St.George’s Grenada 10th Jan 2009 – The Tillman Thomas administration has decided not to renew the contract of Dr. Patrick Antoine, Strategic Trade Advisor, who was contracted by the former NNP administration.
The ‘economic expert’ had been in this position for some time and had done tremendous input into the economic and fiscal direction of Grenada during the Keith Mitchell led NNP administration.
Dr. Antoine’s contract expired in December 2008 and Cabinet did not renew it. Honourable Peter David, Minister of Tourism and Foreign Affairs, was criticized for continuing to keep the former government official on payroll.
Some supporter of the ruling government were critical of Dr. Antoine, especially his input in the negotiations between Formula One Grand Prix champion driver, Lewis Hamilton and Trinidad business tycoon, Issa Nicholas on the proposed sale of the Grand Beach Resort on Grand Anse beach.
The former Economic and Strategic Trade Advisor was part of the Hamilton Group that engaged in negotiations against the Mitchell government to sell the State lands to the driver on which the hotel is located. Antoine was heavily criticised for negotiating against the same government that was paying him a salary.
Dr.Antoine has work for many Caribbean governments to conduct studies in the area of trade and is well respected in the international economic world.
He has been a regular figure of controversy in Grenada.
In 2006, the Jamaican educated Dr Antoine, was engaged in a controversy with Mr. Kim Neckles, an employee of Aviation Services of Grenada (ASG), Point Saline St.George. The former Ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Patrick Antoine, was accused of striking Mr. Neckles. Mr. Neckles retained the law firm Ciboney Chambers on H.A. Blaize Street.(St.George’s-Grenada) to institute civil proceedings against Dr. Antoine for the altercation.
The issue then was over luggage. The then ambassador became annoyed that his luggage did not arrive at the airport on the plane that brought him into the country. “He (Antoine) believed that his luggage was on the plane that had just left the airport and wanted the plane to come back and for it to be searched for his missing baggage”, he added. “He was asking the guy (Neckles) to bring back the plane and the guy was saying to him that it cannot be done just like that”, he said. Dr. Antoine became angry with him for not recalling the aircraft and then struck him.
Also, the controversial ambassador ran into problems a few years ago in Barbados when he was an employee with a regional institution. Dr. Antoine was charged for allegedly trying to leave the country with more than the stipulated foreign currency.