ComSec Denies Kenny Statement On Grynberg!
By now it must’ve occurred to even the conveniently deaf and dumb that the palpable silence of the normally garrulous Labour Party leader on the subject more and more Saint Lucians are referring to as “this election’s most important topic” speaks volumes. As sordid as may be the suggestion, let us force ourselves to recall that the first time any of us learned the Saint Lucia seabed had been leased to an American businessman was when the Castries Central MP touched lightly on the subject during his contribution to the 2009 Budget debate. For close to a decade, the matter had remained a closely guarded secret between the then Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and Earl Huntley, at the time permanent secretary at External Affairs ministry. Quite uncharacteristically the prime minister had on the occasion kept his thoughts to himself, even as Richard Frederick repeatedly torpedoed his style of governance. It was left to the trusted Huntley, four years after his retirement from the civil service, to inform the public about the secret transaction via a piece in The Voice entitled: “The Story of the Dauphin Oil Project” wherein he revealed that on orders from the prime minister himself he had kept in his possession all related documents. Moreover, that Huntley had in his private capacity invited a Denver, Colorado oilman named Jack Grynberg to evaluate the sea at Dauphin’s oil potential. At some later point he had personally taken Grynberg to the prime minister from whom the American obtained a license to explore the Saint Lucia seabed—an area more than fifty times the size of the island’s land mass.
The matter came up a second time during the most recent Budget debate, when a now far better informed Frederick and two fellow government MPs also questioned the secret arrangement with the Colorado oilman Grynberg. But nothing they said was enough to elicit a single word of enlightenment from the former prime minister. Not until several weeks later, with mounting public interest in the now exposed oil-exploration project, did the opposition leader break his silence. What he said took the form of a televised address to the nation, in the conspicuous absence of inquisitive reporters. For the most part the speech echoed Earl Huntley’s story published in The Voice. The former prime minister said the “allegations” by Frederick & Company were neither new nor true, that they had been concocted for the sole purpose of defaming him in an election year.
He said Huntley had in his published article “explained the background” to the Grynberg transaction—including the line that “Grenada was first to engage Grynberg Petroleum . . . the governments of Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines followed suit.” As will soon be seen, this was not Kenny Anthony’s only contradiction of the story that just seconds earlier he had endorsed as reliable background information. Regarding the named two other OECS territories, this is what Huntley had written: “I introduced him [Grynberg] to Prime Minister Kenny Anthony and explained to him what had occurred. The prime minister agreed to grant the license and Grynberg subsequently submitted a draft agreement for signature. The then attorney general Petrus Compton suggested that the Commonwealth Secretariat vet the draft. After the Commonwealth Secretariat had approved the draft, Prime Minister Anthony and Jack
Opposition leader Kenny Anthony (left) has spoken only once on the Grynberg controversy. Meanwhile his lawyer Anthony Astaphan (top left) is busy blogging on the issue that first came to light during MP Richard Frederick’s (top right) 2009 Budget presentation. Prime Minister Stephenson King (above) addressed the Grynberg affair on TV two weeks ago, when he asked the opposition leader to help him bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.