In his very first exclusive interview with the STAR, Lorne Theophilus, the newly appointed Minister for Tourism, Heritage and Creative Industries, broke his silence on the issue that may have caused him the most concern, if only privately, during his pre-election campaign. Lawyers representing Theophilus had even threatened to take legal action against media houses that published references to the court charges brought against their client in 2005 by a female colleague.
Theophilus noted yesterday that he had not commented publicly on the alleged rape case at the time it was filed or during the election campaign and saw no reason to do otherwise now. However, he did say this:
“It is a chapter of my life that I recall quite distinctly, but I’ve moved on from that chapter and I’ve moved on as an attorney. I campaigned on the platform of the United Workers Party for my friend Leonard Montoute in 2006. It was not then an issue. It was raised in the recent general election and clearly the electorate abide by something more deep than that.”
The minister said his mandate now is to provide a service to the country and not allow past issues to interfere with his work. “Well, I am not going to allow myself to be set back or kept back by persons who want to delve into issues they perceive as sensational, issues not relevant to my functioning in an official capacity.”
When asked whether the matter would arise in the future, the minister confidently stated that “the matter cannot arise; it is not possible for any matter to arise in the future.” He paused before adding: “Persons have their own interests and just as I did over the course of my campaign, while various people would have spoken about my opponent in different ways, I chose not to address him. I ignored him. His peculiarities, his social peculiarities, have no interest to the electorate of this country . . . so I chose not to address him at all.”
Theophilus was quite passionate about the need for St Lucians to respect court decisions. “We are now in an era where there is something called the Rule of Law,” he said, “but persons tend not to respect that.”
His full interview will appear in the next issue of the STAR.