Following my recent item about Westgate Pavilion, I've received this clarification from the chap who wants to save it, Kevin Crace:
It is true that in 2001 I did arrange for Ronnie Biggs return to the UK. This has always been in the public arena and my involvement in his return is something that I have always been actually proud of. I was independently hired to arrange the negotiations for his return and I was paid a sum of money, from a national newspaper for doing such. My connection to Ronnie comes from the fact that in my portfolio of music rights includes the Ronnie Biggs/Sex Pistols song – No One Is Innocent.
I in no way have had any connection to any form of crime. I think it’s also fair to say that I have not discussed this matter with either the Council or the Gazette, as it neither seemed relevant, and because it is one of many business activities that I have been involved in over a number of years.
I am slightly more concerned to clarify the position with regards to the MySpace entry on ‘smoking quality weed’…. This is actually a reference to tobacco and not cannabis. I am the father of three children, and as such I am more than aware of the dangers of drug abuse. Also, working in the music industry, I have seen and lost many friends to drug abuse. I totally deplore and object to drug use, of which I think there is far too much of on the island…
I do however smoke tobacco. I am also an opponent of what I view as the government's draconian anti smoking legislation, and you will note amongst my MySpace friends are the pro smoking group Smokers Reunited, whom I totally support. I think my choice of words on my site, with the gift of hindsight, were inappropriate.
Finally, may I say to you and your readers that my intentions with redeveloping the Westgate Pavilion are truly honest. I spent my childhood at Thanet, and I returned here with my children to try to give them the level of ‘magic’ that I experienced as a child. I, like most of your readers, remember the ‘glory’ days, and have been deplored to see it slide continually down hill, as one attraction after another closes.
If the Pavilion is forced to close, then I am certain it will never re-open. I am also certain that it has the capability to work as a good private business, that cannot only serve the needs of the community, but can also bring much needed tourists back into Thanet, and more particularly Westgate. My proposal to take over the Pavilion is based on the belief that after many years in the industry, and with many contacts in the industry, I am suited to assist in this regeneration.
With kind regards,