- Posted December 5, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
- ST.KITTS-NEVIS SPECIAL REPORT: PROTESTS IN ST.KITTS-NEVIS
- St.Vincent and the Grenadines Opposition Leader Eustace accuses CARICOM of ‘hypocrisy’ in it’s response to Political Unrest in St.Kitts-Nevis and Venezuela
- More Opposition protests in St Kitts-Nevis
- GOV'T SENDS SECURITY FORCES TO DISPERSE PROTESTERS AT EASTERN CARIBBEAN CURRENCY UNION MEETING IN ST.KITTS
- Bermudan MP cites Concern about Citizenship and Investment Programme of St.Kitts and Nevis as Canada axes commercial immigration.
Cash, Oil and Passports
Dr. Arthur Porter is in a Panama jail.
He’s fighting extradition to face criminal charges in Montreal, Canada, in relation to the Mc Gill University Health Centre, a Canadian $1.3 billion super-hospital project which he had headed up.
Warnings about his character began surfacing a number of years ago in relation to his prior mismanagement of the Detroit Medical Centre, a US$1billion super-hospital project, which, under his leadership, had lost nearly US$250 million between 1999 and 2003. But the warnings weren’t heeded.
Porter knew how to get key decision makers on his side. And he liked big deals.His cut in the Montreal scam was said to be $22.5 million.
However, as time passed, more and more people, including the police, began to smell a rat. And by the Summer of 2011, with revelations that he’d been involved in a $200 million deal with an arms dealer, Ari Ben-Menashe, and in other shenanigans, Canadian law enforcement began closing in on him.
Amid all of this, Porter was in St. Kitts & Nevis, where, I’m told, he : (i) bought property on both islands; (ii) successfully applied for SKN citizenship for himself and his wife, Pamela; (iii) took out SKN passports; (iv) registered to vote in St. John’s Parish on Nevis (he may even have voted in the January, 2013, Nevis Island Elections), although economic citizens do not have the right to vote; and (v) contributed generously to a political cause on Nevis and another on St. Kitts.
On August 4th, 2011, he and Denzil Douglas announced that a new cancer referral centre was to be opened in our Federation. Incredibly, despite all that was going on in Canada with Porter, despite all of the negative information on him, he was now well ensconced in our Federation, and on his way to becoming more than just a citizen.
A few months later, he resigned from his posts in Canada, where the heat had become too much for him, and scooted off to the Bahamas. In February, 2013, police issued a warrant to arrest him and his wife, and in May, 2013, they were arrested in Panama where he remains in jail, while she was allowed to return to Canada and put under house arrest.
Well, if there’d been enough to tell Douglas in August, 2011, that Porter was bad news, there was even more evidence a year later. Yet, on August 16th, 2012, Douglas on that day moved to appoint him as Honorary Consul for St. Kitts & Nevis to the Bahamas to promote “especially the Health Tourism Sector”, claiming that Porter was “well positioned to provide consular services on behalf of the Federation.” And I’m told that Porter got a diplomatic passport.
How on earth could Porter have passed the due diligence test, and gotten a passport, and, worse yet a diplomatic passport? Are there two paths to citizenship and diplomatic status in our country: one to pass the due diligence test, and the other to bypass it? How could a man like Arthur Porter, with all of the low down on him, be “well positioned to serve the people of St. Kitts & Nevis”?
I don’t know if any of his ill-gotten gains were to be invested in the cancer centre, or were actually used to pay for any property, goods or services in St. Kitts & Nevis, or to any make any political or other contributions here. But I do know that the Canadians aren’t going to take kindly to their citizens getting ripped off. They’ll follow the money all the way to the end, and it’ll be interesting to see where and who the investigation reaches.
That’s Arthur Porter. But I have one for you that would probably make his and Moghadam’s stories sound like child’s play.
42-year old Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, nicknamed Teodorin, is the son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s smallest countries, with a land mass of about 16,000 square miles (less than half the size of Cuba), and a population of 750,000 people. He’s also Vice President of that country, and in is charge of its security and defence.
In the 1990’s, oil was discovered there, and foreign blood suckers and the Obiang family made big money, fast. But while, because of its newly discovered oil wealth, it has Africa’s highest per capita income, the sad truth is that there’s terrible poverty, half of its people don’t have running water, and nearly 20% of its children die by the age of 5 years. Robbed of their wealth, robbed of their patrimony, and sent to early graves.
Teodorin’s Daddy says that his people suffer from “psychological poverty”, and that it’s in their minds to live the way they live, not taking the opportunities which he presents to them. In other words, it’s their fault, not his. Sounds familiar?
Daddy has been in power since 1979, after ousting his own uncle, who was subsequently executed. Teodorin’s brother is Minister of Energy and Mining, and his uncle served as Minister of Defence. Meanwhile, with oil money flowing, Daddy has already built five presidential palaces, and initiated a massive road project, engaging the services of companies owned by …yes, you guessed it, Teodorin. Daddy has also decided that poor people’s homes need to be covered by galvanize roofing. So, to provide the roofing, Daddy engaged the services of another of Teodorin’s companies. And Daddy has taken nearly half a billion US dollars from oil revenues for the construction of a university and a massive luxury hotel complex, with significant contracts on both projects going to companies owned by, who else, Teodorin. Sounds familiar?
Daddy gave Teodorin 88,000 acres of the people’s land for himself (that’s more than twice the size of St. Kitts, and almost the size of Barbados) to set up a logging business, declaring that there’s nothing wrong with being a minister and running a business, and there’s nothing wrong with the family holding down most of the key government jobs and getting massive concessions. “After all, he says, “aren’t we Equatorial Guineans too?” And “ because we’re all very successful in business, we invest well, and we live a good lifestyle, people are jealous of us and want to discredit and destroy us, and destabilize our country”. Sounds familiar?
Teodorin owns two houses in South Africa, worth about US$20 million, a US$30 million home in Malibu, California, a US$40 million Gulfstream Jet, a mansion in an exclusive part of Paris together with fine art and cars valued at over 300 million Euros., etc, etc.
In 2011, the United States Government filed a corruption charge against him, seized US$70 million of his assets, and estimated that between 2004 and 2011, he had spent US$315 million on properties and luxury goods in the US alone. Pretty amazing for a Government Minister earning less than US$9,000 a month. But, oh yes, he’s a successful and inventive businessman.
In July, 2012, the French police filed a warrant for his arrest, and one month later they seized his mansion in Paris, as well as his cars.
When the oil companies give him, and others like him, the kickbacks, the added cost is passed on to the consumers. Nothing affects the cost of living more than the cost of oil and energy. And when you add the cost of corruption and inefficiency, you recognize the cynical, inhumane arithmetic of enforced poverty.
Lord knows, I hope that I’m wrong on this, but it I’m told that he found himself in a US$5 million deal for some land in St. Kitts in exchange for five diplomatic passports.
How could this be? Even the slightest amount of due diligence would’ve revealed that Teodorin is not a person who should get a St. Kitts & Nevis passport, far less a diplomatic passport.
I hear that even before the land deal was consummated, he got the passports. How could that happen, if indeed it did? If he got the passports, who did he get them from? Did he pay? If so, how much and to whom?
But I’m told that when word got out that the French were after him, a mad scramble took place to recover the passports, and that the passports were, in fact, recovered. However, it appears that he and Daddy are very upset.
If Teodorin did spend money here, did he or any surrogate of his contribute to any political or other cause, as, it’s reported, did the President of the Nigerian state who visited us at Independence and who, I hear, also carries a SKN diplomatic passport?
If all of this is true, then the Americans and the French will probably want to follow the money, like the Canadians will do in the Arthur Porter case, and if they do, then the investigative trail will reach St. Kitts & Nevis, and some people are going to have problems. And more embarrassment for our nation and people.
This diplomatic passport story is a like a throbbing, pus-filled hard boil, ready to explode.
The Motevassels, the Moghadams, the big boys at Henley & Partners, and now the big boys of the boyfriend-and-girlfriend company that has replaced Henley & Partners, the Frigate Bay and Southeast Peninsula boys, the Arthur Porters, the Teodorins, and a number of other characters walk in and get what they want. I hear that even some of Ghaddafi’s people got passports.
They come with their cash and their oil cash, they get our passports, our diplomatic passports, honorary consular appointments, and the works, and our nation and people lose out, and wait to be embarrassed.