It is small wonder the local media tend to go to great lengths to avoid dancing with wolves of the political variety. They fear being bitten, especially by some they suspect may be rabid. Last weekend’s Voice, to my pleasant surprise (I welcome any media attention afforded Grynberg, regardless of how ill-conceived, unresearched or self-serving) featured an item headlined ‘Burying Rick’s Zombie,’ an unusually sensational banner you’ll agree, dear STAR reader—for a paper that so often brings to mind a variety of cathartics. But I fear I am ahead of myself.
I first learned about the cited newspaper item from a concerned friend who called me early last Saturday morning to say how strange it seemed that David Prescod had published in the Voice a lengthy defense of Kenny Anthony’s involvement with Jack Grynberg.
I, too, was taken aback. Long have I been a Prescod fan, if only because I’ve never caught him trying to perfume what naturally stinks. After all, (to borrow yet again from Norman Mailer), “even poo has its own integrity!” (Actually Mailer’s unperfumed word was “shit!”)
I got to know David fairly well several years ago, when we were gym buddies at Body Inc. and he a frequent contributor to this newspaper. I’ve had no reason since to presume his intellect had undergone such radical changes as would permit him to dive without appropriate protection into the murkiest of swamps. So yes, I acquired a copy of last Saturday’s Voice, more out of curiosity than anything else, and quickly turned to the article in question.
The author’s byline jumped up at me: Stephen Lester Prescott. Not David Prescod. Of course, informed media personnel know only too well that Stephen Lester Prescott has no existence. I might add that the inventor of Stephen Lester Prescott is by now famous for his repeatedly demonstrated lack of imagination, further evinced by his choice of a moniker that exposes via his initials his ever vulnerable fat ass. It is worth noting, too, that true columnists, by which I refer to those who take as much pride in what they write as in how they write it, seldom conceal their true identities. David Prescod’s columns bear not only his real name but also his photograph, as do such as John Peters and even the irascible Earl Bousquet. The late prolific Pat Brown also comes to mind, as does Vernon Cooper who for years was a frequent contributor to George Oldum’s Crusader. Alas all three are no more. But does anyone know Stephen Lester Prescott?
Has anyone seen his published image?
Then of course, there is his idiosyncratic terrible scribbling. Consider his opening paragraph from last weekend’s ‘Zombie’ story: “There are a few persons who have turned what we now call the Grynberg issue as a bee in their bonnet. Perhaps, none more so than Rick Wayne.”
Who is “we,” Tonto? Is Stephen Lester Prescott among those who consider Grynberg an “issue?” If so, then let him say how you turn an issue “as a bee in your bonnet.” Keeping in mind the man behind the mindless pen name once made a living as a presumed educator, surely he could better have written that the Grynberg issue had been turned “into”—not “as”—something else. Besides, what’s the difference between an acknowledged “issue” and a bee in one’s bonnet? In the event, how edifying to learn thinking Saint Lucians—not just the hornet Rick Wayne—consider the Grynberg issue a pain in the butt, therefore deserving of resolution. But then from his opening paragraph Stephen Lester Prescott—Mr. SLP—ineptly attempts to remake Grynberg into a Rick Wayne issue. Which is like saying Watergate was about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, not about the shenanigans of the Richard Nixon administration. Or that the more recent Fire and Fury is about the author Michael Wolff, not the Trump White House.
I am, as were Woodward and Bernstein in the time of Watergate, a journalist. My job, especially when it involves public accountability, is to investigate, ask questions, cajole and pressure the authorities to account for their stewardship. Whatever else some might call what I do, my targets, especially, it’s what good journalism is all about. It may also be worth keeping in mind that it sometimes takes years to uncover the details of official corruption.
Remarkably, Stephen Lester Prescott states at the end of his opening paragraph what might’ve been his article’s only truth, alas egregiously stated: “Rick, however, has been either very smart or very careful, never stating that KDA [that love affair with initials again!] engaged in any corruption in issuing/signing the licence/contract.” Actually Rick has always left such conclusions to the appropriate authority!
In any case, what the hell is a license/contract? The dictionary definition for license is “a permit from an authority to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade.” As for contract: “A written or spoken agreement, especially one concerning employment, sales, or tenancy, that is enforceable by law.”
Following several badly composed paragraphs that conjecture about my personal relationship with Kenny Anthony, paragraphs not worthy of serious discussion, Stephen Lester Prescott acknowledges that “there are issues about the signing of the agreement over which we may quibble, and these are more managerial related to the policy process than it has to do with misfeasance or breach of public trust or any other nefarious reasons.”
Such bold-faced arrogance! The man is referring to an arrangement entered into some 17 years ago, that even he admits is at best contentious. The only people privy to how the agreement that ties up some 83 million acres of our sea bed came about are Kenny Anthony, American oil speculator Jack Grynberg and the man who by his own confession discovered oil in the sea at Dauphin, imported, then secretly delivered “Jack” to the prime minister of Saint Lucia. But as far as Mr. SLP is concerned, questions relating to the unholy alliance amount to mere quibbling—defined as “arguing about a trivial matter.”
I will not go into SLP’s convenient interpretation of whatever law he claims authorized Prime Minister KDA to lease millions of acres of Saint Lucia’s sea bed to Jack Grynberg, without the knowledge of a single member of his Cabinet, or MP or the governor general. That law evidently authorized the then prime minister to order the singular Earl Huntley, hardly a disinterested party to the deal, to retain all related documents—that interesting tidbit from Huntley himself. As Stephen Lester Prescott correctly underscores in his opening paragraph, I have never accused the prime minister of abuse of office, corruption, mis- or malfeasance, not in this or any other matter. And not because I’m “smart-clever.” All I’ve ever done as a journalist is what all right-thinking citizens should do as a matter of course. I’ve insisted on public accountability at all times.
Whatever my views pertaining to the legality of the Grynberg arrangements, I have kept them largely to myself, for obvious reasons. I am not a lawyer. Which is not to say that whatever the former prime minister’s Dominican friend might say or write about Grynberg is indisputable, just because he is a lawyer. Indeed Anthony Astaphan, when it comes to Kenny Anthony by whatever name, could not be more predictable.
To suggest my main concern about Grynberg centers on who issued the permit to explore for oil in Saint Lucia’s waters borders on insanity. Without the contract between Jack Grynberg and the government of Saint Lucia, the matter of an exploration license would never have arisen. Everything else is secondary to the genesis of this oily episode.
I thought the following especially perplexing, implying as it does that in the matter of Grynberg the day’s prime minister was not only judge, jury and executioner, but that he may even have seen himself down the road as the accused: “Having established the legal authority for the action of KDA [established by whom?] let’s apply commonsense and logic and expose the other baseless, ignorant or mischievous arguments for what they are. If you choose to be willfully blind [sounds familiar?] or stubborn and cling to the argument that KDA was not duly authorized to sign or issue a licence/contract for mining exploration, then you would have to conclude that any such contract/license issued by KDA was null and void . . . Thus there can be no valid contract or license to Grynberg which is enforceable . . . Allen Chastanet and Rick Wayne can say there was no contract in the first place. Why have they not done so?” The answer is simple: Allen Chastanet and Rick Wayne know better; that there is precedent indicative of the opposite of S.L.P. conclusion.
Simply stated, while in 2000 the prime minister may have overstepped his bounds—as did Earl Huntley when as ambassador he fatally imagined his plenipotentiary powers included the freedom to do as he pleased with the Helenites Building in New York, without even bothering to inform his prime minister—the deal then prime minister Kenny Anthony struck with Grynberg is rock solid, thanks to related protocols. Otherwise it would not today be before the ICSID. Saint Lucia’s lawyers in the matter would simply have declared the arrangement “null and void,” case closed. As it is, Grynberg’s lawsuit alleges “breach of contract.” All of which makes it imperative that Saint Lucians uncover the deliberately hidden details.
At the conclusion of his piece, Stephen Lester Prescott offers this strange suggestion: “I invite all Saint Lucians to examine both the DSH agreement and the Oil Exploration agreement and objectively comment on their relative merits.”
Only a lawyer could be as specious. From all I’ve read, seen and heard, the details of the DSH agreement were secret only during two-year negotiations with the Kenny Anthony administration. It’s been open house on the subject from June 6, 2016. As for examining the Grynberg agreement, wouldn’t it be more useful to hear its history from the undisguised mouth of Kenny Anthony? Dear hopeful reader, I proffer this advice: Don’t hold your breath!