If further proof be needed of the Labour Party’s prowess in the black art of media manipulation, then where better to discover it than in the way the party had effectively removed itself into the obliterating dark shadows while redirecting the Grynberg spotlight to expose the Stephenson King government in all its numbing effeteness. But then, as Shakespeare had warned: “Murder cannot be hid for long; a man’s son may, but at length truth will out.” Conceivably, the Bard also meant murder in relation to living facts.
In the meantime there is this from the office of the prime minister, curiously marked “for immediate release April 20, 2012” but actually issued some seven working days later on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 and given its surprising first airing by Senate President and host of Straight Up Claudius Francis: “RSM Production Corporation, the company owned by Jack Grynberg, has instituted arbitration proceedings against the government of Saint Lucia in respect of the exploration license which his company was granted several years ago to undertake exploration for oil over a specified area of water offshore of the coast of Saint Lucia. RSM claims that the company’s case against the government is a ‘simple breach of contract.’ ”
By all the release revealed, Grynberg’s charge—to be heard by the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes—centers on the Kenny Anthony government’s failure over fifteen years ago to settle certain territorial impediments in the way of RSM’s search for oil under Saint Lucia’s seabed, and on King’s assertion in a 2008 letter that the agreement had expired. Moreover, that the King government had “subsequently taken steps to put the agreement area, which only RSM has the right to explore, to competitive bidding.”
Grynberg also charged that “by claiming that the agreement has expired, and threatening to place exploration rights in the subject area out to competitive bidding, Saint Lucia has breached the agreement.”
Especially intriguing is the following, also from Wednesday’s government release: “The corporation claims that the former prime minister Stephenson King did sign an extension to the agreement which he subsequently retrieved [sic].” Additionally, King’s former planning minister Ausbert d’Auverge had “publicly confirmed that Prime Minister King did in fact sign a renewal of the agreement in 2007.”
The release ends with the government’s promise to “vigorously dispute and contest the proceedings.” In the meantime, the prime minister’s press release promised “the attorney general is in the process of assessing the claim and securing attorneys to represent the interest of Saint Lucia.”
Talk about déjà vu. Talk about boudoir secrets finally preached from the housetops!
Jack Grynberg has long maintained, in accordance with Article 24 (1) of the agreement he secretly signed with the Kenny Anthony government, that “Failure on the part of the company to fulfill any of the terms and conditions . . . shall not be treated as breach of this agreement insofar as the failure arises from force majeure and if, as a result of force majeure, the fulfillment by the company of any of the terms or conditions of this agreement is delayed beyond the period fixed or allowed for its fulfillment, the period of the delay shall be added to the duration of this agreement and to the period so fixed or allowed.”
Clause 2 of Article 24 states: “Where the company seeks to invoke Clause 24 (1) it shall promptly notify the government in writing of the occurrence of conditions of force majeure and shall take all reasonable steps to remove the cause thereof. The company shall promptly notify the government as soon as conditions of force majeure no longer prevent the company from carrying out its obligations and following such notice shall resume operations as soon as reasonably practicable.”
Moreover: “Where a force majeure situation continues for more than 30 consecutive days, the parties shall meet forthwith in order to review the situation and to agree on the measures to be taken for the removal of the cause of force majeure and for the resumption, in accordance with the provisions of this agreement, of the performance of the obligations hereunder.”
Under Article 26 (1): “Any dispute or difference arising between the parties relating to the construction, meaning or effect of this agreement or the rights or liabilities of the parties hereunder, or any matter arising out of the same or connected therewith shall be resolved amicably by negotiations.” On the other hand, “all disputes, difference or questions between the parties to this agreement with respect to any matter arising out of or relating to this agreement shall be referred to arbitration” pursuant to Clause 26 (3), which states: “Any dispute or difference aforesaid shall be submitted for settlement by arbitration to the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes established by the Convention for the Settlement of Investment of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of other States of 16 March 1965 and for this purpose it is agreed that although the company (as an investor) is a company registered as a foreign company in Saint Lucia, it is controlled by nationals of the United States and shall be treated as a national of that State for the purpose of the Convention.”
For their part, Kenny Anthony and his surrogates, have stubbornly refused to discuss details of the Grynberg arrangements, insisting that the agreement had expired in 2007. It will now be left to a tribunal to determine who is right.
As stated in the prime minister’s release this week: “Saint Lucia has been a contracting state with ICSID since 1984.”