Did Gryn­berg rep­re­sen­ta­tive mis­lead two prime min­is­ters?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT -

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

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