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The Patrick Antoine/NNP Connection

Dr Patrick Antoine – trying to get back into the NNP fold

Leader of a defunct party known as THE GRENADA MOVEMENT (TGM) Dr. Patrick Antoine is believed to be offering advice to Sheldon Scott, the embattled talk show host of the New National Party (NNP) on the cellphone gate issue.

A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY that Dr. Antoine has been making a series of calls to Scott offering him suggestions on how to handle the situation in light of moves afoot by Attorney General Senator Claudette Joseph to get the NNP activist to pay close to EC$150, 000.00 from a government-assigned cell phone that he had in his possession as a Parliamentary Secretary during the 2013-18 period of NNP in government.

According to the source, the Sheldon Scott/Patrick Antoine discussion on the issue is further signs that the latter is trying to get back into the NNP fold following the collapse of his small fringe party prior to the 2022 general election.

“Patrick has been calling Sheldon from Trinidad where he is staying and offering suggestions on how he should approach the matter legally,” he said.

THE NEW TODAY has not been able to independently confirm that Dr. Antoine is behind the plan of the NNP to launch a public campaign to raise funds to pay off the outstanding sums owed to the State by Scott.

Two persons had made pledges of $200.00 each to start a fundraising campaign to find the money.

One NNP activist suggested that the party should target 600 persons to get them to contribute $200.00 each and for the General Secretary Roland Bhola to be given the responsibility to “undertake the task of setting up and launching the campaign.”

“That boils down to about 40 persons per constituency,” said the NNP activist.

Dr. Antoine quit TGM within months of its launch on the grounds of ill-health.

However, since the last general election, the former Ambassador has sought to re-engage the current NNP Political Leader Dr. Mitchell.

Dr. Antoine has reportedly told close aides that he has eyes set on the rural St Andrew South-west seat that is now held by Agriculture Minister Lennox Andrew of the Congress party.

The former TGM leader claims to have ties with the constituency on the grounds that one of his parents was born in the area.

The Keith Mitchell/Patrick Antoine relationship became strained after the former Grenada Prime Minister removed him from a few Ambassadorial positions during the 2013-2022 period.

Dr. Antoine had made several appearances on the NNP political platforms in general elections over the years.

This week, the Dickon Mitchell-led government announced its intention to initiate both civil and criminal proceedings against former government Senator Scott, who incurred a telephone bill of EC$115,393.33 over a 36-month period from July 2016 to July 2019.

Scott, who served as a Senator under the NNP administration from 2013 to 2016, has admitted to continued, and illegal use of his government-issued cell phone without authorisation after leaving office.

Sen. Joseph told reporters on Monday that the evidence shows that the Government continued to pay the service provider, Digicel, for all charges incurred on the phone that Scott should have surrendered.

“This state of affairs continued until July 2019 when the matter was brought to the public domain,” she said.

When the issue was made public in 2019 by another talk show host Kem Jones, documents showed that the bill attached to the phone in Scott’s name had recorded almost $70, 000.00 in charges between April to June of the same year.

Then Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell expressed embarrassment over the development.

Digicel Grenada Ltd., also conducted an internal audit and confirmed that the leak of Scott’s bill did not originate from their operations, and assured customers that they can “continue to rely on, and to trust that we will treat their personal information with the strictest confidence.”

The former Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, had accepted full responsibility for the bloated cell phone bill, and promised to reimburse the government.

However, AG Joseph told Monday’s press conference that records from all government ministries showed that there is no evidence of the repayment.

“Despite the admissions…the record shows that to date, he (Scott) made no repayment to the Government of Grenada, Sen. Joseph told reporters, adding that “the sum in unauthorised charges unlawfully incurred by (Scott), and paid by Government between 3rd July 2016 and 2nd July 2019, is $115,393.32.”

The outstanding sum has attracted interest in the sum of $41,544.30, for a total of $156,937.62 due to the State by Scott.

In addition to the repayment demand, AG Joseph said that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) had conducted an investigation, with the findings now sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution for criminal determination.

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