history of the prime minister, deliberately misspeaking must be seen a pattern of behaviour,” said opposition member of parliament, Dr Ernest Hilaire.