Presently on Montserrat, Minister of Government Hon Dr Samuel Joseph is embroiled in a battle for his political life as allegations of corruption and collusion from his Ministry in the awarding of contracts to entities that he is, or has allegedly recently acted as business mentor/advisor towards, hounds him.
On the allegations of corruption and collusion from the Minister, MNI Media will return to in a separate piece, but today the purpose of this feature is to set the record straight with facts against the bedrock of lies and dishonesty that Hon Joseph seems to enjoy building his political career on.
But what is interesting to note, is that on the current awarding of contracts to his alleged business associates and friends, Hon Joseph and his associates once had a plate filled with misrepresentations of things to say whilst he was in Opposition, and seeking to cast aspersions upon National ICT Grant Awards that took place during 2015/16.
See below examples of both him and his Premier's views, as they worked hard to mislead the public. If these were the things they stated then, what now has changed in their staunch views, one wonders:
In recent days, Hon Joseph has sought to deflect from his current troubles by seeking once again to revert to an age old obsession he has with these ICT Contracts that took place under the Leadership of former Minister of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) Hon Paul Lewis.
Hon Joseph, as the current MCWEL Minister, whilst defending himself during the recent sitting of the Montserrat Legislative Assembly, has used the protection of Parliamentary Privilege to blatantly mislead, and outright lie over the ICT projects conducted during 2015/16. Listen below to his recent uttering in the Legislative Assembly spreading falsehoods:
This is not a new tactic by the Minister. Due to his apparent lack of ingenuity and substance, he has built his political platform on this false premise that of the 14 ICT Projects independently awarded in 2015/16, he has singled the project conducted by MNI Media, claiming it was not delivered and the said media house received free monies. According to the Hon Minister Joseph, these funds were taken and no work was conducted.
As the one in charge of MNI Media, I am not here to have a fight with the Minister, but I will expose his outright lies and his clear stranger to the truth complex.
No wonder Mr Minister, that as you are caught up in the allegations of corruption and collusion with your friends whom you've allegedly awarded very lucrative contracts to, the public is hard-pressed to believe anything you say. I will outline to the public today why they should take anything you say with not even a pinch of salt.
Firstly, Hon Joseph continues to repeat that MNI Media received an ICT award but has delivered no work. A blatant lie.
Two programmes were instituted under the ICT Award granted to MNI Media; a Youth Cadet Training programme that trained several youths in new media skills and practices, and also a Support Montserrat website. Each week, on the completion of New Media training classes, assignments were given by MNI Media to the cadets and a report was submitted to MCWEL Accounting Officers at various stages of the training. The report was signed off by Accounting officers and NOT the then Minister of MCWEL. In addition, from the award that MNI Media received, the Cadets were paid a stipend from that very same grant via the Ministry for attending training. Some members of the cadet training group have already contacted MNI Media stating they will testify that this training took place and they received it.
Now, on to the Support Montserrat website. This was another component of the Project.
Firstly, Hon Joseph has lied to the Assembly and to the people of Montserrat stating that the website was being built for EC$69,000. That is a downright lie. I will call it what it is and not sugar-coat - a lie. The totality of the ICT Grant Award to MNI Media did not state that a website was being built for EC$69,000.
Hon Joseph stated in The Assembly that the project was never delivered and the monies from the grant were had freely. Again, that is an outright childish and despicable lie from the Minister.
The Project was delivered and signed off on by the then Accounting Officers of MCWEL and the Permanent Secretary. See below examples of communication between MNI Media and the then accounting Officer, the amazingly wonderful and ever helpful Mrs Kirnon, on the delivery of the said project:
The project underwent some issues being offline due to whatever issues were being had at the Ministry:
However, the website was rebuilt again for FREE by MNI Media, and presented. We have a paper trail of communication with MCWEL Officials on this.
For Hon Joseph to seek to cast aspersions upon ONLY one of 14 ICT projects, to deflect from his corruption charges, it shows the desperation of the man. It shows a Government Minister who does not wish for any member of the public or media to question him. An intellectual snob bathed in hubris. It shows a Government and a Minister steeped in victimization towards any semblance of opposition, or towards anyone who may dare to disagree with their terrible stewardship over Montserrat in bringing hardship on the people.
How ironic it was to hear the Minister speaking of people being against the progress of other youth, when this is not even the issue at play. The issue is whether you are corrupt Mr Minister! In addition, it was you whilst in Opposition and even now, who still seeks to do the very same thing you are heard speaking about in the clip below. What you stated in this clip below is beyond laughable coming from you.
Hon Joseph, if you are allegedly corrupt and are colluding with private entities to prop up your political ambitions, then own up and be a man about it! Accept your fate and the dice you yourself have cast.
Do not seek to lie and deflect your troubles upon the legacy of Hon Paul Lewis, and the name and reputation of MNI Media. Be a man and handle your affairs like a real man should.