After a near four-year battle in court, a lotto winner is set to collect over half-a-million dollars from the Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA).
Jerome “Stew Man” De Roche was forced to turn to local attorney-at-law, Ruggles Ferguson of Ciboney Chambers after the authority did not want to hand over the money from a winning ticket he purchased from Parris Pharmacy in Grenville, St. Andrew in November 2017.
De Roche spoke to THE NEW TODAY after female high court judge, Agnes Actie handed down a ruling in his favour in the battle against GNLA.
The Vincentian-born “Stew Man” is seen daily outside the Republic Bank in the city selling fruit stews made from golden apple, mangoes and other fruits.
“I still feel good. To be honest with you, I’m feeling ok, am happy all the time – I still remain the same person, I remain balanced. There is no different changes,” said De Roche when approached for the exclusive interview following the court ruling in his favour.
According to the small businessman, attorney Ferguson has informed him that the Lottery Authority has signaled its intention to appeal against the three weeks old Justice Actie decision in the court battle.
However, he said that once he gets the money, he will use it “to advance more into my business”, as well as to “step up more in buying more fruits and (making) my business more established and bigger”.
“I want to extend on my business by purchasing more fruits, do more home stews, upgrade on my packages and labelling,” he added.
“The Stew Man” told THE NEW TODAY that it was an uphill battle with Lotto for the money and was advised by the owner of the business place where he purchased the winning ticket to take the matter to court for settlement.
He said he was a frequent visitor to Parris Pharmacy, run by the Buckmire brothers, to purchase preservatives for his fruits and will buy tickets mainly for Play Way, Pick 3 and Pick 4.
“I never used to buy Super 6 and Lottery,” he said, but added that God gave him the numbers to purchase to play the Super 6 game for that upcoming draw.
According to De Roche, the numbers – 8, 26, 10, 28, 11 and 19 came from his stop off times at places that he visited in Sauteurs and Gouyave to purchase mangoes.
He said he also wanted to buy a Play Way ticket and choose the No. 34 which he did by placing $25.00 on it for the midday draw.
He disclosed that later in the evening when he looked at the television, he noticed the numbers did not call out for the Super 6 draw but the following Tuesday he went to the Bruce Street Mall to collect the money that he won from the winning No.34 draw.
He said it was then he saw the numbers on the board for the Super 6 draw and realised that it was the same winning combination of numbers that he used to buy the ticket at Parris Pharmacy for the Super 6 game.
He said he immediately told the lady on the Desk at Bruce Street Mall that he had those numbers, signed the ticket on the desk and handed it to her but she informed him that the numbers did not call for Friday but the following day.
De Roche indicated that he then approached someone to ascertain if the Super 6 Draw did not take place on Friday but on Saturday whether the ticket he purchased for the game was still valid.
He said that he eventually saw the GNLA Manager, Jeffrey Gilbert on the following Saturday in the Bocas in St Paul’s at a morning breakfast and approached him on the issue.
He spoke of Gilbert assuring him that in the circumstances of what happened, the ticket was valid for the draw the next day.
He said that he understood that one of the countries where the Super 6 game was also played had a holiday and as such the draw could not take place until the following day.
According to De Roche by then he had thrown away the ticket based on the advice from the employee at the Bruce Street Mall that the ticket was not valid.
He said this development was brought to the attention of Gilbert who told him that he had 3 months to wait but he would see what he can do for him within that timeframe.
Gilbert reportedly told him to come back to see him by the middle of January 2018.
De Roche said he showed up as directed at the GNLA office on the Carenage but the Secretary kept telling him that Gilbert was not in office.
He said that one morning in particular he came early onto the Carenage and stood outside the office and saw when Gilbert arrived and walked into the building to take up work for the day.
“Stew Man” said the Secretary again told him that the manager was not in and he knew that she was not telling him the truth and he shouted at her in a loud voice and the commotion alerted the Security guard on duty who came to see what was happening.
De Roche said the security agreed with him that the manager was in the building and the Secretary then got up from her chair and went into the Manager’s office to notify him that someone was there to see him.
He eventually saw Gilbert who instructed him to go back to the place where he purchased the ticket to get a print out.
The small businessman said he went back up to Grenville into Parris Pharmacy and while there a workman showed up and told Buckmire that he came to fix the lotto machine.
He said that Buckmire told the person that there was nothing wrong with the machine and that he cannot move it at this point in time.
According to De Roche, someone appeared to do something to the machine because when Buckmire tried to get it up the system just froze on him.
He said the business owner then told him that he sensed lotto did not want to pay him the $540, 000.00 winnings and suggested that he should seek legal advice from an attorney-at-law and as such he went to see Attorney-at-law Ferguson.
He said the employees of Parris Pharmacy who had knowledge of the purchase of the ticket all gave statements to the lawyer to assist in the successful court battle against GNLA.
De Roche is currently living at Red Gate in St David but when he purchased the winning ticket he was staying in The Bocas, St Paul’s.
“Stew Man” was born on the Vincentian ward island of Canouan but moved over to Petite Martinique at the age of 4 to live with his aunt, and has been living on mainland Grenada for the past 22 years.
For the full interview with De Roche click here.