Cletus St. Paul, the once powerful bodyguard to slain Grenadian Marxist leader, Maurice Bishop has been removed from the governing board of the state-controlled Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).
According to well-placed sources, St. Paul is among Directors not retained after serving a two-year term following the 2013 general elections won by the New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
His removal ended months of speculation that PM Mitchell was seeking to distance himself from the former Revolutionary figure following a recent incident involving political activist Kem Jones, the host of a local talk show programme.
Within days of the national poll, St. Paul landed the prestigious post of Chief of Security Operations at the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens where the Office of the Prime Minister is located on the Sixth Floor.
He was often seen during the past two years directing the security arrangements at places to be visited on the island by Dr. Mitchell.
Informed sources told THE NEW TODAY that the PM Mitchell/St. Paul relationship seemed to take a nose dive after information surfaced on the internet that the Security Chief had used a set of expletives in making allegations of wrong-doing by the operator of a local FM radio station.
St. Paul had accused George Grant of Chime FM radio station of evading paying duties to Customs on the equipment brought in to set up the station – a charge vehemently denied by the broadcaster.
The expletives from St. Paul resulted in many persons calling for his removal as head of Security at the Gardens.
The source said that the NNP leadership might have acted against St. Paul on his continued membership on the GAA Board to show the party’s displeasure over his behaviour in the Kem Jones matter.
It is not clear whether the Security Chief who has fallen from grace will also be removed from his position on the NNP Executive when the party meets shortly to hold its annual convention.
This newspaper also understands that another board member who was not give another two year term to serve is Richard Mc Phail who is a full member of the NNP party.
Mc Phail, a former banker who left his profession to enter politics with the NNP, is known to have expressed an interest in landing a high-paying job within the Human Resources Department at the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA).
The source identified two new members of the soon to be installed GAA board as a former President of the Grenada Hotel & Tourism Association (GHTA), as well as the manager of a leading insurance company on the island.
Attorney-at-law Dwight Horsford who serves as the country’s Solicitor General is tipped to become the new Chairman of the GAA Board of Directors.
Horsford is replacing Joan Gilbert who is said to have fallen out of favour with PM Mitchell on a number of airport-related issues including a series of clashes with the Trinidad-born female manager of the airport.
Gilbert has often complained that the manager is “doing her own thing” without the full knowledge of the board and accused her of reporting directly to the political directorate at the Botanical Gardens.
The manager has also been accused of engaging the union representing MBIA workers in negotiations for a new industrial contract without the involvement of the board.
THE NEW TODAY was provided with a cell phone number for the manager but did not reach her for comment on the allegations.
The outgoing Chairperson was also at loggerheads with the newly appointed Accountant at the airport, Richard De Allie and often felt that he was tardy in submitting financial reports to the board for consideration at meetings.
This newspaper understands that at one Executive meeting a member of the board rejected outright a financial report submitted by the Accounts Department headed by De Allie.
A source said that the outgoing Board took the decision to hire an extra staff member for the Accounts Department in order to help De Allie.
Speculation is rife that the newlook Horsford-led board will have to decide on De Allie’s future at the airport.
The Accountant landed the job at MBIA after leaving a similar post at the Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA) amidst controversy following allegations that he was over-paying himself and not in-keeping with the agreed salary from the Board of Directors of the lottery.
A cheque was submitted to GNLA to pay back the excess funds and De Allie soon made his exit from this state body to join another one.
De Allie’s family members are known to be extremely strong supporters of the ruling party.