US$500 Million to settle Grynberg case?

On Sunday TALK with Rick Wayne lawyer Martinus Francois suggested that the contract between the government of Saint Lucia and oil man Jack Grynberg warrants Judicial Review. Francois, like the host of the show, questioned several aspects of the agreement signed by then  Prime Minister Kenny Anthony. The issue
came to the fore last week when a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Grynberg would be seeking legal action against the St Lucia government.
This week Leader of the Opposition, Stephenson King and Parliamentary Representative for Castries Central, Richard Frederick held a press conference at the Opposition Leader’s office to discuss more issues relating to the Grynberg vs Government of St Lucia case.
King began his statement by letting the media know that this will not be the only time he plans on addressing the Grynberg matter that he said had much to do with “our sovereignty and our economic future.” The former Prime Minister referenced his July 2011 address stating that he pleaded with the then Opposition Leader
Dr Kenny Anthony to assist him in getting to the bottom of this “shadowy entanglement.”
“I pleaded with him to share with me and relevant public servants whatever relevant information he had, in the best interests of our nation.
To date, there has been no official response, save for wild allegations from the Labour Party’s platforms for the purposes of their election campaign,” he said.
King reinforced his earlier statement requesting from the current Prime Minister urgency in dealing with the Grynberg affair while blaming Dr Anthony for the outcome of the situation.
“I take this opportunity to repeat my plea to Dr Anthony, who is totally responsible for this somewhat oily mess we find ourselves in today. My earlier prediction has come to pass: Grynberg is taking Saint Lucia before a disputes tribunal.
“Regardless of what we might say about the Grynberg controversy, regardless of our prejudices, expressed and otherwise, until the dispute is settled by the ICSID (International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes), Mr Jack Grynberg will effectively be the only one with the right to explore the potential of the Saint Lucia seabed. Yes, only Mr Grynberg—not the people of this nation.”
King further noted that RSM Corporation registered its breach of contract complaint with the ICSID on the 23 April 2012, but according to the former PM, St Lucians only learned about it on May 3, following a press release from the Prime Minister’s office.
He then questioned: “How long has the prime minister known of this impending litigation? Why has he treated it with demonstrated scant regard? Why has he not seen the need to give the nation a detailed account of what has led to this sorry state of affairs? Why is Mr Tony Astaphan, the prime minister’s personal friend and permanent defender, also a major campaigner for the Labour Party, the one talking publicly on this important matter, and not the prime minister himself? Is Mr Astaphan doing all of this gratis? Or has he already been retained by Dr Anthony?”
According to King, there are some very important issues one must bear in mind:
“Why did Prime Minister Anthony ignore the advice given to him by former Attorney-General Petrus Compton, who in his letter dated 1st February 2000 advised him to seek out a specialist petroleum lawyer to review and advise him on the draft Grynberg agreement?
“Mr Astaphan claims
that the case won’t be heard in another two to three years.  It better not take that long, because it will mean that no one will bid until the matter is resolve. It means that between now and the resolution of this matter Saint Lucia’s seabed will be in the hands of Mr Grynberg, having serious implications for our fishers, potential exploration exercises and our marine resources will be at Grynberg’s disposal,
“Why is Grynberg taking the Government before the tribunal now, when in fact we were previously told by Dr Anthony’s lawyers that there was no issue?
“Why was Article 3 of the agreement rewritten to accommodate the issuance of a license by someone other than the governor general?
“There’s need to note
that it cost the Grenada Government EC$10million to defend itself in 2000, in a similar case with Grynberg.  What the cost to Saint Lucia might today be boggles the mind.”
Meanwhile, Richard Frederick says the Grynberg matter is shrouded in
secrecy and that important issues are being kept from the public.
“The secrecy is deliberate and I say so because Earl Huntley himself has more than once explained that he was under orders from Dr Kenny Anthony, the then Prime Minister to keep the details of the transaction a secret . . . when he vacated office, he left with all the files that pertained to Grynberg,” said Frederick.
This secrecy, Frederick stated, remained that way for almost 10 years leaving room for more questions than answers. Frederick also pointed out that although Grenada was going through an expensive 10 million dollar court battle with Grynberg, that did not stop the then Prime Minister from signing the agreement with Grynberg nor did he investigate the agreement thoroughly on the advice of his Attorney General.
“We don’t know if there was a secret deal but we are left to wonder many, many, many more questions that cannot be answered.”
In the case of Grenada, he said, a settlement of 500 Million US dollars favoured Grynberg leaving the country to pay a huge debt. Frederick fears that a similar fate may be awaiting St Lucia when this case is called before the ICSID.
“This folks is about our National Budget and whether we are successful or not St Lucian taxpayers will have to pay. If we are unsuccessful, we might have to sell the entire country to Grynberg. If we are, we still have to meet an exorbitant legal bill
to defend what could have been avoided clearly by Dr Kenny Anthony,” said Frederick.
According to the Opposition, St Lucia no
longer has control of its seabed as Grynberg was given ownership through the agreement signed between the Government of St Lucia and Grynberg.
A press statement release from the Prime Minister’s office states: “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.”
The press release further states, “The Corporation bases its case on two grounds. Firstly, notwithstanding two previous extensions by the former SLP administration to continue exploration, it could not complete its exploration because of the failure to resolve boundary disputes between Saint Lucia and neighboring states. This failure, says the Corporation constitutes grounds of “force majeure”.
“Secondly, the Corporation claims that the former Prime Minister, Hon Stephenson King, did sign an extension to the Agreement which he subsequently retrieved.
According to RSM Production Corporation, “Former Prime Minister
King’s Planning Minister, Ausbert d’Auvergne has publicly confirmed that
Prime Minister King, did, in fact, sign a renewal of the Agreement in 2007.
“This second ground is implicitly premised on the fact that the Agreement was revived by former Prime Minister King’s letter, which was recalled but confirmed by Mr d ‘Auvergne.”
To this date, Stephenson King denies ever having signed any renewal to
allow Grynberg the
privilege to continue
mining St Lucia’s seabed and calls for evidence to prove otherwise.

Prime Minister Kenny AnthonyAmerican oil man Jack GrynbergOpposition Leader Stephenson King

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