Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2018


Hilbert HaarBy Hilbert Haar

Vromi-Minister Christophe Emmanuel has made a curious turn in his battle with his fellow-Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor Emil Lee.

In December there was an interesting publication in the Daily Herald about a statement Emmanuel made during the radio broadcast Online With Fernando Clark. The long and short of that statement was that Emmanuel had filed a complaint against Minister Lee with the office of the public prosecutor.

When the Herald rehashed that story on Tuesday, the minister suddenly sprang into action. In an elaborate press statement he denied that he had ever filed a complaint.

That this is a true statement appears from a declaration the spokesman for the Prosecutor’s Office, Norman Serphos, issued on Tuesday as well. Serphos stated that there is no investigation underway against Minister Lee and that the Prosecutor’s Office never received a complaint either.

That seems to close the case, were it not that Minister Emmanuel included with his press statement a copy of a letter he addressed on December 8 of last year to the Council of Ministers, the Governor, the Members of Parliament and – last but not least – the Prosecutor’s Office.

The last line of that letter tells a different story, because in it, Emmanuel request that an official investigation be launched by the Prosecutor’s Office.”

So it is therefore a fact that Emmanuel asked for an investigation against Minister Lee, but he did this in a rather ambiguous manner by writing a letter to the Council of Ministers with copies for the Governor, the Parliament and the Prosecutor’s Office.

He also suggested that he actually had filed a complaint in the Fernando Clark radio broadcast.

But for some reason on Tuesday everything changed. Apparently irritated by a new report about this trivial matter in the Daily Herald, Emmanuel must have contacted the Prosecutor’s Office with a request to refute the report. We cannot imagine that the Prosecutor’s Office would send out a press statement about this matter of its own initiative.

In December, it looked like Emmanuel intended to press charges to damage and possibly eliminate a political opponent. After all, Lee is a member of the Democratic Party and that party had just brought down the National Alliance government. Had he filed a complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office, it could have been enough to disqualify Lee for a seat in the new government. If the Prosecutor’s Office had acknowledged the complaint and promised to look into it, it would have been game over for Minister Lee. Not because he did anything wrong, but because this is how these things work.

Minister Emmanuel did not explain in his statement why it is suddenly important for him to make clear that he never filed a complaint against Lee.

But yeah, we could think of one reason: filing a false complaint with the Prosecutor’s Office could have gotten in the way of Emmanuel’s own political future.

Maybe the caretaker minister will now think twice before he opens his mouth again during a radio broadcast. It would save a lot of people – himself included – a lot of  embarrassment.