Alexandra Walks Away

By Careema Lewis

It’s a possible case of not feeling needed, as Alexandra Otway-Noel becomes the first minister to resign her portfolio with the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) that took up office in 2013.

The Member of Parliament for the South St. George Constituency sent tongues wagging last Friday when she posted on her Social Media page that she had tendered her resignation as Minister of Implementation in the Office of the Prime Minister to pursue a number of opportunities in the private sector.

Sources told THE NEW TODAY that Otway-Noel who comes from a wealthy family in the south of the island will be taking up a lucrative job with the new owners of the Flamboyant hotel in the south of the island.

“She (Alexandra) has gotten an offer that she couldn’t refuse”, said a source close to the family.

THE NEW TODAY understands that the female government minister left her resignation letter on the desk of Prime Minister Mitchell at his office in the Ministerial Complex on Friday as he was out of the country.

Otway-Noel had landed the prestigious position of Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation in 2013 when the NNP won all 15 seats in general elections but her profile dropped when the portfolio was removed from her in the first Cabinet reshuffle in June 2016.

She was demoted and given specific responsibility for Waste Management and the passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI).

Her resignation came against the backdrop of whispers about strained relations within the NNP with Prime Minister Mitchell and he was not inclined to allow her to contest the next general election due within the next 15 months.

Her release on her resignation reads as follows: “Minister Alexandra Otway-Noel has resigned from her Government position to pursue a number of exciting opportunities in the private sector. She has agreed to ensure a smooth transition to her as yet unnamed successor.

“Ms. Otway-Noel said, “It has been a privilege and an honour to serve the Prime Minister, the Government and the nation of Grenada.”

“Ms Otway-Noel, in her role as Minister of Tourism oversaw a number of high profile initiatives including the re-positioning and re-branding of the Tourism Sector which led to the birth of the ‘Pure Grenada, Spice of the Caribbean’ market proposition.

“Under the enthusiastic support and mentorship, this led to the re-branding of the Dive Sector, the Grenada Investment Development Corporation and of course the hugely popular Pure Grenada Music Festival.

“Minister Otway was successful in negotiating new airlines to Grenada and helped to boost the cruise sector.

“As Minister for Implementation she embraced the Private Sector working to ensure the smooth transition of projects.

“In her latest role as Minister responsible for promotion of the Citizenship by Investment Programme she helped position Grenada as one of the most respected programmes in the CBI world resulting in a major boost in revenue for the nation.

“Ms. Otway-Noel would like to take this opportunity to personally thank the Prime Minister for his “kindness, support and guidance” during her time in office.”

The resignation of Otway-Noel as a minister in the Mitchell-led government fueled rumours in the country that she would soon be taking up the position of Leader of the Opposition in the NNP-dominated Lower House.

The MP soon issued another release on her Facebook page to clear up allegations that she was moving to become a member of another political party.

This release said in part: “…First, contrary to a rumour in circulation, following the accepted protocol, letters of resignation were formally issued to the Prime Minister’s office and the Cabinet Secretary before the general press release was issued.

“Ms. Otway-Noel remains a member of the NNP and plans to maintain a positive and respectful relationship with the Prime Minister and Government, continuing to assist wherever possible with the onward and upward trajectory of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“She will also of course continue to serve her constituents faithfully and with her usual vigour…”.

The initial reaction of Prime Minister Mitchell was that the resignation had taken him by shock.
Four days later, the Office of the Prime Minister issued its first official release on the Otway-Noel resignation from the NNP administration.

The statement read in full: “The Prime Minister, Hon the Rt. Dr. Keith Mitchell has thanked former Minister Hon. Alexandra Otway-Noel for her services to the government following a joint meeting to discuss her expressed wish to continue her representation as an MP of St George’s South.

Hon. Otway-Noel, over the past few weeks, had been discussing with the Prime Minister the possibility of her resigning from the Cabinet so as to engage in some personal pursuits.
The former Minister had made the decision so that there could be no conflict – real or imagined – arising from these personal pursuits.

Prime Minister Mitchell accepted her ministerial resignation, and thanked her for openness and contribution; wishing her well in the process.

He noted that her resignation as a minister will not be a loss to the national politics, as she is committed to continuing fighting for the empowerment of the people as Member of Parliament for South St George and as a proud and serving member of the New National Party”.

Lisa Telesford removed as Registrar

Registrar of the Supreme Court, Lisa Telesford has been removed from the position.

Attorney Lisa Telesford

According to a well-placed source, Telesford, an attorney-at-law, was transferred as part of a backlash from the November 24 Referendum on Constitutional Reform.

He said that the Registrar has been directed by the Public Service Commission (PSC), headed by barrister-at-law, Derek Sylvester to pick up another assignment in the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

The source pointed out that the political directorate was unhappy with the manner in which Telesford handled a court case that was filed by former Attorney General, Jimmy Bristol to challenge the legality of the process used to facilitate the referendum.

He spoke of the government wanting the matter to be assigned to high court judge, Justice Shiraz Aziz but the Registrar choose instead to place the matter before a female high court judge, Justice Adrien Wynante-Roberts.

Aziz is assigned to the high court in its Criminal Jurisdiction while Roberts concentrates primarily on civil matters.

Legal officials have told this newspaper that the Bristol matter went before the “right judge” since Roberts is the one who does civil matters.

However, the State won the case with Justice Roberts ruling in favour of the arguments put forward by Solicitor-General, Dwight Horsford.

THE NEW TODAY has not been able to speak to Telesford on whether she will accept the new assignment.

The person selected as replacement for Telesford is Alana Twum-Barimah, the current Deputy Registrar who is the daughter of Dr. Bert Brathwaite, a well-known associate of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government.

The resignation of Alexandra Otway-Noel

The resignation of Alexandra Otway-Noel as a member of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has been met with mixed reaction.

There has been talk for sometime now about the future of the Member of Parliament for the South St. George constituency and her hopes of seeking re-election for another five-year term.

The first Cabinet reshuffle undertaken by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell sent a strong signal that Otway-Noel might not after all be enjoying the best of relations with her leader.

There were whispers in certain NNP quarters that the female MP for the South had stood up to the autocratic Mitchell within months of the NNP victory at the polls, as she did not allegedly like certain comments thrown in her direction.

NNP insiders also dropped hints that in the early months of the party’s victory at the polls in the 2013 general elections, PM Mitchell was trying to reign in Otway-Noel due to the number of overseas trip made as Minister of Tourism.

Reports circulated that in the face of shortage of funds from the Central Government that the female MP was finding financial resources outside of government coffers to make some of these overseas trips.

Not many Grenadians might be able to recall the vicious onslaught on Dr. Mitchell back in the 1990’s by Otway-Noel’s very outspoken father, William “Sleepie” Otway who served for many years as the Manager of the local office of LIAT.

“Sleepie” then tore up his membership card of NNP and walked out on Dr. Mitchell and the party. Are we going to see the same thing being done at the appropriate moment by Alexandra “all in the fullness of time”?

However, the resignation of the female MP from the government has solved a problem for Prime Minister Mitchell on the selection of NNP candidates for two of the key constituencies in the parish of St. George.

The way is now clear for the Prime Minister to select either Health Minister, Nicholas Steele or Peter David in either the Town of St. George or South St. George.

It is well known that Mr. David and his supporters have already declared him as the next NNP candidate for the city.

If this is the case then the Health Minister, if he intends to seek re-election to Parliament might have to focus his eyes on Otway-Noel’s constituency.

THE NEW TODAY has a strong feeling that the Otway-Noel development is the start of other things within the NNP, as the party gets ready for the upcoming general election.

There are reports that some forces are trying to get the party to look for a replacement for the ageing Elvin Nimrod in the constituency of Carriacou & Petite Martinique.

A certain cultural artiste who is known to be the recipient of many construction contracts awarded by the NNP in the sister isle is spearheading the move against MP Nimrod.

The anti-Nimrod forces within the NNP are advocating that the MP is not doing any significant political work on the ground and that after 20 years at the helm he should step aside for a younger person.

A few names have already surfaced as likely NNP candidates in the next general election including former deputy political leader of the National Democratic Congress, attorney-at-law, George Prime.

However, the die-hard NNP supporters are seemingly prepared to give their blessings to a former Senator or his wife who is also an attorney-at-law like her husband.

The names of two current NNP Senators with family links in Carriacou – Senators Simon Stiell and Nolan Cox – do not seem to be getting much traction from the key NNP activists in the field in Carriacou.

This newspaper believes that these NNPites are flirting with danger and that Nimrod will survive the attacks and put his name on the ballot for the next general election.

There is also some grumbling among the NNP on the future of former Youth Minister, Emmalin Pierre in the St. Andrew South-east constituency.

Not much has been heard about Pierre since she was removed in the last Cabinet reshuffle as Minister of Youth and Sports and put into virtual obscurity by Prime Minister Mitchell within the Office of the Prime Minister.

The name of a businessman in the hardware industry is surfacing as a possible replacement for Pierre.

If this is the case, the Prime Minister might be influenced to make the move due to many factors including the historical fact that the people of St. Andrew South-east have changed their elected MP’s after giving them only one-term in office.

As the NNP tries to put its “House” in order for the upcoming battle against the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Political Leader, Prime Minister Mitchell will be very mindful of the near defeat in the 2003 general election and the outcome of the November 24 Referendum on Constitutional Reform.

These two issues along with the failure to “deliver” on the many promises arising from the 2013 polls can determine how quick the Prime Minister might pull the date of the next general election from his back pocket or briefcase.

Father Gets 9 years For Incest

A 52-year-old Cook Hill Road, St. Andrew resident, Fitz Alexander, was on Wednesday sentenced to spend the next 9 years and 2 months of his life behind bars after being found guilty on four counts of incest last November.

Fitz Alexander – described as an alcoholic

The sentence was handed down by High Court Judge, Justice Paula Gilford, who presides over the No. 2 High Court on The Carenage in St. George’s.

The evidence before the court revealed that Alexander committed the offences in November 2011, on two occasions in January 2012 and in December 2012, against his own daughter, who was 13 years old at the time.

The accused, who retained the legal services of Attorney-at-Law Henry Paryag, categorically denied committing the offences, even though he was found guilty at the end of his trial on November 25, 2016.

The convicted man was 48 years old at the time when the offences were committed.

Alexander told the court he did not know why his own daughter made the allegation against him but was certain that she did it to “spite” him.

The Victim’s Impact Statement indicated that the teenager suffered significant trauma as a result of the sexual crimes, committed against her.

She stated that on the first occasion, she was “very fearful and -shocked” and wondered what was going on.

According to the teenager, her dad threatened that if she revealed what he did to her, she would find herself in a body bag, which she said made her even more afraid to tell anyone.

It was also revealed in the Statement that the teenager had reached the point where she felt as though she was going crazy and even tried to kill herself.

According to the Social Inquiry Report, persons in the community where Alexander lived labeled him as an “alcoholic,” who has a bad reputation as a “sexual predator.”

His attorney, who is also a former magistrate, urged the court to be as lenient as possible on him, pointing out that he has no previous criminal record.

That was the only mitigating factor considered by Justice Gilford in determining what sentence to hand down on the accused.

Among the aggravating factors considered were, the prevalence of sexual crimes in Grenada, age of the victim, physiological impact of the offences, death threat, and that the offences were committed repeatedly.

Alexander was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months on Count One to run consecutively, to 6-years and 4-months on Count 4.

He was also sentenced to 2 years and 4 months on Counts 2 and 3, to run concurrently, making it a total sentence of 9 years and 2 months.

The convicted man also has to undergo counseling and failure to do so would land him an additional 8 months in jail.

In handing down the sentence, the Guyana-born female judge expressed strong disapproval of sexual crimes in general, pointing out that there were a total of “42 sexual matters” before her court in the last assizes, 9 of those being incest.

“I hope this sentence would serve as a deterrent,” she declared, noting that society and the court would not uphold such behaviour.

Alexander is the first person to be sentenced in the January assizes, which opened on Tuesday at High Court No. 2, with a total of 142 cases on the Cause List.

Sexual offences are once again dominating the list with a total of 60 sexual offences including 30 rape cases and 10 cases of incest.

Also on the list are 15 homicides, including 5 criminalised for the offence of death by dangerous driving, 3 for manslaughter and 7 murders.

The figures in the January assizes reflects a marginal decrease in sexual crimes from the September 2016 assizes, which had a total 145 cases, 62 being sexually-related cases, which comprised 34 for rape, 11 for incest and 17 for offences of sexual intercourse with children.

New CEO at Huggins

Najuma Francis

Anya Menezes-Chow Chung

After 50 years at the helm, George Menezes has stepped down to make way for his daughter, Anya Menezes-Chow Chung to take up the position of Chief Executive Officer of Geo. F. Huggins & Company Grenada Limited.

The change in the guard took place with effect from January 1, 2017.

Menezes-Chow Chung holds a Bachelor of Law Degree with Honours from the University of the West Indies and a Certificate in Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School, St. Augustine Trinidad.

In 2008, she completed the Directors Accreditation Programme from the Canadian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and has achieved certification from the Caribbean Institute of Forensic Accounting in Conducting Internal Investigations.

During the past seventeen years, the new CEO performed several Managerial roles at Huggins including Manager, Corporate Marketing and Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer.

Michelle Sayers-Griffith

Her responsibilities included overseeing the Company’s legal matters as well as its Money Services Business Operations.

In 2010, Menezes-Chow Chung was appointed to the Board of Directors of Huggins’ subsidiary company, Agostini Insurance Brokers (G’da) Ltd., and presently holds the position of Company Secretary.

She was appointed to the Board of Directors of Huggins in 2012 and has served on several committees including the Strategic Planning and Budget Planning Committees.

She has a special interest in sport, particularly karate, where she is a member of Grenada’s National Team.

Huggins also welcomed two new employees – Michelle Sayers-Griffith, Enterprise Risk Manager and Najuma Francis, Manager, Corporate Marketing.

Sayers-Griffith has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Risk and Compliance field. She holds affiliate status with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and is also a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (ACAMS).

She has worked as a Senior Executive in the banking industry for over twenty years.

Francis has over eight years’ experience in Marketing and Sales in both public and private entities.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree with Specialised Honours in Marketing and holds affiliate status with the Chartered Institute of Marketing in the UK.

Geo. F. Huggins, a 100% Grenadian owned company, is the most broad-based company on the island, with seventeen departments spanning thirteen divisions including agro-chemicals, construction materials, distribution, food markets, motor, office services, petroleum, pharmaceuticals, shipping, Swift Air Cargo Handlers and Agostini Insurance Brokers.

GPA Chair calls for International Ship Registry

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA), Dr. Wayne Sandiford has cited the need for consideration to be given at the policy level towards establishing an open international ship registry in an effort to help boost the performance of the island’s maritime administration.

In the GPA annual report for 2015, which was presented during a recent sitting of the Lower House of Parliament Dr. Sandiford noted that over the past five years growth of the registry, in terms of the number of ships and fleet tonnage had been on the downturn and has almost reached the point of virtual stagnation.

As it relates to the maritime administration’s performance for the year, Dr. Sandiford said that there were only two new registrations and a total of 76 registered ships, which accounted for 4,440 gross registered tons (GRT), but there were no deletions from the registry of ships.

According to the report, revenue collected in the same year from maritime administration related activities, including annual fees in respect of registered ships, amounted to a mere $2,025 reflecting a significant decrease of $17, 070,  or 89%  compared to the $19, 095 recorded the previous year.

Apart from the lack of growth of the registry, the GPA Chairman said the Authority has also been faced with the challenge of collecting annual fees from owners of registered ships.

Additionally, during the year under review, surveyors and inspectors intensified the process of monitoring and enforcing the standards in accordance with international maritime conventions in the interest of maritime safety, which led to the detention of a few ships.

Grenada operates a closed ship registry, referred to as a small ships registry, with registration of ships limited to those in which propriety interest of at least 50% is held by citizens or companies incorporated in Grenada or by nationals or companies of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States.

The GPA has the responsibility for the development of Grenada’s Maritime Administration under the administration of the Shipping Act Cap. 303., which includes responsibility for matters relating to the registration of ships; control, regulation and orderly development of shipping; training conditions of employment of seafarers and maritime safety.

Steele: Government is not taking pleasure in acquiring Rex

A senior government minister has come out in defense of the action of the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to compulsorily acquire the Rex Grenadian Resort property in the south of the island.

Speaking to reporters at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele said that although government is moving ahead with the clearance from the high court to acquire the Rex, it is not something that they are taking pride in doing.

Steele told reporters that a transparent process is being unfolded to determine the value of the property as part of the acquisition process.

“What needs to be settled now is the value for the acquisition. There is a process that would be followed that is dictated by the courts and they determine that value and settlement….”, he said.

“…There will be a board, a grouping of individuals that will be appointed by both parties and they will go through and determine a value,” he added.

Rex is said to have already rejected an offer of EC$9 million put on the table by government as compensation for the acquisition of the hotel.

According to Minister Steele, the move by government to take over the hotel was done in an effort to get the property to serve the public in the way that it was supposed to always be.

“Government’s decision to acquire the property is based on the fact that we need to see that property performing a public good – that is the mandate that government has. So it is government’s mandate to make sure that that property performs a public good to (the) maximum benefit of the people of Grenada,” he said.

He stated that an opportunity was given to the operators of the hotel to turn it around in order to prevent the acquisition.

According to Steele, this was done to give the operators a chance to meet the conditions of their contract and to continually expand service in the industry.

He said in the end government had no choice but to seek acquisition of the property.

In the face of reports that the operators of the resort had put together a proposal to government, offering a $12 million upgrade to the property, Minister Steele said this was not enough to transform the property.

“The issue (acquisition) as I’m stating quite adamantly is to make sure that the property is maximised and you can read into that – the $12 million that they are talking about, I mean you have all seen the property, it’s too little too late. That property needs a lot more than $12 million in upgrade.

“…I think it’s an insult to the people of Grenada to say that the last minute proposal is for a $12 million upgrade when we can all see with our own eyes that the property needs a lot more than $12 million.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has criticised the Mitchell-led government for what it deemed as a “hostile” takeover of the hotel.

Mt. Agnes gets treated water for the first time

As a result of government paying off outstanding payments to the island’s lone water company, NAWASA, the people of Mt Agnes and Pomme Rose, will be benefitting from treated pipe borne water for the first time.

Officials of Government and NAWASA sit at the head table

The $1.8 Million Mt Agnes Water Treatment Plant was commissioned last Thursday at Mt Agnes in the presence of NAWASA officials and Parliamentary Representative for the parish of St. David, Economic Development Minister, Oliver Joseph.

The water treatment plant will also serve the areas of Pomme Rose, La Tante and Requin.

This is the second of a number of water treatment plants to be commissioned as NAWASA seeks to provide the people of Grenada with convenient access to water.

General Manager of the state-owned utility, Christopher Husbands who addressed the gathering at the function last Thursday said NAWASA is committed to providing quality service to the people and with the commitment of the government can put more effort into the company’s capital projects.

“The project will mark a first for over a hundred persons in this Mt Agnes area who up to this point have never had access to treated water. They were always receiving raw water from the dam because they resided above what used to be the old treatment”, he said.

“…This is phase one of two. Within the next 6 months we have approximately another 30-35 households above this site that will for the first time get pipe borne water – they have never had access to pipe borne water. So, in total we would expect that upwards of about 300 persons by the middle of this year will now be receiving a safe supply of portable water which is our intention certainly for the entire island of Grenada,” he added.

The Member of Parliament for St. David told the function that the event marked the fulfillment of a promise made to the people of Pomme Rose and surrounding areas during the 2013 election campaign and the New National Party (NNP) “is delivering”.

“As a government we have listened to the complaints of the people. I said on the campaign that St David’s would get its fair share of development whether it is water, electricity, road, education, scholarship – every aspect of development. St. David’s will not be left behind,” said Minister Joseph.

The MP recalled that work on the project started in July 2015 with a work force of 19 persons.

He said the project was completed at a cost $1.8 million by NAWASA under its capital programme.

A look at the water treatment plant that will serve the community of Mt. Agnes

Chairman of NAWASA Board of Directors, Terrence Forrester who also spoke at the ceremony reiterated the utility’s commitment to provide water for all householders and encouraged residents to take care of the plant.

“Our national development plan within NAWASA speaks and meets the needs of the government plans.  So, in other words, whatever vision the government has, the goals that they have set, the accomplishments that they wish to see into the future, NAWASA like a small buggy moves throughout the small roads to ensure that this happens”, he said.

“…I want to ask the people of Apres Toute and Pomme Rose in particular to look after this plant.

This is your plant, don’t let anybody come and mess it up. This is your plant, providing a valuable service to the people of St. David and beyond. You have an equal responsibility to ensure that this facility which has been developed here, that has cost millions of dollars, you protect it because it is for you and your children and for this nation’s future development,” Forrester said.
he commissioning of another NAWASA project will be done in Spring Gardens St. Andrew during the month of February.

Victimisation is real in Grenada

Over four years ago I submitted an application  to the Ministry of Lands and Housing to  purchase a piece of land to  erect my tourism office to further serve and  enhance the tourism  industry which I have been  serving  for the past eighteen years.

I have been providing the  tourism sector with a rich source of knowledge including  Spanish language, English Language, Russian Language tours, along with Grenada history, Geology, Botanical plants.

I am also versed in the indigenous and pre-historic landscape including sites and attractions as it relates to the Grenada tourism product, and have been obtaining the most positive reviews from travellers to the island  via the social media like Trip Advisor.

After applying  since 2009, it was approved in June 2012 by the then government. There was a Cabinet approval of 6,500   sq. feet of land at Frequente Grand Anse.

I have a letter of entitlement and a payment plan under the Crown Ordinance act.

The Lands officer went with me and pointed out the plot of land in the month of August which was measured five days before.

However , two boundaries were not erected on the southern end of the lot due to some proposed road thus leaving me in open conflict with some  lawless squatters who continued to openly trespass on the land inspite of the fact that many reports were made to the Lands Department together with the police.

I have been clamouring to have the other two boundary polls erected. Nothing was done by the Lands officer leaving me in open conflict with a squatter which subsequently placed me in a serious incident with that individual and the matter ended in the high court.

After making over forty calls and emails and followed up calls and visiting the Lands department, nothing was done until 2016 when the Lands office ordered the erection of the other two polls.

I started to make reports to the police on many occasions to enforce the law . The police went and see the plot of land where another squatter was cutting through the land as a clear act of trespassing on my plot.

The police have done nothing in protecting my constitutional rights which was compromised by the police.

However, I have written to the Police Commissioner whose office did in fact respond to me to find out what was happening since August 2016.

That squatter took his weedeater and  keep cutting for the past four months – he last cut through the plot on New Year’s day again while am still waiting on the police to issue a warning.

I went  in to the South St. George police station and presented my legal document to the Police Officer-in-charge which he acknowledged and promised to deal with the matter.

After not hearing from him for ten days, he then told me that his junior officers went there on many occasions but did not find him and he told me that he left a message for that squatter to report to the station and that was the last since I have not heard anything again from the police.

As a consequence, I have written again to the Commissioner of Police some twenty four days ago without a single response from the Commissioner office.

I am still wondering if Grenada is still governed by the rule of law.

Kennedy Jawahir

The Levera red flag!!!

Another red flag has been raised about a foreign investor who has come to Grenada to do business on the island.

THE NEW TODAY believe that the relevant authorities should look into allegations being made by U.S and Canadian citizens about one Robert Martin Oveson who is the latest individual to get involved in the Levera project in St. Patrick.

Mr. Oveson and his associates have established two companies on the island in recent months – Levera Trading Ltd and Grenada Citizenship Development Ltd – the latter to do business in the sale of Grenadian passports.

Mr. Oveson is a native of Utah in the United States but in the records at the Supreme Court Registry in Grenada, the address listed for him is Long Point Road in Charlestown, Nevis.

This newspaper has been able to establish contact with a number of persons both in the U.S and Canada whose advice to the Government and People of Grenada is to stay as far away as possible from this Levera developer.

Our investigations reveal that Mr. Oveson was involved in a project in Mazanillo,  Mexico in the early 2000’s and left several persons who bought into his project with deep and gaping holes in their pockets.

It will be rather unfortunate if this current New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell would allow another First Bank fiasco to take place under his watch in the anxiety to facilitate foreign investors.

Mr. Oveson might not have committed any fraudulent acts in Grenada but it should be of concern to the powers-that-be that our island is not used by any unsavory character that might be tempted to use our shores as a safe haven to commit wrongs against foreign nationals.

Would Canada reconsider lifting the visa restriction imposed on Grenadians if the authorities in St. George’s allow the island to be used by persons who engage in schemes to rip-off their citizens?

This newspaper is also concerned about the alleged track record of Mr. Oveson when it came to paying the bills of persons contracted to supply services and material for his failed project in Mexico.

This is what one of the affected investors said of Mr. Oveson: “…Through lies, deceit and fraud, Oveson and family (members) obtained well in excess of a million U.S. dollars from Canadian and American purchasers. Also they did not pay some of the contractors, suppliers and workers on the site and in the hotel and they also were defrauded, with a very few taking legal action”.

By and large, the hardware stores in Grenada operate on a small scale and cannot compare in size and scope with those in larger countries like Mexico, the U.S and Canada.

It is a warning to all of them to avoid the pitfalls of those who suffered financial losses from the exploits of Mr. Oveson – the man now behind the Levera project in St. Patrick.

The man from Utah in the United States but who gave Nevis as his home address should come forward before the Grenadian people and respond to those serious and grave allegations being made against him.

If anyone were to do a goggle search of the name Robert Martin Oveson it will take them to an internet page with a picture of the individual with an address listed as: Boulevard Miguel de la Madrid #1017, int.

4, Colonia Playa Azul, Manzanillo, Colima C.P. 28860.

It is the exact address given to us by persons in North America who have accused Mr. Oveson of committing alleged fraud against them.

The following is excerpt from a piece of correspondence sent to us by a retired Canadian national, Robert Mason who has been pursuing Mr. Oveson for wrongs allegedly committed against him on the project in Mexico in which he allegedly lost thousands of dollars.

Mr. Mason filed a case of fraud and has been seeking to get an arrest warrant for INTERPOL to execute on the man now involved in the Levera development.

This is what Mr. Mason said: “ In support of the application for the Extradition Order, in August 2014, my wife and I were required to travel to Guadalajara, Mexico, the capital of the State of Jalisco in which the property and our legal action and judgement were registered.

We then met with the State Ministerio Publico (effectively the State Attorney General) and then signed affidavits identifying Robert Martin Oveson from photographs which we were shown.

This affidavit and supporting documentation was then sent to the Federal authorities in Mexico City for processing with Interpol”.

Isn’t this sufficient of a red flag for the local FIU to start the ball rolling and start looking with a hawk’s eye in the direction of Robert Martin Oveson?