A DUP volunteer with close links to government minister Edwin Poots’ family has been flogging “medicinal tea” on Facebook as a key aid in fighting coronavirus.
asile ‘G-Star’ Sery was pictured leafleting with Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots, who is also a former health minister, at last year’s council elections and now claims he can help “aid” people suffering from Covid-19 by using his own herbal remedy.
“Coronavirus is mucus blocking the oxygen supply and the tea can flush out the mucus,” said Basile, also known as Baz.
Sunday Life covertly arranged to meet Mr Sery, who is in a relationship with Mr Poots’ daughter Lydia, to buy some of his medicinal tea before confronting him over his claims about a virus which has killed a million people globally.
After flogging two small jars of tea to our reporter for £10 each, Mr Sery denied any wrongdoing and claimed he was trying to help people despite having no medical training or scientific evidence for his claims.
He also revealed that he had approached Invest NI for funding, as well as trying to get his tea into Marie Curie cancer hospices to give hope to people dying from cancer.
Mr Sery helped his friend Caleb McCready successfully fight for a seat in Lisburn and Castlereagh Council in 2019, pushing leaflets through doors.
A DUP source said ‘Baz’ was not a member of the party.
They added: “Edwin Poots knows nothing about Basile Sery’s tea selling. It has nothing to do with him.
“Basil is going out with Edwin’s daughter Lydia. He’s a kind, decent young man who is a bit a naive.”
Mr Sery, who told our reporter he could to make millions selling his ‘remedy’, said: “It can help with coronavirus because it’s an anti-inflammatory. It’s the same as you’ll find in health shops.
“Coronavirus is mucus blocking the oxygen supply in the body and the tea can flush out the mucus.”
He complained about our reporter’s reference to his links to the DUP, saying: “You’re trying to make this political. All I’m trying to do is put this out there to help people. My scientific basis is my own training. I’ve learned about nutrition and herbals and did bioscience at school and tech, so that’s how I came up with this.
“It can help because it aids against mucus. It flushes mucus out of the body and helps it get back to normality, so it can help with coronavirus.
“I tried to get it into Marie Curie because why can’t we use it to aid people when they’re dying?
“If your body is giving up, these anti-inflammatory nettle herbs, which just grow around the place, can help.
“I’m gifting it for that price. If the vaccine comes, what price are people going to pay for that?
“Help is the word, not cure. There is no cure.
“I am my own man. I came here with nothing and am just trying to make something in life.
“I have nothing to hide. Aiding has nothing to do with curing. It’s not a miracle, it’s just plain nature. If I was able to sell the way I wanted to sell, it would have been way more. With this coronavirus, I would have been a millionaire, not standing talking to you.”
Mr Sery, originally from the Ivory Coast, is close friends with Lisburn councillor Caleb McCready and the DUP man attended Basile’s British citizenship ceremony in 2015.
Mr McCready is also a nephew of Edwin Poots.
‘Baz’ and girlfriend Lydia Poots attended Mr McCready’s wedding at the swanky Tankardstown House in Slane, Co Meath, in September and the two have shared dozens of loved-up snaps on their social media accounts.
He leafleted on behalf of Mr McCready at the council elections last year and was pictured alongside Edwin Poots knocking doors for the DUP.
However, the aspiring personal trainer said he was not a member of the DUP or shares their values and claimed he was just helping his friend Mr McCready. He said: “I came here as a youngster from the Ivory Coast and did not speak English. We became friends, so I helped him hand out leaflets.
“I am close to my friend and my friend’s family, I know them, but that’s it. Everybody knows other people, but that doesn’t mean anything. You don’t see me going on TV or on the radio talking about the DUP.
“I am my own person. I started something by studying to become a personal trainer because I want to change lives. I want to make a difference in this world.
“I was doing this before coronavirus. I grew up in Africa drinking herbal tea for breakfast and I didn’t want to do it at the time, but I realise now it was good for me. I am just trying to help. God is watching.
“You’re bringing in the DUP into it, but I’m nothing to do with them. Helping people doesn’t mean I’m part of them. I’ve handed out leaflets for my friend’s restaurant. That doesn’t mean I work there. I have nothing to do with their ideology or thinking.”
When contacted by Sunday Life, councillor McCready said: “He (Basile) is not a member of the party. He’s just a friend. He was helping us leaflet, doing doors for me and helping me out as a friend, but that was well before he did any of the tea stuff that he’s doing. That’s nothing to do with me.
“I have no idea what he does with that. That’s his own business. He’s a school friend. We went to Forthill together. I don’t actually get speaking to him very often at the minute. With being married and stuff, I haven’t really spoken to him much, so I don’t know much about those dealings. I can’t comment on it because I don’t know much about it myself, so it would be ill-informed of me to say anything.”
As well as volunteering to help Mr McCready, Mr Sery was an extra in Game of Thrones and Line of Duty – both of which were filmed in Belfast.
On his Facebook account he has snaps with GoT stars Nathalie Emmanuel and Jacob Anderson and Line of Duty actor Thandie Newton.
On Friday the now Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots was critical of the new lockdown measures agreed by the Executive last week and was at odds with the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser.
He said: “I would have grave reservations about the things applied. I want to see everything that we do based upon science.
“I have talked directly to the Chief Medical Officer and the Chief Scientific Adviser and indicated that we need to take an entirely different approach to the one we are currently taking.”
There is no suggestion Mr Poots, or any member of the Poots family, is involved with the sale of Baz’s medicinal tea.