St Lucians and Grynberg officially introduced?

L-R: Prime Minister Kenny Anthony, American oil man Jack Grynberg and former Foreign Affairs PS Earl Huntley, who was first to divine oil while taking a swim in the sea at Dauphin.

It wasn’t so long ago that the prime minister had channeled his inner Wyclef Jean to jump all over Stephenson King’s amply covered bones. Using as his springboard the cost of rescuing the Black Bay deal that famously went awry, the prime minister grabbed the opportunity during his closing address on the final day of the most recent Budget debate to admonish the Leader of the Opposition for not having learned from Rochamel that not all senior public servants are trustworthy. In the prime minister’s telling, he had himself learned from bitter experience that some officials were not above pretending they knew not what the prime knew they damn well knew.
In short, said the prime minister, King should have known better than to trust his technocrats. He didn’t have to identify the senior public servant in question. You could count on one hand the number that had testified at the Rochamel inquiry. And clearly what he said—or didn’t say!—at the time had been enough to convince the Ramsahoye Commission that “public servants engaged in the prime minister’s office” were left out of the loop, that the prime minister had acted on his own, in secrecy.
Even as I watched the prime minister expertly swinging his double-edged blade that seemed to spare one public servant while beheading another, Jack Grynberg came to mind: I wondered what might’ve been the prime minister’s justification   back in 2000 for trusting the senior public servant Earl Huntley over his Cabinet colleagues, enough to make Huntley the repository of the still not fully revealed secrets of the so-called Oil at Dauphin Project.
Why did the prime minister instruct the foreign affairs permanent secretary to retain the Grynberg contract and related correspondence close to his chest—apparently without a word to such as Philip J. Pierre and Mario Michel? What was so special about Earl Huntley? What might he and the prime minister have in common? Remember the Helenites catastrophe and its cost to taxpayers? Huntley was at the center of that, too. Remember how he was nevertheless allowed to campaign for a chance to be a cabinet minister perchance the Labour Party won the 2006 general elections? Thank goodness the good people of Gros Islet put an  end to that particular insane ambition!
The prime minister’s closing address at the Budget debate also reminded me of   Ausbert d’Auvergne: soon after taking office for the first time in 1997, the prime minister had subjected the super-duper public servant to the eviscerating rigors of a well-covered public inquiry that finally determined d’Auvergne had on more than one count abused the public trust—to put it mildly!
Later, after he was effectively absolved by Sir John following the 2006 elections—and inherited by Stephenson King at Sir John’s passing—the Labour Party had egregiously hounded d’Auvergne for some three years, until his historic removal from office. However, it seems all of that was forgotten in the final months before the 2011 elections, after which the new prime minister declared d’Auvergne a fountain of truth overflowing with unique talents and fully deserving of his own special desk at Government Buildings.         As I recall, the prime minister’s post-election assessment of Ausbert d’Auvergne’s brainpower was such that he recommended it be harnessed and not be allowed to go to waste!
Conceivably, a contributing factor to the reassessment of d’Auvergne’s special gifts was that he and Huntley were in sweet harmony, at any rate, when they sang about Grynberg: both claimed that then prime minister Stephenson King had renewed the government’s contract with the Denver oil billionaire after it expired in 2007. Alas, although Stephenson King has persistently challenged the two canaries to validate their song, it remains at this time filed under QED—undeserving of comment even by Huntley’s notoriously outrageous “friend and associate Jack.”
According to a recent release from the prime minister’s office, Grynberg implicitly contradicted the Huntley-d’Auvergne election-time allegation when the oilman charged in his suit dated April 23, 2012 that the government of Saint Lucia had in a 2008 letter expressed its intention to open to competitive bidding the exploration of the Saint Lucia seabed—which Grynberg considers a breach of contract!
But then nothing in the recent history of local politics has been as shrouded in secrecy and doubletalk as is this particular arrangement. First we were told it was in all ways the same as those with St Vincent and Grenada—until the publication of proof to the contrary.
Then the public was told Grynberg was a tool fabricated solely for the purpose of sullying the good name of Kenny Anthony before an impending election. Further, that the Grynberg contract
had expired in 2007, therefore the Denver oilman had no grounds for related litigation.             In any event, thanks to “the Grenada precedent,” such litigation would go nowhere. King was accused of wasting a colossal amount of money on an American law firm whose opinion he had sought on the true status of that agreement Grynberg and the then prime minister had signed some twelve
years ago. (Via an inter-office memo dated 1 February 200, Petrus Compton had advised his prime minister to seek specialized legal advice before signing the Grynberg
contract. It remains conjectural whether the AG’s advice was taken!)
As if to make matters worse, there seems to be an ongoing concerted effort to deny Saint Lucians any verifiable information on the matter, regardless of the fact that, one way or another, taxpayers may well have to fork out millions of dollars to settle Jack Grynberg’s suit.
To my mind, this issue was always bigger than Kenny Anthony; bigger than his advisors, bigger than any individual one might name. It is one that demands full accountability and transparency, once the Labour Party’s mantra. But nearly twelve years after Grynberg was controversially granted a license to explore Saint Lucia’s seabed for its oil potential, the nation has calculatedly been left in the dark, as if what is involved here is a transaction involving two private individuals and a billionaire oilman with a well-documented record for controversy. He is especially known for accusing government officials of attempting to bribe him.
It’s high time the whole truth about Grynberg was brought to light. Even Anthony Astaphan, the prime minister’s lawyer for all seasons, has said as much!

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