THE NEW TODAY would like to suggest that government get to the bottom of the allegation made by a blogger about the refund of US$1 million for a diplomatic passport to a person from Ukraine that was never handed over.
It could be quite true that the post by one Kenneth Rijock is indeed “fake news” and that nothing of the sort ever took place that could have implicated government.
This does not mean that someone within the administration or with close ties with the regime in St. George’s might not be involved in a diplomatic passport selling scam.
The Prime Minister and Minister of National Security should do everything within his powers to ensure that no one in Grenada is involved in under the table deals with our passports.
This newspaper is aware of concerns in certain Western capitals of the “unofficial” sale of diplomatic passports by some Caribbean Politicians and keeping the proceeds for their own personal agenda.
Thus, the monies received from these ill-gotten gains never enter the public coffers through the Consolidated Fund and into the National Treasury.
The proceeds from the sale of such passports and diplomatic positions are often used by certain Caribbean politicians as “the oxygen” for their political stranglehold on their citizens.
THE NEW TODAY believes that the illegal disposal of these passports which are the property of the State has more or less to do with “under the counter” transactions.
The reports circulating in some Western Capitals point to some of our political leaders in the region having in place set fees for selling diplomatic passports and positions outside of the legal process and system.
Under these arrangements, the going price on the “black market” for a diplomatic passport and position as an Ambassador-at-large is said to be US$1 million and as low as US$250, 000.00 to $300,000.00 for a diplomatic posting and passport as a Trade Counsellor.
About three months ago, a Grenadian lawyer in Europe asked this newspaper to investigate reports about an alleged passport scam at the Grenada High Commission in London in which our passports were being sold on the “Black Market” to Africans who are mainly from Nigeria.
The blog from Kenneth Rijock can provide an opportunity for PM Mitchell to take the necessary steps to ensure that nothing illegal is happening with the sale of Grenadian passports whether through the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme or on the Black Market.
As the diplomatic passport issue makes the round, this newspaper cannot help but notice that the two major political parties have made early moves after the carnival with the upcoming general election in mind.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) has announced the names of its last five Caretakers for the 15 constituencies on the island with one newcomer in the ring.
The selection of school teacher Kate Lewis to replace Youth & Sports Minister Roland Bhola in the St. Andrew North-east constituency is a rather interesting one.
The NNP has once again been able to woo to its camp an individual from a large family with a Labour background.
Both the father and grandfather of Lewis were prominent Executive members of the Grenada United Labour Party (GULP) of late Prime Minister, Sir Eric Matthew Gairy.
The constituency was a labour stronghold for years and was the only one that GULP managed to win in the historic December 1984 general election which saw Grenada return to elected government after nearly five years of non-elected rule by the New Jewel Movement (NJM) and its People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG).
The Mitchell-led NNP has consistently won the seat since 1995 through the late Oliver Archibald, a former GULP member and then from 2003 until present with Bhola.
Kate Lewis has definitely been selected with a specific purpose and mission to try and maintain the ruling party’s supremacy in the constituency.
The NNP’s main rival – the National Democratic Congress (NDC) – is endorsing on Sunday the rather high profile, Sen. Raymond Roberts as its candidate for the South St. George constituency.
Sen. Roberts cannot be considered as any lightweight candidate and is well-respected and rooted in the south of the island.
Health Minister Nickolas Steele who has been switched from his position as Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George to the South should understand that he has a serious battle on his hand.
The upcoming poll will be vastly different from the easy walk over in 2013 by NNP given the disarray in the Congress camp with the Peter David-led Group of Rebels.
The NNP is seemingly aware of the battle on hand and is already putting together a massive team of media spin doctors that can rival in numbers the largest media corporation in the country.
The 2017/2018 election battle is now truly on in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.