Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jamaicans Involved in Resort Schemes in the 1950's

We are well aware of how spies were used by the British government to ensure America's entry into World War II, as well as to rid the White House administration of leftist Vice President Henry A. Wallace (see J. Conant's The Irregulars for details on that operation). But did the spying operations continue beyond that point and into the 1960's?

We have been told that Sir William Stephenson had sold Hillowton, his residence in Jamaica, in 1951 and relocated to Bermuda. His closest neighbors while he was there would have been the men who developed the resort of Round Hill and later Tryall. We will first determine who those Anglo-Jamaicans were by returning to the 1957 article, which announced the plan to construct the Tryall Club.

The Jamaicans at Tryall

We again post the news clip for ease of reference as more unfamiliar names are brought forth. Simply click on the article to the left to see the full size version. British colonialists comprised the Jamaican delegation of the syndicate of investors. Jamaica had begun as a base for privateers and English capitalists using black slave labor to operate sugar plantations until abolition of the slave trade in 1834. The island, previously a part of the Dominion, became a member of the British Commonwealth in 1962; the old colonial mansions, called Great Houses, remained until the descendants of the families got together and decided to develop possibilities for tourism. 

George Girardet--Mountbatten's Pilot

One leader of the 1957 Tryall syndicate was George Breary Girardet, who, during WWII had been personal pilot to Lord Louis Mountbatten, Supreme Allied Commander in the Far East--although officially Girardet was a squadron leader with the Royal Air Force Bomber Command. Not only was Girardet's boss, Lord Mountbatten, the uncle of England's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh--whose wife was crowned Queen Elizabeth II in 1953--but he had a few eery contacts to several of the British friends of Clay Shaw, the only man brought to trial for the assassination of President John Kennedy. 

Sir Michael Duff
One of those mutual contacts was Sir Michael Duff, reputedly one of Shaw's lovers. Duff, a bisexual, married the eldest daughter of the 6th Marquess of Anglesey in 1949, and the couple
adopted a son, Charles David Duff (b. 1950), who became a theatre historian. A documentary screened on BBC Two Wales in 2005 ("Faenol: Secrets Behind the Wall") featured Charles Duff discussing his childhood, the bisexuality of his adoptive parents, their marriage of convenience, and the details of his parentage.
(See also self-published booklet by Anthony Frewin, Late Breaking News on Clay Shaw's United Kingdom Contacts (1994) for names of royal-linked contacts from Clay Shaw's address book. )

Girardet was born in China and educated partly in England and partly in the United States. His mother, Marigo Lucia Maximo, was born in Virginia USA in 1887 but grew up in the cotton district of Toxteth Park near Liverpool, England. Girardet's real estate development business in Jamaica in 1950 was sponsored by Lord Ronald Graham, who severed the partnership in 1958. It would later be revealed that Graham had some quite mysterious links to the Tate-LaBianca murders which occurred in 1969:
Click to enlarge.
Lord Ronald Graham, Realtor, P.O, Box 16, Ocho Rios, Jamaica was interviewed regarding the lease of a house and hiring of servants for a period from July 12, 1969, to November 1, 1969. The lease was signed by Ravenel Stanland and Charles Tacot. The terms of the lease was a rent of $3,000 payable by a 25 percent deposit with balance on arrival.  A cook, maid and gardener were to be supplied by Mr. Graham's real estate office.
Sometime following the Tate murder, August 8-9, 1969, the dates of the lease were changed. The departure date was changed from November 1, 1969, to August 23 , 1969. The last person to occupy the residence left August 18, 1969. Investigating officers then traveled to Montego Bay, Jamaica where it was learned that Daniel Stanland had leased a car from Avis-rent-a-car.

John Pringle

John, born in 1925, was the son of Kenneth and Carmen DeLisser Pringle. They operated the 100,000 acres of sugar, banana, citrus and cattle lands throughout the Parishes of St. Ann’s, St. Mary’s and Portland, assembled in the early 19th century by Sir John Pringle, and by 1953 John had inherited the land and set up the Round Hill Hotel. He was given the title Custos of Hanover. 

Click to enlarge.
John's mother was a member of the DeLisser family, which included William DeLisser, whose wife -- the former Ida Browne (daughter of a famed member of Prince Philip's polo team, Charlie Browne) -- owned the Tryall Estates since the end of WWI. 
By August 28, 1959 we learn from the Gleaner that Girardet, Pringle, and the Kerr-Jarrett family of St. James Parish with other landowners east of Montego Bay, in St. James and its adjacent parish on Jamaica's north shore in developing Rose Hall:
Estimated cost of the road, planned for a proposed resort area, is £300,000. This announcement followed an informal meeting between Mr. Coombs and Messrs. George Girardet of Rose Hall Limited, and Claude N. Clarke, surveyor, at the Ministry, last Wednesday....The project for development of the Rose Hall area is being financed by local, English, United States and Canadian investors. The directors of the development project include the Hon. F. M. Kerr-Jarrett, Gustos of St. James, Chairman; and Mr. S. Bronfman, President of Seagrams, Mr. John Loeb, Senior Partner of Loeb and Rhodes, Bankers of New York, Sir Gordon Munro, retired London banker, Mr. John Pringle of Round Hill, Mr. Peter-Jarrett of Montego Bay, Lt. Col. William Noble, and Mr. George B. Girardet of Graham Associates Ltd. Mr. Girardet declared that all the finance required is available immediately, according to the release. The development area will make adequate provision for public bathing, fishing and picnicking facilities. Included in the plans are three seaside parks and three road-side parks.
Seagrams in Jamaica from 1928

In 1928 the Bronfman family, who migrated to Canada in 1889 from a nation that was to become one of the Soviet Republics during the Russian Revolution, bought the stock of Joseph E. Seagram, a Canadian distilling company. They used the molasses produced there for the whisky made in Scotland. When the war came, however, it brought sugar rationing. Seagrams then bought outright certain estates in Trelawny parish in 1944 to produce rum under the name, Captain Morgan Rum. By 1948 plans were announced for a new bottling plant on Spanish Town Road:
Alex Goldberg, chairman of the Board of Directors of Captain Morgan Rum Distillers (Jamaica), Ltd., Mr. Adalbert Herman, Director of Production of the Seagram organisation in Canada; and Mr. A.M. Henderson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Distillers Corporation— Seagrams Ltd., the parent company. Mr. V.C. McCormack, director and Resident Manager of the company in Jamaica, was at the airport to meet the party, who plan to remain here for two to three weeks.
The Bronfman family owned Seagrams, but were not then in control of the board of directors and executive offices. This would change in the 1950's. The Gleaner stated in 1980:
In 1953 Messrs. Seagram Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of distillers corporation came and bought out all these Long Pond estate holdings from Sherriff and Co. The president of the overall operations was Mr. Samuel Bronfman who had formed a tripartite organization consisting of Canada, U.S.A. and the world. This company is regarded as a world leader in rum production, while also being the largest distillers. It is in this regard that the famous Long Pond rums have long been used as part-blends in these operations to help in achieving the place of the largest supplier of high quality rums in the world. These Trelawny estates are administered by Mr. Charles R. Bronfman as President of the House of Seagrams Ltd. representing his father, based in Canada. They both have shown great interest in the advancement and growth of Jamaica in world economy and especially so with Long Pond in Trelawny.
Long Pond's sugar factory had long been owned by George Stephenson Hewan Taylor of the Glamorgan Great House until his death in 1935. As the Jamaican agent for J. B. Sherriff and Co., Ltd., of Glasgow, Scotland, Taylor participated in a ceremony in 1930 at Falmouth, Trelawny. The amusing headline, indicating the government's greater interest in taking from rather than giving back to the colony, read:
Sir Edward Stubbs Hopes For Improvements in Water and Road Facilities of Island but Careful to Remind Large Gathering That he Commits Government or Himself to Nothing.
J . B. Sherriff was a shareholder in the Indo-China Steam Navigation Company Ltd. established in Shanghai in 1873 as a subsidiary of Hong Kong based Jardine, Matheson and Co., whose directors at the time included William Keswick. A further breakdown of ownership is set out in the following presentation:
In 1921 Messrs. Sheriff and Co., well known Distillers from Scotland, purchased Long Pond. In 1953 Seagrams Limited of Montreal, Canada, a wholly owned subsidiary of Distillers Corporation, purchased the Long Pond Estates. The year 1955 ushered in a new era for the owners of Long Pond who acquired Vale Royal, a neighbouring Estate owned by the late Mr. Arnold E. Muschett.

In November of 1977 the Jamaican Government bought Trelawny Estates and renamed it. The National Sugar Company of Long Pond (Ja.) Limited [better known as Long Pond Sugar Co. Ltd]. In 1993 it was divested to a consortium of financial institutions and individuals. The principal shareholders were Pan Jamaica Investment Trust Company (41%), Corporate Merchant Bank Limited (20%) and Island Life Insurance Company Limited (10%).
[Source: "The History of Trelawny" by Dan L. Ogilvie]

It would appear to anyone who knows the role the Bronfman family has played in the distribution of bootleg whisky and the creation of the same routes for distributing illegal drugs that Jamaica had become an integral part of their scheme by the time Tryall was planned. We will pick up with the Americans involved in the Tryall syndicate next time.

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