Former Opposition Leader Michael Baptiste has responded sharply to statements made last weekend by St. Patrick West Member of Parliament, Anthony Boatswain on the issue involving a cruise liner and government on the return of Grenadian cruise ship workers.
Following is the statement issued by Baptiste, a former Minister of Agriculture in the same 1995-99 NNP regime as Mr. Boatswain:
I am responding to Anthony Boatswain’s posting on social media.
And in that posting Anthony Boatswain said that government was duped by the cruise line in connection with the returning of Grenadian workers stuck on the cruise line for a few months.
I’m wondering why Honourable Anthony Boatswain – how in heaven’s name, you could have the audacity to write on social media that government has been duped. It has been a pattern, a consistent pattern where government has been duped over the years, and not just been duped, but been duped by white folks.
Anthony Boatswain yourself – you were duped – you left Grenada, you went into New York to meet a man by the name of EJ Miller, a con man.
You were met at the airport in New York, by EJ Miller in a stretch limousine. In the back of that limousine you were bragging that (there) was a barmaid – I said no, it’s not a barmaid, it was a prostitute (and) you brag about EJ Miller escorting you to your hotel room in a bathroom with good faucets and remember me telling you all that glitters is not gold.
And what happened after this? You came back to Grenada and in the Parliament of Grenada, you moved a bill to guarantee $36 million to a con man EJ Miller. In addition to that you gave EJ Miller the whole of Mount Hartman – not one penny was paid. What was the result? The Grenadian people had to buy back what was theirs from EJ Miller at a cost to the taxpayers.
Let’s talk about duped: Van Brink, another con man came into Grenada (and) according to the laws he was supposed to deposit $2 million in the Treasury for starting up his fictitious offshore bank. He gave Dr. Mitchell as Minister of Finance a copy of a gem – a false gem – something that never existed. We got duped again.
Steve Altman got thousands in concessions – say (he) coming and set up hotels. And what did he set up – he brought in sex toys to sell for the Grenadian people. We (have) been duped again (by) another white man, Colm Imbert – a white Trinidadian. We gave him the stadium for $1. And you piloted another bill and) in that bill you said that the stadium would not cost the Grenadian people one black penny.
We got duped less than eight months later (as) government went back to Parliament (to) borrow 100 million US dollars to pay for a stadium that you told the Grenadian people would not cost us one black penny.
Remember, Boatswain we were duped again (as the) stadium collapsed before the wooden houses in Darbeau that was sitting on four telephone post – stadium collapsed. We borrow another $35 million from the Taiwanese for that same Stadium that you said would not cost the Grenadian people one black penny. We were duped, not by the Taiwanese – we were duped by Colm Imbert, a white Trinidadian.
Let’s talk about been duped – Levera project. We took your fellow St Patrick’s citizen, Mr. Williams lands from Levera (and) we gave it to a white man.
In addition to giving him Mr. Williams’ lands and hundreds of acres of land in Levera, we guaranteed monies for that project, a project we were duped by again (and) that formed part of our national debt.
Let’s go on Mr Boatswain because you seem to have regained consciousness about being duped recently.
Recently, were duped by another white man. The New National Party (NNP) government where you are a Member of Parliament and a Cabinet member, you increased on passports – the cost of a passport to the ordinary Grenadian man. And what did you do – you took the passports and you give it to another white man to sell.
He sold the passports and he made $52 million. And he said he was going to set up a shrimp farm in Victoria. Did the shrimp farm ever materialised? We were duped Boatswain.
Let’s talk about been duped: You piloted another bill, the Call Centre where Dr. Mitchell plucked out $18 million from the Treasury and stuff it down the pockets of his auntie’s children.
And you were there when he said, “Mr Speaker, that money would be repaid starting in March”. We were duped (because) not only that, after Dr. Mitchell auntie’s children buss the Call Centre, government took $4 million from Cable and Wireless’ dividend (to pay off some of the debts of the Call Centre). Mr. Boatswain, we were duped then.
That $4 million went to pay for telephone bills that Dr. Mitchell’s auntie’s children left behind unpaid.
Mr Boatswain, let’s talk about being duped: After we were duped over $22 million by Dr Mitchell’s auntie’s children, we ended up with another con man Lev Model – a man fresh from Federal prison in the United States for embezzlement and fraud.
We placed Call Centre in his hands and we pump in more money into Call Centre, Mr Anthony Boatswain. Quite recently again we were duped (by) Sheldon Scott. Look at how much money he racked up at a cost to taxpayers.
I can’t count like you that much. You and Dr. Mitchell have your PhD in Mathematics and Economics (and so) I cannot add these figures but I can put them out – $22 million dollars for Dr. Mitchell auntie’s children in Call Centre (and) we were duped 100 million dollars for a stadium that collapsed.
(Remember) in the first instance where we say (the stadium) wouldn’t cost the Grenadian people one black penny – we were duped another 35 million US (as) we borrow from the Taiwanese for the same stadium that wouldn’t cost taxpayers one penny.
We were duped $35 million U.S for Mt Hartman by EJ Miller, the man that put you up in the hotel, the man that picked you up at the airport with the barmaid in the back of the Stretch limousine and took you to the hotel with the golden faucet.
$35 million we lost with him. So don’t come on Social Media today talking about the cruise ship duped the government of Grenada in not paying for expenses for a few cruise ship workers that were stranded at sea.
Come again Boatswain. Not every Grenadian you could put that hook in their mouths. Remember, there are those of us, whose eyes are still wide open and hoping and praying that our message will get to the Grenadian people so that one day they will open up their eyes and recognise that the economic crisis that we’re in today – almost one billion dollars EC dollars that we paying back today – is going to pay back senseless guarantees, whether it was the Mt Hartman, Levera, Call Centre, the shrimp farm in St Mark’s, and another $18 million in the aborted poultry farm in St Mark’s.
Those are monies that the Grenadian people were duped and it costing them severely because today at a time when we are facing a double crisis with the corona virus and the economic crisis we now have to think about how we going to pay back all of these unnecessary debts.
And if you don’t believe me, ladies and gentlemen you could ask my brother, Chester Humphrey – myself and Chester Humphrey sat at the Public Accounts Committee and we itemised all of this unnecessary debts that were incurred by Dr. Mitchell and Anthony Boatswain’s reckless borrowing and guaranteeing.
The records are there, Boatswain. So stop your nonsense talking about government being duped. It has become a pattern where this government has (been) duped and the people of Grenada are made to pay the costsMichael Baptiste rips into Anthony Boatswain