As the general elections campaign in Saint Lucia continues in the most heated, divisive and carnival-like atmosphere, with food, rum, the distribution of gifts, cash and apostates, daily revelations are as frequent as bible verses.
Minister for economic development Guy Joseph, has double-down on issues related to Taiwanese funded projects in Saint Lucia, in a perceived ‘denial of misleading any embassy’ however, he professed to have ‘corrected the stupidity of the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP)’.
Minister Joseph made the declaration speaking in the comfort of the government of Saint Lucia favourite programme on Real FM, Monday, amid a heavily contested general election campaign, schedule for July 26, 2021.
According to minister Joseph, between 2015 and 2016 the established formula for Taiwanese funded projects was to write the list of projects and forward the list to the embassy; once approved, the projects would be executed and the Taiwanese would release the funds for payment.
In Joseph’s best memory and county speaking ability, he professed: “We came into government, inherited a situation where some people had been paid by Saint Lucia Development Bank (SLDB) some had been paid by Axel Financing and a whole set of other persons had not received their payment because their projects were not complete. I came out publicly. I spoke to the Taiwanese ambassador myself explaining to him what had transpired.”
Most revealing by the elder in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and economic minister, acknowledged:
“I came out publicly and I said that we had to pretend or treat the projects as if they had not been done in order to qualify to get the funding, because: how else would you pay for the projects that were implemented under the Taiwanese funded projects?” Joseph said.
Life and history have interesting ways of revealing themselves. During the 2019/20 budget debate in parliament, minister Joseph gave an insight into his honest thought process.
“Specifically, he portrayed a culture, antithetical to the rule of law and receptive to corrupt governance.” Joseph said, in a display of hubris in the parliament of Saint Lucia: “It is a challenge to be honest in this country. I can tell you. I suffer it every day.”
What is more, in the dual capacity of the minister for economics and a Church elder, Joseph who is allegedly connected with many matters under investigation, may have forgotten his comments in 2017, saying: ‘I’m not worried. If there’s an investigation, I welcome the investigation,’ referring to his reported involvement with alleged corruption associated with the Hewanorra International Airport (HIA) Redevelopment Project in 2008/9.
In 2017, Joseph, who knowingly made false representations to Taiwan in the matter of Constituency Development Programme (CDP) contracts, said: “I had to compile a list based on the contracts that were in the ministry, pretend as if the projects had not been done and submit it to the Taiwanese for approval.”
History is our guide and the records speak for themselves. “It’s hard to be honest in Saint Lucia, says government minister.”
History matters, and so is minister Joseph many utterances that “calls into question integrity and gives rise to questions surrounding a pattern of creating a false record(s).”
There are interest days ahead … July 26, election day is near.