At last! We have heard from our government on the WRB/GPP shares matter! It took them quite a while to craft a political response to continue to impress the average man on the street and was obviously not meant for the well-read or well-informed Grenadian.
Surprise, surprise! It is the same litany of lies, a mound of misinformation and so deliberately devoid of essential detail to clearly identify it as just another political statement. Keith seems to think that he has the only functional brain in Grenada and we are all so very dumb. The official statement put out by this NNP administration is a gross disrespect to each Grenadian who has heard this man treat with this issue over the years. Come on Keith, when are you going to come clean with our people, the people whom you have used for decades to become rich and powerful since you rushed back from the USA AFTER the US invasion?
You are going to meet your maker just now as naked as you came into the world, so it is best that you clear up your conscience and tell the truth before your day of reckoning.
So, lets all go back to the start of this all in from 1994.
The monopoly argument
This does not matter because of the following facts:
- Grenlec was a state-run facility filled with corrupt political practices and was always a monopoly, anyway;
- The sale of shares followed open competition subject to objective evaluation by impartial actors.
- If generation for private use restricted and so abhorrent, why was it not challenged as being unconstitutional?
- Keith well knows that Grenada’s market size does not allow for any meaningful competition for distribution or even generation in the sector. He has been told so on many occasions!
What did Keith actually do?
On assuming office after the election of 1995, Keith’s NNP declared that for procedural reasons the 1994 ESA had never taken effect. It sought renegotiation of various provisions of the SPA (including the purchase price for the Grenlec shares). WRB initiated ICSID proceedings to oblige the GoG to repurchase the shares. One repurchase event, hurricanes, was removed from the SPA. The settlement led to a 1998 Supplemental SPA which affirmed the validity of the 1994 ESA and provided additional related relief to GPP/WRB.
“The New National Party (NNP) administration found this to be untenable, hence the decades–long battle to correct what it perceived to be a grave injustice for both individual consumers and the business community.”
That is a blatant lie!
He never talked about monopoly then! He agreed to let it continue!
This is the second time that this matter has gone to the same ICSID. Keith’s NNP settled in 1995 so he cannot come and talk about this now!
Why did they not buy back the shares in 1995 when they were many times cheaper? ICSID found that the high rates we pay was due to high taxes added on raw materials and even adding VAT.
It is no longer the 1994 SPA, but the revised 1995 SPA that governed the electricity sector. The 1995 SPA was agreed to by Keith’s own NNP!
The fair value argument
This is just an argument that was initiated by Agostini and others and flatly rejected by ICSID but, just like Trump, Keith has no respect for courts and the rule of law. He will continue to push his nonsense positions and is only trying to appease his voting base. Keith’s NNP entered into an agreement in 1995 and he knew of all the terms and agreed to them. He then tried to use the World Bank and their project as an excuse to try to get out of the agreement that he signed.
Keith knowingly and deliberately passed the 2016 ESA to bring the war with WRB/GPP to a head. He was advised that the passage of the act would have been interpreted by ICSID as a repurchase event in keeping with the 1994 ESA. Guess who advised him?
It is the same thing he did with the St. Lucia company that bought Government bonds and he refused to pay them on maturity and wants to demonize Jimmy Bristol for enforcement on behalf of the company. It is the same thing he did with MNIB when they received goods from the Trinidad company, did not pay, Keith refused to authorize an overdraft facility extension to allow them to pay and then he tried to demonize Ruel Edwards and blame Patrick Antoine who had passing interest in the company.
Dorset Charles!, Gemma Bain!, Calivigny Island owners! This is the very nature of the man! He cannot be relied upon to honor commitments! He is swell-headed and thinks that as Prime Minister he can do whatever he wants.
The Framework Agreement
What nonsense is this, Keith? Do you think we are stupid! The ONLY reasonable conclusion is follows, that:
- YOU put to WRB that nothing should be said about the discussions and agreement!
- YOU wanted a joint statement made to prop up yourself and limit political damage!
- WRB complied with the confidentiality but refused the joint statement!
- YOU agreed with the deadline date for closing without even letting the Grenadian people whom you represent, how you were raising the money, from whom or under what terms!
- Confidentiality was ONLY IN YOUR interest and not that of WRB!
- It was YOUR plan to hide away your dealings as much as and as long as possible from the masses!
That is the truth, so the masses deserve the truth! Grenada is not a private company with you as the sole shareholder!
Based on the Official Statement of the NNP government, WRB has been paid a settlement amount of US $63 from the Government of Grenada from funds belonging to the Consolidated Fund of Grenada with no Parliamentary approval!
Even if the money is paid by a third party it is still a debt on our treasury and is subject to parliamentary approval either by way of an Appropriation Act or a Supplementary Appropriation Act. After all, it is Parliament that approved the passage of the ESA 2016 after much national debate and the act has caused the response from WRB. So, Keith why are you trying to hide the resolution of the problem that you created? I believe that you are aware that we will think that the solution is far worse than the problem. Are we under more debt to more Chinese? Lord help us!
A great saving?
Wow! A great saving of US $12 million on the US $75 million that you caused Grenada by your own reckless actions! Keith is now turning it around and claiming victory in this matter! Can you really believe this very dumb man?
- WRB offered to sell us their shares BEFORE the ESA 2016 was passed and it could have cost us much less than the US $63 million that Keith has now settled for! This is an indisputable fact, Grenadians! The offer was rejected because of the pride and vindictiveness of Keith Claudius Mitchell which robbed him of good common sense. He refused to properly negotiate the share price put forward by WRB or negotiate it at all. This is bordering on criminal negligence and incompetence in public office! I was a part of that set of negotiations too!
- It is a blatant lie to say that, “the value of the shares “worked out to be about US$64 million” when the Arbitration Award from ICSID put “Compensation assessed at USD $58,427,962”. Even if you add in the extra 11.6% of the shares that were not the subject of the ICSID proceedings, the value is still less that US$72 million. So why the need to lie?
- The actual beneficial award of ICSID to WRB/GPP, including costs and minus interest, was actually in the region of US$64.5 million and not US $75 million.
- Especially when dealing with a man like Keith Mitchell, as his track record clearly shows, it is much better to receive cash in hand and forego interest than to wait for any protracted payment.
In the midst of all the lies and political nonsense from this NNP administration, we await with bated breath, the disclosure of the source of this US$63 million, that secret that is so unlawfully and zealously guarded by Keith and his minions. All this talk about renewables is just hot air because Keith and company rejected assistance from the government of the USA as a project of the US government to turn Grenada into “Green Grenada”, a model of the use of renewable energy. The project was rejected because Keith and company wanted to get rid of WRB, a company that Keith says that he does not blame for its conduct over the decades.
Keith will now remove taxation from the new entity and grant many forms of relief which we will have to pay back in other taxes, just to lower the rate of electricity. The joint research and conclusion from the facilitated dialogue between government and WRB was that:
- Liberalisation of the electricity sector does not mean lower rates; and
- Conversion to renewables does not mean lower rates.
This is all just DISHONESTY, DECEIT and DISRESPECT.
(Cajeton Hood is an attorney-at-law and served as Attorney General during the 2013-18 period in government of the New National Party of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell)