You can take the man out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the man. So goes a local truism that may or may not be related to the manger cochon that passed for the Annual General Meeting of the Saint Lucia House Foundation (formerly Helenites Center!) convened on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 438 E49 Street, Brooklyn, New York.
The meeting spun right out of control when the sitting executive attempted to register eight groups—which some considered a deliberate attempt to rig the elections.
Traditionally, groups present their applications to the executive and general body at a monthly meeting where they are afforded the opportunity to say why they would like to become members. However, in the case of the alleged illegal eight, this was not done. Subsequently, each registered group was allowed to have two members participating in the voting process.
It can be concluded that the executive registered eight non-existent groups in an effort to retain office. One individual who has been accused multiple times of mishandling the association’s funds, persuaded her friends and family to register three groups not previously approved by the executive.
Consul-General, Julian Du Bois, sought clarification on the allegations of fake groups from financial advisor Cecil St. Jules, husband of Lorine Charles St. Jules, U.S Midwestern Region, Regional Marketing Manager. St. Jules confirmed the groups were indeed registered. When asked about the eight registered by Curtis Browne, the foundation’s PRO and an executive member, Mr. St. Jules was unable to shed new light on the issue.
Two weeks prior to the AGM, the Consul-General sent out an email to the executive body, and copied it to Ambassador Menissa Rambally, wherein he observed that a nominating committee had not yet been appointed as required by Article vii, Section 10 of the foundation’s Constitution. Du Bois further suggested the elections should be postponed in order to facilitate his recommendation. On review of the constitution Browne informed the Consul-General that he had misread the constitution; that it contained no such recommendation.
Consequently, Mr. Du Bois withdrew his statement and the elections were allowed to proceed. At the scheduled AGM, due to member organizations speaking up against the corruption and blatant attempts to sell the election, the Consul-General postponed the election. Alas, his chairmanship was revoked on the basis that the constitution provided for the taking over by the board of directors when a meeting has become unruly—a proposition that could not be substantiated. Meanwhile, in an effort to settle the corruption allegations, members asked to be furnished with the minutes of the previous meeting.
Mr. Du Bois promised to address the situation and reschedule the election for Monday, April 20, 2015. He added, however, that the problematic eight groups will be allowed to vote on this new date. It is anticipated the new meeting will end in uproar, as did the last.
The community is asking for meaningful change and resolutions that would erase traces of alienation. They want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. They are asking for constitutional reform and a change in the current regime. One member said: “The actions of the executive have created mistrust and division, not to say total polarization.”
They are asking for a fair election, with only legally registered groups participating. Most importantly, they are asking for a neutral party to oversee the upcoming election process.
The Saint Lucia House foundation was established in 2010 with the mandate to serve as the umbrella organization for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, working in conjunction with the Saint Lucia consulate in New York. Elections are held every two years. The current President and most of the executive members have been on the board from the foundation’s inception.
At this last meeting on Monday, the minutes of the last meeting, that were inaccessible, would have proved whether there had been vetting or mention of the eight new groups.
We will continue to disrupt every meeting until this is sorted out. An injunction to stop the elections on April 20 is being sought.