Did Grynberg representative mislead two prime ministers?
Earl Huntley’s most recent letter to the Voice, like his earlier publication in 2009, exposes the reason for former prime minister Kenny Anthony’s continuing silence on the matter of Jack Grynberg. He cannot risk tripping over Huntley’s convenient recollections more times than already he has. Huntley, on the other hand, is demonstrably a lot more reckless.
As has been underscored in earlier articles in this series, a number of claims made in Huntley’s now famous story about oil deposits in the sea at Dauphin are contradictory, vague, silly (bordering on voodoo), uncorroborated or just self-serving prevarication.
And now, as if laying down more decoys, he seeks to make light of Jack Grynberg’s references to him as “my trusted associate,” at a time when by his own word Huntley’s role was as the volunteer liaison between the government and Grynberg’s company RSM. He also suggests, reminiscent of Walter Francois’ “ti nom” doctorate, that for no special reason Grynberg often referred to him as his “representative” and “friend”—even in his official correspondence with local government ministries.
Huntley even tries to wiggle out of the fact that for almost five years after he quit the public service he had secretly retained important documents relating to the Grynberg arrangement that rightly belonged in the government’s files. He didn’t take them to New York, he now says, he left them at home, wherever that might be.
Then there is this: “Based on what he had seen in Saint Lucia, Grynberg was also interested in signing an exploration agreement with St Vincent and the Grenadines because he believed that if there was oil in Saint Lucian waters, then oil would also be present in St Vincent, Grenada and Dominica. The minister responsible for energy in St Vincent and the Grenadines at the time was John Horn and in discussions with him he said to me that Saint Lucia and St Vincent had nothing to lose agreeing to grant licenses for exploration and so St Vincent also concluded an agreement with Grynberg’s RSM. Grenada was to do the same afterward.”
The calculated impression given here is that we were first to sign on the dotted line, when in fact we were the last. The Grenada agreement was concluded in 1996, St Vincent’s in 1999 and Saint Lucia’s in 2000—four years after Grenada. Huntley’s convoluted sequence of events notwithstanding, how could Grynberg’s interest in St Vincent have been based on what he had not yet seen in Saint Lucia (has not seen even now!) and not on what was evident to him in Grenada?
It’s almost as if Huntley is determined to say as little as possible about the Grenada disaster, which would be understandable, bearing in mind how it had exposed Grynberg’s true colors. Indeed, had Huntley and Kenny Anthony not been so bent on secrecy, they might’ve discovered that just two weeks after the Grenada government engaged Grynberg he invoked force majeure and abandoned all his contractual obligations.
As I say, in much the same way that Earl Huntley had discovered Grynberg is “a very successful oil entrepreneur with substantial petroleum assets in the USA and other parts of the world” (was he privy to Grynberg’s bank account or did the oilman tell him that?), had the former prime minister conducted even the smallest investigation of the oilman’s dealings with the Grenada government he might have learned enough to keep him from committing Saint Lucia to the contract he signed on 28 March 2000, in direct conflict with the requirements of our Minerals (Vesting) Act. Then again, due diligence was never Kenny Anthony’s strongest point, as well Gavin French and the other Rochamel clique know!
Of course, it is possible both Kenny Anthony and Earl Huntley knew and ignored the fact that the Colorado oilman had soon after signing with Grenada caused the government a heap of trouble (some of it involving sister territories).
In all events, what precisely did Grynberg see with his naked eye in Saint Lucia that alerted him to the oil potential of the named sister islands? The black sand at Dauphin? He had not yet spent the US$60 million that in last weekend’s Voice Huntley claimed Grynberg invested in seismic explorations of Saint Lucia’s waters. Actually, there is absolutely no evidence of such exploration, let alone the cost. I am reliably informed that the related documents to which Huntley referred were borrowed from the Barbados authorities.
Pointless going over the rest of Huntley’s piece in last Saturday’s Voice, save to remind readers of how easy it is to pull a tiger’s teeth in the animal’s absence. The prime minister has already made it quite clear he and his ministers were unable to find any Grynbergrelated documents in the government’s files—and John Compton is in no position to validate the outré claims of Earl Huntley. Hardly surprising, he neglected to mention among his Voice revelations how he came by details of secret Cabinet discussions centered on Grynberg but there is the subtle suggestion his unidentified source may have been Ausbert d’Auvergne, about whose character the Labour Party has already said more than enough—certainly enough to cause the gentleman to issue threats of libel and slander at one point.
I, for one, am having a difficult time believing anything Earl Huntley writes or speaks. And not without good cause. Remember the multi-milliondollar Helenites Building transaction? At its center was New York real estate owned by the government of Saint Lucia. For reasons of his own, Earl Huntley (then UN ambassador) had transferred ownership of the property to a fellow Saint