Our Readers' Opinions
August 21, 2012
Bequia community assets still under attack

Tue, Aug 21, 2012

Editor: Two quite incredible articles appeared in the Searchlight of Friday, August 10, 2012 – headlines – “Bequia Rotary not using property as agreed – Trustee.”{{more}}

The 70-year-old Canadian (former accountant of 20 years to Son Mitchell at the Frangipani Hotel) – one of the remaining trustees of the defunct Lower Bay School (closed in 1986) – now says it’s the dollar per year fee that is causing the Trustees to cancel the Rotary Club contract. However, Louise Mitchell, attorney for the Trustees and Paradise Primary School, said the Rotary did not pay the dollar per annum fee and thus did not protect their asset. She states – we now have a non-cancellable (for any reason) contract for 99 years for the Bequia Paradise Primary School. This simply means that if the Bequia Rotary Club property is not used for the community, and is used to benefit the few, or used corruptly – the Trustees cannot cancel it. This fact alone shows the abandonment (legally) by the Trustees of their duty to ensure that the property is to be used for the community.

Berton King, the only other trustee, is a man of integrity and community oriented. We do not believe he was aware of the technicalities of this attempted land seizure and new contract to Bequia Paradise Primary School. Berton King was badly misled.

Marie Kingston dares to say that the Rotary uses community property for “their self interest.” This is such hypocrisy propagated by people who are grabbling community land.

Marie Kingston now says the reason for giving Rotary notice to leave the property was not the EC$13 unpaid lease fee, but it was “to keep it simple.” Yes, we agree it was “simply a lie.”

Another lie follows – they state “We are looking at how it’s being used for the community.” All the while these same individuals are trying to seize land for the benefit of a private school “owned” by Sabrina Mitchell.

The next lie, from Marie Kingston: she states that the Rotary headed by Clayton Ollivierre, was not using the property “for what the agreement was.” The Bequia Rotary, Club rotates the position of Presidency (it happens to be Clayton’s turn). He is not the permanent head of the Rotary.

In Marie Kingston’s confused and misleading language “for what the agreement was” simply means the property must be used for the entire community, not for a private school for the benefit of one owner who generates over EC$300,000 per year (in private tuition fees) for approximately 50 privileged children. The agreement said for community, not a private school.

The Lower Bay School failed in 1986 – where was Marie Kingston then?

This appropriation of community assets is not a new issue. Kingston further says that “of all things” alcohol is served at fundraisers and weddings at Rotary events. She should be reminded that Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Marie Kingston the trustee would forbid it. She has been away for over a decade and now suddenly has details and concerns over what the Rotary has been doing.

This is, of course, because poor Sabrina Mitchell has lost her lease for Bequia Paradise Primary School and cannot generate EC$300,000 in income any more. The clock is ticking, because no provision has been made for the students of Bequia Paradise Primary School, because everyone had been convinced that Sabrina had successfully evicted the Rotary Club from their property.

Marie Kingston and Sabrina Mitchell’s facetious concerns for the students and community were reflected in the next headline in Searchlight: “Paradise Primary students ignored amid drama over lease – PTA”

On Wednesday, 8th August 2012, parents of Bequia Paradise Primary School were asked to attend a meeting at the Rotary Club property and to bring their children, even though the school is currently closed.

A police vehicle was present when they arrived and a group of people was led to break the door and locks off the Bequia Rotary Club building. They proceeded to shove Rotary property to the back of the building and placed two truckloads of their Bequia Paradise Primary School furniture inside.

They then put on new locks, effectively locking out Rotary members from their property. The children and parents of Bequia Paradise Primary School were tricked into becoming part of a “popular” mob scene, with police present, which could have been dangerous for the children aged five to 11 years. It was a terrible example of adult behaviour for the young children of Bequia Paradise Primary School by their administrators and educators. They witnessed people screaming and cursing over the break-in and a volatile exchange of rude remarks.

The karate school, which has occupied a small building on the Rotary premises for seven years, and which both Sabrina Mitchell and Marie Kingston said would be allowed to operate undisturbed, suddenly found the lock for the door of their school broken off and changed. The karate teacher and students found themselves suddenly, unexpectedly and without notice locked out of their premises by Bequia Paradise Primary when they arrived for their classes that day.

Do the parents of the children at Bequia Paradise Primary School wonder at what is being taught to their children by these examples of violent behaviour, destruction of property and rudeness to others? They surely must by now realize that they are all being used in a grasp for land and power. Ethics and human values are damned.

The Rotary Club administration and members removed the newly installed locks and the stored Paradise Primary School property – two truckloads.

It was placed outside the premises. They replaced the new locks with their own locks and repaired the damaged doors. The principal of Bequia Paradise Primary School was asked to collect their property from the front of the building. It was eventually collected by a truck and taken away to be stored back at the Gingerbread Hotel premises.

The karate school was given permission by Rotary to remove the new locks and continue with their classes.

If the Bequia Paradise Primary School cares about education and has legally been awarded the Rotary property, why are they breaking in with parents and under age children as back-up?

Concerned citizens of Bequia