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Govt Launches Inquiry Into “Helenites Building”

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Tuesday, August 10, 2004 – Government has announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an attempted transfer of title and facilitation of a mortgage relating to the Helenites Centre in New York. This was announced by Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony at Tuesday’s sitting of the House of Assembly.

Delivering a statement to Parliament at the beginning of Tuesday’s session of the House of Assembly, the Prime Minister recalled the historical use of the building located at 438 East 49th Street in Brooklyn, New York, as a traditional meeting place for St. Lucians resident in the tri-state area.

Dr. Anthony recalled that when the future of the building became uncertain in 1998, “Government stepped in with the sole purpose of saving this important facility” and paid the outstanding taxes of US$59,000. After paying that amount, the Prime Minister said, “the Government held the building in trust for St. Lucians resident in the tri-state area.”

The Prime Minister told parliament he had been informed by the current Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations that “certain arrangements may have been entered into a little over a year ago that caused a loan of US$150,000 to be taken on the property.” This, he added, has since been confirmed by the then St. Lucia Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Earl Huntley, who served from 2001 to 2003.

The Prime Minister told the House that “Government is concerned with ensuring that these arrangements were undertaken in an appropriate manner and that neither the Government nor the people of St. Lucia would have been compromised as a result.”
To this end, the Prime Minister indicated that the Cabinet of Ministers, “at its meeting of August 3, 2004, agreed to initiate an investigation into the circumstances relating to the Helenites Building.”

According to the Terms of Reference articulated by the Prime Minister, the investigation will specifically focus on “the attempted transfer of title to the property and the facilitation of the US$150,000 mortgage on the said property.”

The investigation will also seek “to determine whether the behaviour of the parties involved in these matters constituted criminal misconduct, acts of corruption, or other acts of impropriety, misfeasance or illegality.”

Mr. Eldon Mathurin, a retired local and regional public servant, has agreed to conduct the investigation and he is mandated by the Cabinet of Ministers to make recommendations as may be deemed appropriate.

The Prime Minister said Cabinet has mandated that “the report should be written within the shortest possible time, but in any event, no later than 30 days.”



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