Deputy Prime Minister Elvin Nimrod needs to clear the air on statements made at a Press Conference Tuesday when he sought to give the impression that Barbados has in place a “limited” Citizenship By Investment Programme.
The Minister of Legal Affairs was responding to a question posed by a journalist at the government weekly post-Cabinet Press Briefing on whether any consideration was given by the administration to the Richard Cheltenham inquiry report in giving a diplomatic passport to Chinese businessman, Charles Liu who was appointed to the post of Commercial Attaché’ at the Grenada Embassy in Beijing.
The Security Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States hascharged the controversial Liu and his wife with fraud in connectionwith a proposed cancer treatment plant.
Sir Richard had recommended that non-nationals who are givendiplomatic positions by government should not be handed Diplomatic passports but instead be allowed to operate on an official passport.
A previous New National Party (NNP) government in which the Member of Parliament for Carriacou and Petite Martinique served as Minister of Foreign Affairs had recruited the top Barbadian attorney-at-law to investigate allegations that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell had accepted a bribe of US$500, 000.00 from a con-man Eric Resteiner in exchange for a diplomatic job and passport.
Resteiner was subsequently arrested and charged in the United States with fraud and sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Against this background, Sir Richard was called in to exonerate Dr. Mitchell of any wrongdoing and to make recommendations on diplomatic appointments in the future.
Minister Nimrod was forthright in stating that Dr. Cheltenham’s guidelines are only recommendations and nothing more and that the Barbadian lawyer could not tell a government duly-elected by the people how to run the affairs of the country.
But the second or third most powerful man in the current NNP administration did not stop there in brushing aside the recommendations.
Nimrod tried to give the impression that Barbados – the homeland if Sir Richard – has a passport-selling scheme in place similar to Grenada although “limited” in scope.
This is not true. Unlike Grenada, Antigua & Barbados, St. Kitts/Nevis and Dominica which are selling passports, Barbados has not introduceda business immigration program.
Barbados has a residency by investment scheme and not a Citizenship by Investment scheme like what operates in the four OECS territories.
The Deputy Prime Minister is among the most honest and decent persons in the NNP hierarchy and should correct the misnomer that Barbados is into selling passports, albeit in a “limited” manner. This is quite frankly not true.
The Mitchell-led government is doing a very poor job in trying to sell the notion that Ambassador Liu has not been charged with fraud and that no case has been brought against him in a law court in the United States.
The SEC website is very clear on the status of Charles Liu and the issue of fraud.
For the avoidance of doubt, the first two paragraphs of the release put out on the SEC website on the matter said the following: “The Securities and Exchange Commission today (June 2) announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a husband and wife accused of misusing two-thirds of the money they raised from investors for the purpose of building and operating a new cancer treatment center that would use proton beam radiation to help oncology patients in Southern California.
“According to the SEC’s complaint unsealed today (June 2) in federal court in Los Angeles, Charles C. Liu and Xin “Lisa” Wang raised $27 million for the proton therapy cancer treatment center from 50 investors in China through the EB-5 immigrant investor program. They touted in promotional materials that the project would create more than 4,500 new jobs and have a substantial impact on the local economy while giving foreign investors an opportunity for future U.S. residency. But presently there is no construction at the proposed site after more than 18 months of collecting investments. Liu meanwhile hastransferred $11 million in investor funds to three firms in China and diverted another $7 million to his and his wife’s personal accounts”.
The above speaks for itself and Minister Nimrod and Attorney General, Cajeton Hood should not try to mislead the public into believing thatno fraud charges were laid against Mr. Liu and his wife.
AG Hood might be in a better position than Minister Nimrod to answer the following questions: – (a) who was the person that “discovered” Charles Liu and put him in contact with the NNP government?
(b) Is there any relationship between AG Hood and the person who allegedly “found” Ambassador Liu?
(c) Is AG Hood a member of any Cabinet committee that processed Mr. Liu?
(d) Is there any relationship – whether directly or indirectly between AG Hood, Ambassador Liu and the person who discovered the Chinese businessman for the proposed US$2 billion project at Mt. Hartman?
(e) The final two questions are not directed to AG Hood but more so PM Mitchell and the Minister of Foreign Affairs – Why was Karl Hood removed from the Grenada Embassy in Beijing and sent off to London as High Commissioner?
(f) Did Ambassador Karl Hood’s removal from Beijing have anything to do with the infamous Charles Liu?
Our world is now a global village due to the quick pace at which information can flow from the Far East into the Southern Hemisphere.