The integrity of the Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA) has come into question in the public domain following the decision handed down by female high court judge, Justice Agnes Actie in a case brought by Jerome “Stew Man” De Roche over his failure to collect EC$540, 000.00 from winning its Super 6 game four years ago.
THE NEW TODAY invites anyone who has a sense for justice, fair play and truth to visit the website of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and access the judgement in the case and to look at the facts as presented by both sides involved in the matter.
Is it any wonder that some ordinary people believe that there are criminals operating in high places in this country?
Even a primary school student will conclude that there was a possible conspiracy involving some people to deny “Stew Man” of his winning.
The evidence points to a possible collusion by some persons to deny an ordinary working class man in Grenada of the proceeds from his winning numbers.
GNLA was seeking to convince the court that the ticket with the winning numbers was purchased at its outlet in St. Andrew and not at Parris Pharmacy as contended by “Stew Man” and even the owner and employees of the business place.
What is striking in the case is that the Lottery Authority did not present as part of its defense to the court its employee at the Lotto office on Bruce Street where “Stew Man” said he went and presented the winning ticket with the right combination of numbers.
There was no denial from the authority that this did happen as the winner said that he was led to believe by this particular employee, clearly known to GNLA that the numbers did not call for the Friday draw but for the Saturday draw.
The winner made a bold statement before the court that he went there on a particular date to present the ticket and GNLA must know who the employee was on duty at the time.
The bosses at Lotto also know that if the Super 6 draw does not take place on the said day that the ticket is perfectly valid for the next draw.
It is unthinkable that “Stew Man would have run the risk of being arrested and charged by the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) for seeking to commit a fraudulent act by trying to collect half-a-million dollars from the Lottery Authority under false pretense.
THE NEW TODAY presents in the public domain a portion of the judgement of Justice Actie in which she said, “Considering the … anomalies and unreliable evidence from the witnesses of the Lotteries Authority, the court is of the view that greater weight is to be attached to the evidence of Mr. De Roche and his witnesses.
The court notes the factual assertions of Mr. De Roche that he signed and presented the ticket to the agent at the Lotteries’ office on 7th November 2017.
The court also takes into consideration that Mr. De Roche made immediate and frequent visits to the main office of the Lotteries Authority to see the Manager, Mr. Gilbert, in relation to issue concerning the validity of his ticket.
Mr. Gilbert in his evidence did not dispute that Mr. De Roche had visited his office before their meeting in middle of January 2018 and his subsequent meetings.
These actions suggest, in my view, that Mr. De Roche had a genuine concern in relation to the inaccurate advice that he received from the agent of the Lotteries Authority at its outlet office.
However, his ticket was no longer in his possession because of the misleading information given by the agent. To date, the prize for the Super 6 lottery draw for that date has not been paid.
The court is satisfied on a balance of probabilities that Mr. De Roche purchased the winning ticket for the Super 6 Draw No. 1761 on Friday, 3rd November 2017 at Parris Pharmacy on Victoria Street in Grenville, St. Andrew.
The court is of the view that the claimant satisfied the requirement in presenting and signing the ticket which was rejected by the defendant’s agent.
The court finds that the Lotteries Authority is holding the winning prize for the Super 6 draw on trust for Mr De Roche”.
THE NEW TODAY has since picked up information that Mr. Gilbert is due to leave GNLA at the end of the month as its General Manager and to take up another big position at the Ministry of Finance.
Is his departure linked to the lotto affair and the embarrassment caused over the $540, 000.00 issue involving Mr. De Roche?
Gilbert is known to be well connected to the ruling New National Party (NNP) government and can easily get another top-paying job as he is said to be the Campaign Manager in the St George South-east constituency for Finance Minister Gregory Bowen where he is now going to take up duties.
Is this another situation like what happened at the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) a few years ago when its boss Ruel Edwards departed and ended up with a bigger post in the Ministry of Finance and Trade and then a few weeks later had to be removed when certain information came into the public domain about his involvement in another state-run body?
This is the new Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique which is being run by the NNP regime as a truly one-party state for the past eight years following back to back 15-0 win at the polls in 2013 and 2018.
It is clear that the court is pointing in the direction of those at GNLA being law-breakers and they should obey the orders of the court and pay the money quickly and save face and embarrassment for both them and the government.
Is it any wonder that Grenada has descended into a serious state of lawlessness coming from the top and filtering down to even state-owned bodies resulting in the little man in society behaving in the manner as seen in the public space in recent weeks?