And Says “Yes I Got Ec$38,000.00 Which Was Wired To My Account, But…
After returning to Grenada from the United States of America, Mr. Michael Baptiste although going back to leave in his home village of Munich in St. Andrew, started operating the favorite Talk of The Town Restaurant and Bar on Granby Street in St. George.
His intention was to ensure that he was strategically located in order to meet with the right people at the right time. Mission-to win the South West St. Andrew seat at all cost. And win he did, beating incumbent Prime Minister Ben Jones, who was also an articulate attorney at law, well respected and polished politician. Claiming that victory was not easy but he did. Former Attorney General Lawrence Joseph and Ann Peters also got their blows from this newcomer in politics, and so 1995 was when it all began.
Although he won his seat on a Grenada United Labour Party ticket, since only two seats were secured by that party, Clarence Rapier being the other winner, a special arrangement was made between Dr. Keith Mitchell, leader of the winning New National Party and the late Sir Eric Matthew Gairy, leader of the GULP for the accommodation of the two GULP winners to join the NNP administration, while arrangements were made to pay to Sir Eric, money that the court had awarded him plus a car and other benefits. The former National Democratic Congress administration had refused to pay Gairy monies that the court ordered saying ‘not over their dead bodies, Gairy was not getting ‘one black cent’.
It was not too long after that Gairy died and the GULP experienced some splitting up and so Michael Baptiste decided to stay with the NNP, which saw him contesting the 1999 elections, this time as a full fledged NNP candidate, representing the people of St. Andrew’s South West and holding the position of Minister of Agriculture. Again he defeated his opponents without much struggle. Neither former magistrate Jerry Seales nor pharmacist and former Hospital Administrator Osbert Charles stood a chance. Again Michael Baptiste swept the constituency seat clean. Everything was going well until Baptiste was deemed an opposition element when in parliament he questioned the sudden freeing of Phyllis Coard to go to England for medical treatment. According to Baptiste, as a minister of government, he had to question such action by the government he was part of when he heard the news on the radio. The Prime Minister who told him that he was the only one who was acting like an opposition and therefore he, (the prime minister) was going to advise the Governor General to revoke his appointment as a minister of government. This he did, and as the old people say ‘everything turned old mas’ as according to Baptiste as he sat in his business place called Fun City in Soubise in St. Andrew, Dr. Mitchell unleashed every form of attack on him including having the police arrest him and slap him with seven criminal charges including fraudulent betrayal of trust among others as it relates to monies that were supposed to be collected by Baptiste from the Japanese Government, but was never turned over to the Government of Grenada. According to Baptiste, this was done to tarnish his character since the 2003 General Elections were just around the corner and no doubt by now Michael Baptiste had by then become a force to be reckoned with in Grenada and it was clear that St. Andrew’s South West was a sure Michael Baptiste seat. Keith Mitchell could not have afforded to have this, according to Baptist, and so to ensure that he was out of the political race, humiliation and character assassination were the tools that were used to bring him down.
The 2003 Elections came and went and for the first time Michael Baptiste lost, but he is now back. Character assassination cannot work this time according to Baptiste, who said that the charges against him were dropped after a long battle in court and documents that the police found in the possession of former Attorney General, Jamaican Hugh Wildman, suggested that the charges against him were maliciously created, and so Director of Public Prosecution Christopher Nelson asked the judge to drop all charges.
Michael Baptiste denied collecting any money from the Japanese Government and had asked the then Accountant General to present any correspondence from the government to show any evidence of that transaction. However, since there was no transaction, no document could have been presented. However, Michael Baptiste admitted that the only money that was given to him during his time as a minister of government since he was also the commissioner for whaling in Grenada, was EC 38,000.00, which was given from company in the United States to host two meetings relating to whaling, which involved buying whale meat, for the occasion and bringing down a number of Japanese for the meetings.
This money was well accounted for and had nothing to do with Government, Baptiste insisted.
According to Baptiste, Grenada needs to be rescued from the hands of Keith Mitchell and the NDC has proven to be a failure. The only political party that could rescue this nation is the GULP, he said, which he is planning to raise up from it’s long sleep.
Soon the nation will be hearing more of his plans and objectives. However, in the meantime, Mr. Michael Baptiste is ready to deal with the following issues: Workers’ rights and the poor state of the Imani workers that are working without having a job; the health insurance redundancy and the need for better health care instead of the so-called Health Insurance for which the Consolidated Fund has already made provisions and to revive the signed agreement with SGU to train Grenadian doctors here at home. The collapse of the economy is at the top of his list; addressing the livestock and fishing industries. The National Insurance Scheme, which came from the original Provident Fund and many more issues will be addressed very soon, “so dont’give up hope”, according to Michael Baptiste”, “I AM BACK”!!!.