I need help. I need it to explain certain matters that have troubled me ever since the island returned Labour to office in 1997. I state as truthfully and as simply as I can that there has never been in my humble estimation a politician in Saint Lucia, from adult suffrage to the present, who has attempted to use the laws to intimidate, distract and hoodwink opponents as the one who became Prime minister that year. That man was forever threatening someone or group with court action. It was as if he knew something in the laws that no one else knows. Guy Joseph and Allen Chastanet were subjected to endless harassment by his party hacks. Why do you think Guy and Allen were selected as targets?
About one month following the 2016 general elections when he seemed to have finally recovered from the knockout blow inflicted by the electorate, the first thing the man did was to challenge the same Allen Chastanet (now his and the peoples’ Prime Minister) to allow the bogus charge which was brought against Allen for helping the people of Soufriere, to stand in court. My sense is that, since politics was at the root of that court case, Prime Minister Chastanet should now use the same authority which the former Prime Minister used, to bring an end to such an arrogant and reckless political mind, and let the chips fall where they may. What do you think Rick and what should be done about the former leader? Clearly, the man needs help. In the former Soviet Union he would have been consigned to a State-run asylum.
The other matter pertains to one which you recently raised in your Star newspaper concerning the Helenites affair and the Grynberg oil exploration deal. More information is needed on these issues. I note the concerns you shared with your readers and I too wish to share what intrigues and bothers me at this time. The matters associated with these two have, to my knowledge, at least two principle local actors – Huntley and Anthony. But why go after the little fish and not the larger shark? Who was the boss, Huntley or Anthony?
Before proceeding let me set the record straight by volunteering that I was the Minister of Foreign Affairs when Earl Huntley was confirmed as Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, upon my recommendation to the Prime Minister. I hasten to add that there was nothing personal in my recommendation. Mr. Huntley appeared to be a person of some intelligence whom I deemed competent in his work. I also wish to add that I made no assessment of his character or his integrity as a man, as I did not think then it impacted my Ministry or the Government.
Having cleared this let me say that I’ve been deeply troubled by the Grynberg matter and more so about the silence of the former Prime Minister. The Star newspaper has reminded us of the double standards that have been inflicted on the unsuspecting people of Saint Lucia by the former Government. Here was a Government that seemed to know Chastanet and Cazabon had circumvented the law in the Soufriere matter yet it had completely lost its tongue when the spotlight turned to Grynberg and the Helenites affairs. To this day the man refuses to speak clearly and simply on these two disturbing issues. Rick, what can be done to make the man speak truth to the people of Saint Lucia?
It is difficult for anyone with a modicum of intelligence not to have perceived that former Ambassador Huntley was a go-between in the Grynberg matter. Why was there need for him after Huntley’s first introduction of the two main players? I hold no brief for Huntley; I am, however, aware that in politics the buck stops at the desk of the leader. Do you know why some leaders love to use others as shield? Have you ever done that?
The logical question for any patriotic Saint Lucian is this: Why has the former SLP Government not applied the same argument it did in the Cazabon (and later Chastanet) matter at Soufriere, in the Helenites and Grynberg affairs? Where does the buck stop; is it at the feet of minor operatives or is it at the feet of the one who makes final decisions and issues instructions?
The same sort of question comes to mind on the illegal drugs issue. Why are small-time users and sellers sent to prison while the big men who import the stuff are free to roam about in their large, flashy cars to drink brandy at some of the most expensive homes on the island and move about as freely as law-abiding citizens? Answer that Rick, if you can.
Rick, I remain suspicious, if not fully convinced, that the attempt to intimidate Prime Minister Chastanet on the Soufriere issue is another huge smoke screen aimed at diverting the work and attention of the UWP Government. Most Western democracies allow 100 days before its best journalists and reporters make an objective intellectual assessment of the direction of a new Government. It is hardly 60 days since the last elections. There are hypocrites among us who spent a year and more before uttering a negative comment on the last failed SLP regime. I feel confident that these hypocrites have been found out and they must not be allowed to raise their voice without a robust challenge. What is your view on this?
The Voice editorial last week pointed out that the former Prime Minister did not say specifically that the UWP paid named persons for votes. But then he does need to be specific when speaking to his ‘labar tribesmen’. Accusing church leaders of influencing the last elections was over the top. A picture of the former PM with his head bent in his left hand in a church said it all: ‘Oh Lord, what have I done?’ cried the caption. What the Lord did was to use persons like you, Rick, to help save his people from their pharaoh.
The people of Saint Lucia should be reminded that evil never rests. Some persons would prefer that the people suffer under pharaoh than give a new Government an opportunity to help them. What a shame!
Rick, I end with this request: Please continue to keep Grynberg, Helenites, IMPACS, UNESCO and IMO in the public’s eyes. May your Star newspaper continue to shine a light wherever darkness threatens and influence others to do the same, including keeping a watchful eye on the new Government. Tough, but I feel confident you can do this.