CASTRIES, St Lucia, Thursday July 13, 2017 – With a cloud of controversy hanging over his head, St Lucia’s Agriculture Minister Senator Jimmy Henry called it quits yesterday.
The surprise move came 24 hours after the Opposition St Lucia Labour Party (SLP) called on Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to clear the air on allegations that a government minister had been stopped and searched at the George F. L. Charles Airport.
“If there are allegations that a government minister is under surveillance for a very long time [and] the allegations continue that he was actually stopped at an airport and searched, the Prime Minister of this country must come out and say that is not true,” SLP spokesman MP Ernest Hilaire had said.
The SLP’s claim was, however, shot down by National Security Minister Hermanguild Francis, who denied knowledge of any such investigation regarding Henry and suggested that the allegation was political mischief.
Top cop Milton Desir also told reporters that he gave no order to investigate Henry.
In a 96-second video statement, Henry stayed clear of the SLP’s claims as he explained his decision to step down to his constituents and expressed gratitude to his ministerial colleagues.
“For reasons altogether personal, I have decided to tender my resignation with immediate effect from the Senate and as a Minister. Due to these personal matters at this time, I am unable to give the attention necessary to my ministerial duties,” said Henry, who contested the Dennery North seat in the last general election and lost to Shawn Edward of the St Lucia Labour Party.
He thanked his supporters in his east coast village and said he would continue to maintain a keen interest in the community.
“I wish to thank all my dedicated supporters in Dennery North, who have stood by me through thick and thin, and assure all of you of my confidence in the advancement of our community under the current administration.”
Meanwhile, the Chastanet administration has accepted Henry’s resignation, thanking him for his service to the country.
“Mr. Henry’s work in the community of Dennery North must be commended and we wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Acting Prime Minister Ezechiel Joseph said.
Prime Minister Chastanet is currently on vacation.