As we move forward as a country, it has become increasingly evident that we cannot continue to operate using traditional models and systems. The rate of technological advancement and the easy access to these tools have rapidly changed the demands of the population when conducting business with any entity, including government. Technology has been injected into every aspect of our lives, causing a significant shift in the way we do business, socialize and interact with one another.”
Evidently the last thing on the mind of Ubaldus Raymond, while on a fact-finding mission to Trinidad at the end of March this year, was the technology that had caused a sea change in the way we “socialize and interact with one another.” The opening paragraph is taken from the minister’s report to Cabinet following his visit to the twin Republic, which goes on to say: “It is increasingly critical at this juncture that the government takes the necessary steps to modernize its critical operations to not only adapt to these demands by its constituents (citizens, business, international and regional communities), but also to ensure it implements the right technological solutions that provide confidentiality, integrity and availability (CIA) in its processes while reducing overall operational expenditure.”
In Trinidad, Mr. Raymond was accompanied by technocrats of the Saint Lucia government, among them the minister’s permanent secretary, his chief ICT officer, his records and information management specialist, and other personnel from the Justice Department. They visited government agencies such as the ministry of the attorney general and legal affairs; immigration department; ministry of works department; also the judiciary department where they met WiPay CEO Aldwyn Wayne, a reputed IT whiz kid. The minister and Wayne were hardly strangers. They had last met at the launching of a WiPay branch in Saint Lucia a month or so earlier.
Also present at the launching were top honchos of WiPay headquarters, as well as the directors of the Saint Lucia branch: Dunstan DuBoulay, his son Richard, and businessman Pinkley Francis. Yesterday, I sat down with them perchance to clear some of the exhaust generated by the recently reported resignation of Ubaldus Raymond from the government—a move conceivably related to the dissemination of surreptitious recordings that referenced WiPay and Ubaldus Raymond, made while the minister was on tax-funded government business with his entourage in Trinidad.
Himself a former government minister and father-in-law of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Dunstan DuBoulay explained how he came to be involved in the suddenly controversial subject of the local branch of WiPay. He said a Trinidadian named Richard Lewis, the director of Label House and chairman of WiPay, had recommended him to a man named Gerald Hadeed, owner of Beacon Insurance, also a major WiPay shareholder.
DuBoulay and Richard Lewis have known each other for over 35 years. His company had supplied all labels for DuBoulay’s Bottling Company. When Hadeed asked Lewis to suggest who might make respected representatives of WiPay in Saint Lucia, he readily named Dunstan DuBoulay. As for Pinkley Francis, he was invited on board because of his IT expertise. The DuBoulays hardly knew Aldwyn Wayne. They first met when the Trinidadian visited Saint Lucia with his family about a year ago. Their second and only meeting was at the aforementioned launching. The DuBoulays say they were as shocked as anyone else to hear the broadcasts of recorded conversations involving Ubaldus Raymond and an unnamed female, the mother of a child fathered by Aldwyn Wayne. He acknowledged the newly formed Saint Lucia branch had engaged the government in discussions related to the company’s services. But they were not alone; three other similar companies at home and in Trinidad also had proposals before the government.
As for the surreptitious recordings, from all the local directors of WiPay had learned, while in Trinidad Raymond and his entourage were invited by Aldwyn Wayne to a carnival party for the band Tribe. As far as they know the minister met the earlier mentioned unidentified woman at the party and were later photographed gyrating carnival style. The DuBoulays knew no more about the recordings than most Saint Lucians. In all events, they were sufficiently disgusted by what they heard that they decided yesterday morning to sever all connections with WiPay. Pinkley Francis has also pulled out.
Meanwhile the attorney general’s office has announced an investigation into the mystery of why the recordings were made in the first place and how they found their way into the hands of individuals notoriously unfriendly to the Allen Chastanet government, to the prime minister in particular. It is worth noting that while the recordings reveal Aldwyn Wayne had directed his baby mama to hit on Ubaldus Raymond, he never once suggested she should make recordings. That the woman had recorded not only herself talking with Raymond but also with Aldwyn Wayne is a mystery waiting to be explained by the AG’s investigators!