The state-owned building in Kingstown, where Cobblestone Inn is located. (IWN photo)

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

Ann Joshua is the sister of Ken and Keith Boyea, cousins to Ralph Gonsalves, our self-proclaimed, beloved, all-loving, dutiful, and kind Prime Minister. Like her brothers, she is a hard working entrepreneur and runs the Cobblestone Inn on Bay Street, Kingstown. In fact, she has run it for the last 30 years.

Her rent is up to date, which is surprising because I doubt many could afford to pay $24,000 a month. She has not been previously warned of any pending action regarding the termination of her tenancy. In fact, she is a reliable model tenant which any landlord would be more than pleased.

So what did she do wrong? Perhaps she did what Bigs (Leon Samuel) did. She fraternised with those who the government sees as the much-hated enemy, supporters of the New Democratic Party (NDP). But, like Bigs, who she associates with is her business and that should not attract political spite and malice.

Questions are rightly being asked at home and in the diaspora regarding why the Gonsalves-led ULP Government is evicting the 30-year tenant operator of Cobblestone Inn in Kingstown, giving her just two months and giving no valid (or non-valid) reason to vacate the premises. It would seem they simply adopted the attitude get out and stay out because we used to love you but not anymore.

In a letter dated July 12, 2016, one of the Gonsalves government legal enforcers Grahame Bollers, lawyer for National Properties Ltd., the state-owned entity responsible for the Cobblestone Inn property, gave no reason why his client/s or whoever had instructed him to take such a drastic and draconian action.

Bollers has done very well out of government work, besides his big house in Queen’s Drive he has just started building his mansion at Kitchen with its own rocky beach and a high wall to keep out intruders.

Cobblestone Inn is a 20-guest room, award-winning, historic boutique hotel. She has not just spent a large part of her life there but plenty of her own money too. She really is undeserving of this new ultra undemocratic bout of political-driven spite and malice.

The hotel, which is located on Bay Street, Kingstown, is a building that dates back to 1814, which, at that time was a warehouse on the dockside waterfront, before that land in front of it was reclaimed from the sea. It was originally built as a sugar warehouse 20 years before slavery was abolished and emancipation took place. An era when as many black people as white people owned and worked slaves in SVG including the Straker family, and was sometime after 1900 used for the islands lucrative arrowroot industry. Arrowroot was a major export of St. Vincent during the period 1900 to 1965.

This kind of spiteful behaviour has been rendered to many Vincentians, including Marcus De Freitas, another cousin of Gonsalves and an NDP supporter, who had his property in Kingstown taken from him by a compulsory purchase order. Then the government undervalued it in an attempt to rob him of the true value of the property. Marcus took it through the courts and that process is on-going.

I for one believe that no Vincentian in any ministry or department would dare treat relatives of the Gonsalves or Francises in such a way without the direct orders or sanction of PM Ralph Gonsalves. He claims it is not him. Who do we believe?

Bigger Bigs who was conceived to be a Unity Labour Party [ULP] diehard supporter that went over to supporting the NDP, that’s when the trouble started for him and trumped up charges were made of excessive oil pollution of the ground where he was quarrying the aggregate called “Rabacca stuff”. They closed him down and awarded a right of way through his land, which never was previously a public right of way, ripping the hinges off his driveway gates. They insisted that he had stolen land that had increased in size because of the slight natural redirection of the river, but the rights Bigs had under the riparian owner laws made them look foolish in making such claims. He had stolen nothing and done nothing wrong except give some support to the NDP. It took him years to get the government to give him back his license. But in that time all his plant and machinery was vandalised and destroyed and is now worthless scrap. Despite the government being in the wrong, they have never put him back financially to where he was and left him owing millions to the bank with the loss of employment for 60 workers. To date, they have done none of the things that they led the public to believe they would do to help him that was all lies to try and quiet the public outcry at home and in the diaspora.

The Kingstown Chamber of Commerce had operated the Kingstown central car park in Bay Street since its inception. They turned a muddy piece of filled waterside land into a car park and asphalted it at great expense. They operated it until they were conceived as anti-ULP after some government criticism, which was actually healthy advice. From then on, the spite and malice machine came into operation. The car park was taken from them and given to a brand new company with a communist sounding name – “Solidarity Inc.” Operated by old comrades at arms of Ralph Gonsalves, Renick Rose, both of whom were previously comrades in the Marxist political party, the MNU. So a company that I would describe as a scientific socialist organization replaced an organisation that one may describe as capitalist orientated. Quite simply an undemocratic political intervention that may also have been unconstitutional.

Then there were the irrigation workers whose job it was to ensure there was piped irrigation to farmers during the annual dry season which often ended up as a drougt — an important job to keep agriculture production going. For several months, they were kept at the works yard and not taken to the fields and hill farms. They were not paid for three months and when they asked for their money, they were all laid off. Now the whole irrigation systems have been destroyed through no maintenance and the farmers no longer have water in the dry season. This action furthered the destruction of the agricultural sector, which may seem to some to be a carefully planned scheme to destroy agriculture and replace it with tourism. Unfortunately, under the Gonsalves ULP government, both agriculture and tourism have been destroyed.

Then there was the Port Police who were again owed money and when they demanded it after a prolonged period of asking nicely, sooner than pay them what they were owed they were all laid off and replaced by the regular Police Force. The regular police now act in what some may call a Fascist type of operation at the Grenadines wharf, aggressively searching those going to Bequia and the Grenadines, yet not doing so to anyone arriving or going to any other part of St. Vincent itself. Gonsalves is the minister in charge of the police and what he says must obviously go. So if he said don’t do that they would not do that.

Then there are 60 owners of land at Argyle whose only offence is to be perceived as NDP supporters, they have not been paid for their land nine years after it was taken from them to build the airport on. The majority of all the ULP supporters have been paid. Of course, there are anomalies who are not direct NDP supporters who have not been paid for reasons of spite and malice, like Junior Bacchus and a few others. One lady from Luton who came to collect her money was asked, “Go you vote ULP?” to which she replied, “I do not vote. I live in Luton.” Unfortunately, that was the wrong answer and she went home with much less than she came with.

Now Gonsalves keeps telling us that he had no hand in any of this. But he also tells us he is in control of every square inch of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We know that Gonsalves micro-manages everything, every ministry and every scheme and every project. We also know he is a confirmed and self-confessed liar. He himself told us he may lie about certain things. We know every action and every press release and every Ministerial speech must have his personal permission and approval. So what are we to believe when he tells us none of this is of his doing?

He has lied to us continually about the Argyle airport completion date. He lied to the teachers when he told them they had the best agreement ever and then later told them they could not claim under the agreement because it was unconstitutional and, therefore, unenforceable. Yet he signed that agreement and, as a lawyer, he would never sign anything without knowing its complete content. He is also a constitutional expert, an expert on agreements and contracts, so when he said the agreement was the best ever he told a dastardly lie.

If none of the foregoing was any of his doing, as the prime minister he could have put wrong right at any juncture, he did not and he has not, and it appears he will not. So what does that tell us? What can we deduce from that?

So let’s see how the Cobblestone Inn fiasco fans out. Let’s see if they can wreck the life of Ann Joshua like they nearly but not quite wrecked the life of Marcus De Freitas and Bigger Bigs and so many others.

It is within the power of Ralph Gonsalves to make or break Ann Joshua. Let’s see if the man who is in overall charge of every square inch of SVG does the right thing. The country, region and world are watching. Or is this another one for the stink pot, Ralph?

It’s time for all this spiteful malicious Marxist/Fascist nonsense to stop. I also ask Ralph Gonsalves to stop doing the work of Maurice Bishop because what is happening in SVG happened in Grenada under Bishop — the spiteful and malicious leader of the Marxist revolution there. Bishop, on proven documentary evidence, was little more than a scumbag and to link St. Vincent and the Grenadines in any way to him or such behaviour as he administered is besmirching and damaging to the very image and very being of SVG.

Peter Binose

The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions or editorial position of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

6 replies on “More spite and malice in St. Vincent: The case of Ann Joshua and Cobblestone Inn”

  1. Once again! The Lambs just sit as another business owned by a Black person comes to and end, even with the information of her being in the right. Vincentians sit still!! Otley hall Marina a much bigger fish is leased out for $5000US.. Vincentians that’s only $14,000EC ( red flag) no where in this World a Mariner payment would be that, ladies/gent Otley Hall is a giver away the wealth of your country is given to the dogs, while the local is paying all that money a month for a small guest house… Vincentians should be ashame to continue allowing the PM to make laughing stock of y’all… Keep on being the Lambs of the Caribbean.

  2. A well-reasoned and excellent written expose of the dastardly deeds committed under the ULP. This is not a government “For the PEOPLE” but a government steamrolling the people into submission and poverty.

    But Peter, what is Ann Joshua selling in that small motel to earn in excess of $24,000 per month? How can such a small business sustain annual rent increases of $12,000?

    And how laughable can it be when the PM claim to want to open up this hotel for bids by others? Is a hotel a temporary business that can undergo regular bids and instability? How would such an entity survive in a state of not knowing when its lease would be taken away and its business interrupted? Hotel operations are not walk-in businesses. They work on reservations, especially for the holiday season. Hmm, is there a foreign investor with money to launder waiting in the wings? Could this be a place that would lie vacant in case Maduro and his cronies have to flee Venezuela on short notice? Or could this simply be a place to store contraband goods coming out of South America? The PM’s illogical reasoning adds to the smokescreen rather than clarifying the NPL’s actions. Lies you say … how else can one explain this fiasco?

    I met Ann Joshua once, as a guest at the hotel in December 2011. She had a beautiful bouquet of flowers on display and I congratulated her on it. The room we occupied was old, small, but clean and comfortable. I believed that we paid $65.00 per night, the Vincentian rate rather than the tourist rate.

    At the time I wondered how much money she could be making, not even knowing the outrageous amount of rent. Does the National Properties and the PM use any financial logic in their reasoning? Do they even understand that in order to survive a business must be able to pay its expenses and earn a profit?

    Peter, I am disgusted with this whole laughing stock and band of ignoramuses posing as government and political leaders. Seems like we have banished SHAME from SVG. Isn’t it time that we come to our senses?

    Vinci Vin

  3. What a lovely article Peter. You touched on the points that more people need to realize. Its like they are blinded to all this maliciousness, mismanagement and spite. Ralphie is like a little kid, throwing a tantrum when he meets obstacles to getting his way. He tries to control all. Slowly indoctrinating others into his grandstanding. Even family, is not off limits. Dougie of Nice radio is his cousin. Marcus. Ann. I’m sure if his children were to speak out against him, he would badmind them too. People are stepping stones in his eyes, for him to rise higher and be revered above all it seems. King Ralph. All this political grandstanding is unnecessary. Obama is president of arguably the most powerful nation on earth, yet he doesn’t showboat like Gonsalves. He has the Secret Service, which ARE his personal soldiers, yet he doesn’t order them around to do malicious deeds […] Vincentians need to wake up and stop falling for the sweet words, twists, metaphors and feints of Ralph Gonsalves. I think the Vincentians not fooled by his trickery, need to keep a list off all promises, words and spites made by Ralph. Keep them circulating especially on social media. Try as he might, with the advent of technology, he cannot control social media as he may be able to do with local media. He can’t sue an anonymous poster. Keep these text in the sights of as much people, and soon, even the hardheaded ones will begin to question certain discrepancies. Good work once again Peter.

  4. His wife and children who are grownups now must bare some of the responsibility for his behavior. We must hold them in the same blame as him, because I do not believe for a minute that they are not fully aware of what he is doing to people.

    It is time for writers and commentators to fully involve his wife and children in these writings and comments.

    Don’t forget when spite and malice is shown against workers and business owners, it affects their families. Some go hungry and scrape about to live. The Gonsalves dynasty of SVG will never go hungry again, they will never have to scrape a living. They will never have to diet on bread and mango’s.

  5. C. ben-David says:

    Your chronic charges of communism and Marxism surely apply to the Cobblestone Inn, a facility that should have been sold to the private sector during the Cato regime, if not earlier. But I guess for you, Peter, all Vincie leaders are wacko commies!

    But trying to sell the Cobblestone is, of course, ridiculous if only because no one would buy it.

    You also seem to suggest that this woman was running the Cobblestone as some kind of non-profit, perhaps even a mission house, which is ludicrous.

    The excellent point made by Vincie Vin that the high rent would hardly meet the revenue of the run down hotel and associated upstairs restaurant (whose food has deteriorated of late) suggests the hotel’s main use may that of another love-nest for the high and mighty — a cheap $EC40-50 brothel for an hour or two of fun with a young and hungry sketelle.

    For sure, it has been used this way by many foreign travelling salesmen and other outsiders.

    (Personal disclosure: This old man has never used the hotel in this manner!)

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