Our passport selling scheme has once again attracted world headlines with the arrest and return to China of two fugitives from justice.
Chinese Fu Yaobo and Zhang Qingzhao who were on Beijing’s official list of China’s 100 most wanted fugitives were able to obtain Grenadian passports under the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme.
The two were captured in St. Vincent & The Grenadines after law enforcement officials in some Caribbean islands including Grenada were notified of their wanted status.
Prior to their arrests, the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration in St. George’s had announced in the Government Gazette that the State had revoked the citizenship granted to the wanted individuals.
As far as THE NEW TODAY is concerned some damage was already done to the image of the island over the granting of the citizenship to both Fu and Zhang.
The role of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) should come under the microscope in the matter involving these two Chinese wanted nationals.
The FIU is charged with the responsibility to do the due diligence on any person who is seeking a Grenadian passport under the CBI.
It begs the question – what exactly did the FIU do as part of its investigation to ensure that Fu and Zhang were clear and above board and of sound reputation to be granted Grenadian citizenship? How competent is the FIU to do the necessary effective due diligence for this country?
How many more Chinese were given passports under the CBI and might embarrass our country over the next 12 months?
Events within recent months should send home the message to the NNP regime that China is too much of a hot bed where corruption is concerned.
THE NEW TODAY holds the view that nationals of China should be excluded at this stage from getting economic citizenship with Grenada due to the high risks involved with their citizens.
China is still a secretive country and questions have been raised about the type of co-operation that will be given to foreign agencies making inquiries about its nationals.
This latest episode comes so quickly on the heels of the Charles Liu matter in which this businessman has been charged with fraud by the Security Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States in connection with a cancer treatment facility.
Liu was also able to land a diplomatic passport with the Government of Grenada to serve at its Embassy in Beijing as a Commercial Attache’.
The Charles Liu matter will be around for sometime as apart from the United States, he is facing a lawsuit in the Spice Isle from a former employee who felt she was unlawfully dismissed from her jobs with four of his registered companies.
The buzz word in the country is that the negative publicity given to the island over the Charles Liu matter could have been avoided based on information submitted to the hierarchy of the administration by former Ambassador to China, Karl Hood.
Ironically, it was Hood who “discovered” Charles Liu and steered him to the powers-that-be in St. George’s to sell and promote the so-called US$2 billion tourism project at Mt. Hartman.
Documents now before the Supreme Court Registry point to a fallout between Hood and Charles Liu.
Was Hood’s removal from China as Ambassador and dispatched to London to serve as High Commissioner had anything to do with the fallout with the Chinese businessman who was also an employee in the Beijing office?
Did Hood inform his employers in Grenada that Charles Liu was not for real and should be avoided?
Is the NNP regime holding back anything on Hood due to allegations of his relationship to the Chinese businessman? In other words, are the two holding certain secrets for each other?
Would the Karl Hood/Charles Liu fall-out result in more casualties in St. George’s in the coming months?
What will be the fate of Hood’s brother, Attorney-General, Cajeton Hood in the coming months?
Will Dr. Mitchell renew Hood’s 4-year contract when it expires around March next year?
The answers to these and many more questions will be provided “all in the fullness of time”.