Diplomats to query U.S. visa revocation

CASTRIES, St. Lucia: Prime Minister Stephenson King has asked the island’s diplomats in the United States to investigate reports that Washington has revoked the visa of his housing minister, Richard Frederick.

King said he had instructed his diplomatic representatives to submit a report as soon as possible.

There have been no details about the visa’s revocation but King said since Frederick’s entry into local politics, there have been numerous unproven allegations against him.

Former government legislator, Janine Compton-Antoine, first broke the news that Washington had revoked Frederick’s visa.

Compton-Antoine, the daughter of the late prime minister John Compton, told a television audience last weekend that King should clarify the matter since it reflected badly on his administration.

“This raises some serious questions as to how effective this minister (Frederick) can be in a job that often requires him to travel to the USA on the country’s business. This being the case, the Prime Minister ought to have informed the country as to why the minister’s visa was revoked,” said Compton-Antoine, now an independent legislator in the 17-member Parliament.

Foreign Affairs Minister Rufus Bouquet said the position of Washington would not have implications for St. Lucia.

“At the end of the day these things happen all the time, this is the purview of the U.S. government, they have a right to issue or revoke any visa that they issue, so it’s a question of going in there and trying to find out a bit more about what transpired and then say something to nation,” he said, adding that Washington does not normally provide reasons for withdrawing a visa.

Bousquet said there was no doubt that Frederick should be allowed to hold on to his ministerial position.

Meanwhile, supporters of the embattled Central Castries representative blamed the main opposition St. Lucia Labour Party (SLP) and the newly launched National Democratic Movement (NDM) for the latest problem confronting Frederick.

Angel Brouet, the Chairman of Constituency group, said Frederick had been targeted by people whose “toes he had stepped on” since his entry into local politics.

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