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Posted: Thursday 29 March, 2012 at 11:12 AM

PM chides caller on Alex Woodley’s Dubai appointment

Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas & Ms. Alex Woodley
By: Stanford Conway,

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – PRIME MINISTER the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas chided a caller to his radio programme ‘Ask the PM’ on Tuesday (Mar. 27) after she claimed that the suggested appointment as Consul General-designate to Dubai by his children’s mother smacks of nepotism.


    “It has been suggested that the appointment of Ms. Woodley or the designated Consul to Dubai smacks of nepotism because of your close family relationship to her. So, I don’t know how you want to deal with that because, to me personally, it is questionable given the amount of rumour about the Lex Consulting that she controls the movement of money through that consulting to the Labour Party, as you indicated. And she is now in a position that she is going to handle government money, while at the same time doing business for the Labour Party,” the caller said.


    In response, Dr. Douglas told the caller that she could ask questions but he would not allow her to besmirch people’s character on his programme.


    “Let me tell you something. Once you are getting into those areas where you are making insinuations about people’s character, you cannot do it on this programme. You will not be allowed to do it on this programme, because you cannot do it on this programme. You can say, you can ask questions, but once you begin to insinuate, that is not going to be tolerated on this programme.


    “I think you were going very well before. You had some questions that you put before me. You asked about nepotism, fine, but do not proceed to besmirch people’s character on this programme.”


    The PM however answered the caller’s question but was adamant that the appointment of Woodley as the Consul General-designate to Dubai is not nepotism.


    “Ms. Woodley is a fully-qualified government officer to hold any job within the Foreign Service. At the moment, Ms. Woodley has been a Counsellor in the New York Mission for maybe 15 years…very, very long time if not more. Also, maybe as many as seven, eight years ago, Ms. Woodley has been carrying out specific functions as the Deputy Consul General in New York.


    “So, if that is what you call nepotism that is absolute nonsense…I want to say to the caller before. Absolute nonsense! What is nepotism about that? Ms. Woodley is a fully-qualified person academically and experienced to carry out the task that she would have been appointed to carry out.


    “You don’t like it…fine. There is a lot of appointments that this government has made you don’t like. So because it is Ms. Woodley who has two children for me, she can’t get an appointment? The whole thing do not even originate with me, and so I will defend it anytime. I have no fear in defending that. That is not nepotism. When, for example, Mr. Harris was appointed to be the Manager of the Development Bank and his brother is in the government…that is nepotism? Is that nepotism? If you want to speak about nepotism, you can take your eyes back to the Simmonds Administration. That’s where you need to take your mind back.


    “And Ms. Woodley can defend herself. I don’t have to defend her here. But I defend any accusation that is being made with regard to the practice of nepotism in the appointment as the Consul General-designate to the UAE, specifically in Dubai. I want to make that absolutely clear, and if you don’t like it…so?”


    Two weeks ago, a three-member delegation, which comprised Elvis Newton, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Astona Browne, PS in the Office of the Prime Minister; and Alex Woodley, Consul General designate; had travelled to Dubai to finalise administrative arrangements in the establishing of a consulate in that country.


    Controversy erupted over the delegation’s departure and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon. Sam Condor said he had limited knowledge about the delegation’s trip and knew nothing about Woodley’s appointment as the Consul General-designate to Dubai.


    He however explained that the appointment of ambassadors or diplomats is under the purview of the Prime Minister, and “it is done in collaboration and discussion with the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But in this case nothing was discussed with me…”


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