AG: ‘We may not be able to get out of this!’

Attorney General Lorenzo Francis has some questions about the RSM contract and speaks about the way forward on the Grynberg issue.

Attorney General Lorenzo Francis was present at the Prime Minister’s Thursday press conference, dubbed “historic” by the press secretary.  The AG’s Chambers have not been vocal on the Grynberg Affair  but this time around, Francis took the opportunity to get down to express the government’s concerns with the issue.
Speaking after Prime Minister Stephenson King, Francis began by informing the press that King, along with the Cabinet of Ministers requested that the AG’s Chambers review the Grynberg contract to determine whether there were any procedural improprieties or administrative infractions as a result of the agreement between the Government of St Lucia and RSM Productions.
Said Francis, “The Chambers has spent quite a bit of time on the matter and we’ve also had the assistance of local and external senior counsel on the matter and a number of issues have now arisen of interest to the chambers.”
The AG believes a background check should have been done on Jack Grynberg before entering into such a grave agreement.  Said Francis, “In today’s world where you can simply Google anybody and get a background on the history, and if any background search was done on Jack Grynberg, you would have determined that he is one who is considered very litigious and also of questionable character.”
Francis went further to castigate former Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony, saying, “He did request the Attorney General’s advice on the matter and the Attorney General advised him appropriately which is a thing the government should do—seek expert advice from persons knowledgeable in the field.  That advice was ignored and it begs the question, why would you ignore such advice from your Attorney General?”
Another factor Francis feels the former government should have taken into consideration before signing the agreement was the ongoing legal proceedings between the Government of Grenada and Jack Grynberg.
Francis took serious issue with the construction of the agreement.  He said, “The agreement purported to grant a license, highly unusual in legal circumstances.  And even more unusual in light of the fact that there was a principle act governing the licensing of such activities, why would anyone ignore the existence of legislation that guides a particular activity and seek to circumvent this by purporting to grant a license within an agreement?”
In addition to the assembly of the agreement, Francis says he is baffled by the structure of the force majeure clause. “For those of you who are not aware,” he explained, “there are guiding principles in constructing any force majeure clause and these principles were totally ignored.  It may interest you that every senior lawyer who we have given the agreement to and have been asked to examine this force majeure clause finds it amusing because the force majeure clause is so one sided, it
is so unconventional that it begs the question, why would anybody, especially a lawyer, seek to sign an agreement containing a force majeure clause constructed in such a way?”
The area in dispute is said to be some 56 times the size of the island. The Attorney General told the press, “We may not even be able to get out of this agreement.  External counsel and senior local counsel have examined this matter and realized that we may have great difficulty in getting out of this matter, principally on the grounds that the agreement purported to grant a license.  In the Grenada case, they had a light at the end of the tunnel.  We are not even quite sure that we have that.”
Besides the obvious exorbitant cost to the public purse should this matter go before the courts, Francis said he is puzzled as to why no records or documents pertaining to the agreement could be found in the
Attorney General’s
Chambers or the Prime Minister’s Office but was kept in the custody of a private individual.
The Attorney General was also concerned that “all funds coming into the Government of St Lucia should come into the consolidated fund.  All payments, all royalties for all assets owned by St Lucia should come into the consolidated fund.  Why would the agreement purport for payments to be made to the minister?  This is in contravention of the Finance Act.”
He assured the press that investigations into the matter is continuing because the Grynberg file the government is in possession of is incomplete and it can therefore be assumed that documents are missing.

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