Yes, indeed, how time flies and how quickly we forget. The gentlemen pictured in our last Flashback scene are Voice editor Victor Marquis (right) and Paul Thompson, then legal advisor for the Ministry of Planning. The picture was taken in the House of Parliament in 1995, shortly before Marquis—a former secretary of the United Workers Party—placed his right hand on a bible presented him by Thompson and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about what would later become known as the U.N. Scandal, starring the singular Charles Flemming.
Until a few months before the governor general Pearlette Louisy appointed a related Commission of Inquiry headed by Sir Fred Phillips, Flemming had been Saint Lucia’s ambassador to the U.N. He landed in hot water following an official demand that the John Compton government account for monetary assistance by the operators of the UNDP’s Perez-Guerrero Trust Fund—assistance allegedly solicited by Flemming at the behest of UWP chairman Henry Giraudy.
The prime minister swore before the commission neither he nor his by then deceased party chairman had any knowledge of Flemming’s dealings with the UNDP.
In Flemming’s official telling, however: “In 1989, during one of my frequent visits to Saint Lucia, I was approached by Mr Henry Giraudy. He asked me to arrange a salary for Mr Bousquet. I apprised him of the difficulty involved and indicated that some mechanism would have to be arranged. I made suggestions to which he agreed. I also told him I would need clearance from the prime minister. He said I would get it. Some time later I took a telephone call from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Neville Cenac. He informed me that the prime minister said I should, and I quote, ‘do the thing for
Flemming eventually sought and was given permission by the Commission to fly to New York, where he said he had several important documents related to the matter under inquiry. It was the last time Sir Fred Phillips (now deceased) set eyes on the former ambassador!
Full details of the unforgettable inquiry, including related secret decisions, are to be found in my book Lapses & Infelicities, available at local bookstores or from Amazon.com.
And now for this week’s memory jogger. Tell us the names of the featured gentlemen, where you think the picture was taken, the occasion and whatever else you might know about our photograph.