Opposition leader demands details!

On Tuesday the media was invited to what was referred to as a press conference at police headquarters in Castries. Upon arrival media personnel were taken aback by acting police commissioner Vernon Francois’ contrary declaration that there would be no press conference on the day in question and the reporters had all been misinformed.
What was scheduled, according to Mr Francois, was a routine meeting with high-ranking police officers, the Minister for National Security Phillip LaCorbiniere, and Public Service Minister Dr James Fletcher. Despite that he was informed the police communications officer Trevor Constantine had issued the press invitation, Francois insisted that there had been some kind of misunderstanding on the part of media personnel.
When the National Security Minister arrived he was immediately bombarded with press questions regarding the recent appointment of Ausbert Regis as Special Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office, the immediate future of the acting police commissioner and the so-called US visa controversy involving a senior police officer.
LaCorbiniere had little enthusiasm for the questions. He promised instead to issue a related statement at the end of the day, then agreed to give the reporters a few minutes.
“We are having a routine meeting with the police,” he said. “I’m sure before the end of the day you will have all the information you need.  There is nothing special going on here, I’m simply having a routine meeting with my senior officers, which I have done before.”
Referring to his fellow senator and his presence at a police meeting, he said: “Clearly if I feel the matter warrants the presence of another minister for one reason or another, he will be invited. Dr Fletcher has been invited to this meeting.”
In response to a barrage of questions that touched on several matters, LaCorbiniere said: “There are a whole range of issues. For example,   the Ausbert Regis matter—which has been dealt with, by the way. He is now Special Advisor on Security in the office of the prime minister. Now that we have dealt with this issue, we obviously have to deal with who is going to be the commissioner of police.”
This reporter asked the following:  “You said Mr Regis has been appointed, yet Dr Fletcher has said the appointment has not yet happened, that there was not yet notification from the Public Service
Commission . . .”
“My impression is that that has been cleared with Public Service Commission,” said LaCorbiniere.
“When, was it today?” asked another reporter.
“You are asking me of things that are not seriously important . . . I have given you a statement and the statement is: he has been appointed.”
“Has he showed up for work?” a reporter asked.
“That’s not so important to me,” said LaCorbiniere. “Things have to happen in sequence. He’s appointed, he’s informed, he shows up for work.”
The reporter persisted: “Didn’t the court order that Mr Regis  immediately return to work as Police Commissioner?”
“His reinstatement was automatic,” said LaCorbiniere. “The point is, once the Public Service Commission approves a transfer to a particular position it is valid. Of course, Mr Regis has himself indicated through his lawyers that he is quite happy with the arrangements now in place.”
LaCorbiniere was not prepared to give further particulars about the arrangements or the negotiation process.                 Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Stephenson King has issued a press statement centered on the former COP’s new circumstances, which includes the following questions: “Why has the government not announced the details of that so-called package to Mr Regis, and the cost to taxpayers in these particularly trying economic times? What exactly are Mr Regis’ duties as National Security Advisor to the prime minister?”
Speaking with the STAR on Tuesday, Mr King said the government had offered Mr Regis the same position with a reworked title and that the government has deviated from the court ruling which called for his immediate return to his post as commissioner of police.
Meanwhile, Acting Police Commissioner Vernon Francois says he is not perturbed by the government’s extensions of what was initially supposed to be a six-month stint as acting commissioner of police.
“I have a job to do,” he said, “and I will do it until the time comes when there is a confirmed commissioner of police. If I am asked to continue acting in the absence of a commissioner, I have no problems with that.”
On RCI NewsSpin on Friday host Timothy Poleon read out information which he said was also furnished to the Leader of the Opposition from Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. Poleon said that according to the Prime Minister’s Office the Ausbert Regis matter will cost taxpayers $220,000.
Revealed Poleon: “He [Regis] has been paid $40,000 in unconstitutional damages. $80,000 paid to his attorneys and also to the government’s attorney, $100,000. The transfer of Regis to the Office of the Prime Minister as an advisor
will cost the taxpayers of St Lucia some $12,000 a month.”

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