The opposition Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) has pointed out that, under the constitution, neither an acting prime minister nor cabinet has the power or authority to accept the resignation of a minister
The statement comes after Senator Jimmy Henry announced his immediate resignation from the Senate and as minister for agriculture, fisheries, physical planning, natural resources and co-operatives, citing personal reasons.
Therefore the announced acceptance by acting prime minister, Ezekiel Joseph, is null and void, say the SLP.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is currently on vacation leave and will not return to office until 31 July.
The SLP said in a statement on Thursday that the people of St Lucia require a full and unambiguous explanation on what transpired with the former minister.
They have noted that there has been neither a proper response to nor denial of the report that Henry was briefly detained and questioned at the George FL Charles Airport whilst en route to a neighbouring Caribbean island.
The opposition said it considers it highly unusual and unprecedented that the prime minister, already armed with the requisite information, chose not to address the nation on this serious matter before he proceeded on vacation leave.
“Just as curious and unprecedented was the casual manner in which the government dismissed the story as fake news with the acting commissioner of police seemingly suggesting that there was no issue or cause for concern with the activities of the minister. Yet, barely a day later, the minister resigns,” the SLP said.
The SLP adde that it believes that the conduct of a minister and the use of privileges afforded to a minister must always be above board and held to the highest standards.
“Accordingly, the prime minister must address the allegations made against the then minister and his subsequent ‘resignation with immediate effect’. This is not a personal matter but instead one which impacts on the country’s national security,” the statement concluded.