St. Lucia PM considering civil action against former government

CASTRIES, St. Lucia: Prime Minister Stephenson King has announced that members of the former St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration could face civil action as a result of the findings of a recent Commission of Inquiry.

The final report of the Commission, headed by Guyanese jurist Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, is being reviewed by the government and cabinet ministers have been receiving briefings from their legal counsel on the document.

Although the Commission, set up to investigate questionable activities of the SLP administration under the watch of former prime minister Kenny Anthony cited no instances of criminal liability, King said it did establish a strong case for mismanagement that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“The outcome of the Commission of Inquiry may very well result in amendments to certain bits and pieces of legislation that will bring even more stringent measures in as far as the conduct of ministers of finance and ministers of government generally.

“The thing about this is governments are accountable to the people and if the people are suspicious of the behaviour of government and what has transpired…it is left to the people to sound the alarm bell,” King said.

The Prime Minister said it is the responsibility of government to investigate and determine whether the people’s concerns are justified. King said if those concerns are justified, measures must be put in place to prevent corruption in government.

King served notice last week that he planned to table the report of the Commission of Inquiry in Parliament as soon as the next sitting.

He confirmed that the report was currently being studied by the Cabinet of Ministers with “a view to determining an appropriate course of action to address any incidents of wrongdoing identified by the Commission”.

The Prime Minister said it was government’s intention to make the report available to the people of St. Lucia for scrutiny “in order that all will obtain a full appreciation of the matters under investigation and the Commissions findings and its magnitude”.

“What we must do as a people is to examine the report when it is presented formally to Parliament and to see the behaviour and irresponsibility of politicians, the manner in which they went about spending government resources without any concern about the repercussions.

“I think that is going to be the fundamental issue in the outcome of the report, not necessarily the jailing of or the conviction of people but the practice, behaviour, the custom and culture of politicians when in office,” King said.

The opposition has accused the government of wasting taxpayers’ money on a probe which did not come up with the indictable information that the ruling party was hoping for.

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