“Marijuana scientist”, chef Frederick Nesbitt III at the marijuana testing event in Kingstown on Thursday. It later emerged that Nesbitt is a chef and deejay. (iWN photo)

By Kenton X. Chance

Social media has been abuzz since Friday with questions about the credentials of the “scientist” who conducted the historic testing, one day earlier, of samples of marijuana grown in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The testing session in Kingstown was overseen by Minister of Agriculture Saboto Caesar, and was attended by acting Commissioner of Police Colin Williams, Executive Director of Invest SVG, Annette Mark, Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves, the media, healthcare professionals and marijuana decriminalisation activists.

It came as St. Vincent and the Grenadines pushes ahead with its medical marijuana industry amidst calls for the decriminalisation of small quantities of the plant for recreational use, a step that the Unity Labour Party administration has said it is not prepared to take at this time.

The tests were conducted by U.S. citizen Frederick Nesbitt III, who tested some 10 samples and declared one to be of a higher grade that what is produced in Jamaica.

At the event, director of the Bureau of Standards, Ezra Ledger, introduced Nesbitt as   “a very esteemed scientist”, who is a graduate of the Santiago State University.

Ledger said that Nesbitt is certified in cannabis science and medicine by the University of Vermont Department of Pharmacology.

He said that Nesbitt was accepted into the university’s post PhD medical programme “because of his 27 years of experience in medical cannabis”.

Nesbitt also been involved in the treatment of HIV, cancer and physical ailments by cannabis use, Ledger said.

He said that Nesbitt has a culinary arts degree from California Culinary Arts Academy and incorporates his knowledge of the properties of cannabis into his cooking for high profile athletes and actors.

In response, Nesbitt said, “I just want to say thank you very much, sir. I appreciate it, prime minister. Thank you very much all of you.”

However, the nation’s prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves was not at the event.

Nesbitt further said: “The opportunity to be able to start an industry with medical marijuana outside of California where I live or the United States where I work in is a tremendous breakthrough and for this community also to have me here. I appreciate being here. Thank you.”

However, Nesbitt’s Facebook and Linkedin profiles describe him as a chef and DJ and list no qualifications in the sciences.

From left: Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar, and Executive Director of Invest SVG, Annette Mark, share a light moment ahead of the commencement of Thursday’s marijuana testing. (iWN photo)

But on Friday, persons began questioning Nesbitt’s credentials after internet searches suggest that he does not have a background in science but is, in fact, a DJ and a chef that incorporates cannabis into his dishes.

Asked on Saturday about Nesbitt’s credentials, Caesar told iWitness News they were as cited by Ledger, as given to him by the investor that brought Nesbitt to SVG

“And that is what I am advised by,” the agriculture minister said.

He told iWitness News that all potential investors in medicinal marijuana in SVG are given a chance to test samples of the plant, after they obtain the requisite government permits.

“A particular investor, which I mentioned was in the room, brought the person that does their testing for them… Another company is coming in, they are brining a researcher from UWI (University of the West Indies) Trinidad and Tobago to test the local strands as well, because investor X will not depend on investor Y’s findings.

“If Kenton Chance wants to invest $20 million in marijuana locally, he’s not going to go on the findings of Saboto Caesar,” the minister said.

He noted that it was not the Unity Labour Party administration that brought Nesbitt to SVG.

“I want to dispel things like, I hear people saying he was paid to come here by the government. No, no, no, no…

“… The particular investor, at their total cost, at zero cost to the government, brought other persons, who proved to them that he has the requisite certificates and experience. That’s a private arrangement between them and Fred. He came, they did the testing and they invited the government. Of course, it was the first investor to do a test in pursuant to us developing a modern medicinal cannabis industry.”

Marijuana samples and other implements at Thursday’s event. (iWN photo)

The minister said there are five other persons, including one local, who has already shown interest in testing Vincentian marijuana.

“And a similar thing will take place when all the other persons come. So last (Friday) night when I saw the thing on social media, I chose not to respond and I really want to tell you thanks for calling and not just joining the bandwagon.

“And I won’t disrespect and say it’s a bandwagon because any information that goes into the public domain, it is the right of anybody to critique it. But I just want to make it clear that it is a private arrangement between the persons doing the testing and a private sector investor who came into the island.”

At the testing, Ledger said that Nesbitt was using the thin layer chromatography method to test the marijuana.

“It’s a portable equipment that is useful, but many times these analyses are done in high-tech labs using a GC or HPLC machine in a controlled environment.

“So, naturally, what we have is an indication and a baseline figure, we will validate these results once our industry has established itself,” Ledger said.

The minister told iWitness News that the other persons who are lined up to do the testing would probably use similar or different modalities.

“And I want to dispense with the notion that the government had anything to do in terms of spending money to bring anybody in to test. In fact, we have stated from the beginning that professor O’Garro from the University of the West Indies who is a Vincentian, we have already spoken to him for him to do work.”

He said that the government would have to get it to the stage where they can do some work between SVG and the UWI as it pertains to tying down the arrangement.

“But we are not at that stage yet. But what we want to do, full transparency and accountability, anyone who comes into the country to do anything, it is done in full openness. And that is why Akers, the company that came, invited us and we invited the media. You notice everything was available for full viewing of everybody.”

Regarding Nesbitt’s credentials the minister told iWitness News:

“The question is though: why would a private company willing to invest in a country and they are trying to verify the substance they are willing to invest in, bring somebody who is not reputable in their estimation. That is the question.”

24 replies on “‘Scientist’ at SVG’s historic marijuana testing is a chef”

  1. Another example of con artists coming here to rip us off. Another reason to ask if we are a Donald Trump-style s**thole country.

  2. Once again we are humiliated in Saint Vincent the Caribbean and the rest of the world.

    Just like the Dave Ames saga that was one very stupid blunder on the part of PM Gonsalves. Now we have another very stupid blunder by an assortment of ministers including baby doc of the dynasty.

    It’s quite obvious that proper due diligence was not carried out on this so called scientist. I doubt that due diligence has been carried out on the so called investor who brought this man to SVG either.

    The Gonsalves dynasty is dragging the people and the state from one crisis to another.

    Such a shame that Saboto Caesar is mixed up in this nonsense, his mum and dad must be getting more horrified by the minute, such nice people. I remember well my mother telling me to be careful who I mixed with, shame Saboto has never been instructed in the same beliefs.

    Cookies anyone?

    1. Enough is enough says:

      St.Vincent under this leadership is like low hanging fruits – there for the pickings by any thief, especially those with the right connections. That is why this new nonsense (from Gonslaves et al.) should be of no surprise to any thinking person. It is however very unfortunate that this man who appears to be a fraud could damage the reputation of this new “budding” industry and not face any consequence (as you can see from Minister’s response to the issue) . My head/heart hurts for our beautiful Hairoun(a) the land of the blessed!

  3. Another crock in town. But let the know ganga men nah play. Ganga farmers have suffered too long by the hands of police and the legal system on a whole to allow institutionalize corruption to ripoff the hard working farmers. For too long these white folks been coming to SVG and ripoff poor Vincentians and gone, aidedb by politicians.

  4. Would not be joining naysayers and chat rubbish, remember all the negative comments regarding AIA construction? Those that said the most were in the wrong. Have full confidence in the government just as I’d endorsed AIA. One Hundred percent supportive of any project that would have positive impact on the country. Not only job creation and foreign exchange, it would also boost our tourism product and enhanced our image abroad. Thank God for our volcanic soil, it’s been rated as the best in the world. Thumps up Vincy, lets do it.

    1. Vincy in New York says:

      Right or wrong, ppl have the right to question the tester.

      It is not about politics, the airport or volcanic soil.

      R u singing for bread crumbs?

    2. Well Observer once again you show that are part of the S***Hole brigade. You have written rubbish ever since your very first post.

      No one is knocking the ganja project of legalizing it for medical use.

      What this is about is the government presenting a man as an expert advisor and a scientist, who is a fraud and is in fact a chef.

      Before you make your silly comments do you not do your own research? Or do you simply blindly support anything and everything that comes from government, Unity Labour Party, and ultimately the dynasty. Are you really that ignorant and stupid; are you really a left over remnant of slavery?

    3. Yes Observer but too bad that the airport cost us far more to keep operational than it brings into the economy. That is what is known as a liability. Our mixed-up Prime Minister calls that an asset. At least the political elite are happy especially when they bring in rich friends that they want to invest in the country; they see a nice new impressive airport, (unfortunately we cannot afford it until the government wakes-up and starts to create real employment for the people so that maybe we will be able to afford the airport.. It is also too bad that the government concentrates more on tourism than on agriculture. They do far less for agriculture in Saint Vincent than countries that are less gifted with good soils and climate.

  5. Well, well, well. Why are they treating we Vincentians so? Do they believed we are that stupid and naive? My God, the longer these people stay in office the more shame and scorned they bring upon our nation. Could politics bring this idiot minister who professes to be a Christian to such a low level. Who is the alleged investor? Is it […]the dude that used to allegedly shipped marijuana in FedEx boxes to New York? SMDH!

  6. David as retired professor or a Canadian University and as a writer of a very well published book which was implemented in the syllabus for our students to reference to, you wrote sixty nine essays thus far on tourism in St.Vincent.

    Do you put on you resume that you are an expert in tourism?

    Abujah from your ranting about ganja farmer I assume that you ply that trade as well.

    Do you put on your resume that you are an expert in farming ganja?

  7. Machel Emanuel says:

    Thin Layer Chromatography is known to have a margin of error of at least 3%. There in field of analytical chemistry thin Layer chromatography is regarded as qualitative data and not quantitative.

    Machel Emanuel PhD (uwimona)

  8. This is serious business.one don’t have to be an expert to recognize scam
    Common sense is good qualification.
    Oh by the way. Damian Marley owns two marijuana dispensaries in California. Maybe the government of SVG can ask him for some advice.He is one of our own.

  9. Another example of incompetence! When are we going benefit from informed decision making,hence sound governance? This is unacceptable people! Find a “third way,” as. neither “throw back” party seems capable of leading the island in the 21st century.Riijord

  10. “Nesbitt’s Facebook and Linkedin profiles describe him as a chef and DJ and list no qualifications in the sciences.”
    THE SVG GOVERNMENT SHOULD HIRE A FEW “INTERNET CRAZIES” TO WORK IN THE TRACING DEPARTMENT!

  11. STOP PRESS!!! The marijuana that was tested was it legally grown? If not where did it come from? Is there more of it? Who will be arrested for growing it? Is there a law that makes it legal to have that stash of marijuana on the table? Will anyone be arrested for marijuana possession again?

  12. What a conundrum. It is despicable, not for this con artist but for the board in SVG that credentialed him. He made them all look like fools. On the other had when one of your own “son of the soil” presents legitimate credentials that is never sufficient for the SVG medical board! That is why I am finding this situation so hilarious.

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