It’s more negative publicity on the global scene for Grenada with the assassination last week of prominent Maltese journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia.
There are reports in two media outlets that a firm associated with Grenada and several other Eastern Caribbean islands in the billion-dollar passport selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) could be linked to the killing of the journalist.
Criminal elements planted and detonated a car bomb that took the life of Galizia who has been engaged in exposing many of those involved in shady dealings.
There is no positive information on who ordered the assassination but fingers are pointing in the direction of some powerful political figures in Malta along with a well-known international passport selling firm.
Galizia had access to the “Panama Papers” and was involved in an anti-corruption campaign which targeted those involved in underhand dealings.
She became a target of those who felt that the best way to deal with the journalist was to silence her in a most brutal and cowardly attack.
THE NEW TODAY has noticed the deafening silence in the corridors of power in Grenada to the news reports which mentioned agents of the government as having possible links to the killing.
Even the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has locked down its mouth and not prepared to utter a single word on the issue and with clearly obvious reasons.
It was the 2008-13 Congress government that had engaged the CBI agent to put together a passport-selling scheme for the island and the NNP on coming into office in 2013 followed through on the initiative.
The NDC has to keep its mouth shut tightly because Prime Minister Mitchell would waste no time in linking them to the group for the sale of Grenadian passports.
The assassination of the Maltese journalist is a reminder once again of the dangers faced by small Third World developing states that are looking for easy and quick money to satisfy the many promises made to their people.
Many of the islands lack the requisite check and balance system to be able to keep out unsavoury characters that can do untold damage to their country’s image.
Added to this is the fact that some leaders deliberately engage in dealings with such individuals to fill their own pockets with dirty money to advance their political cause.
Where do you think a number of Caribbean Prime Ministers get some of the money from to hold weekly clinics in their constituencies in which envelopes are passed out to certain supporters to buy their loyalty?
Our Caribbean leaders have a notorious record when it comes to doing due diligence on persons coming to our shores to do business.
The imprisoned Alan Stanford was hailed as the “Messiah” to save West Indies cricket until he was brought down in one of the biggest money scandals in the Caribbean.
In the past year, the questionable Robert Martin Oveson showed up on Grenadian soil and was accused of duping businessman Roger Ver of one million U.S dollars in a passport-selling scheme linked to the Levera project in St. Patrick.
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) headed by Superintendent of Police, Tafawa Pierre was responsible for doing the due diligence on Oveson and his company NTL Trust which was an authorised agent for Grenada’s CBI.
The FIU seemingly did not pick up that Oveson had a criminal record in the United States and was the figure behind a failed project in Mexico in which several persons lost millions of dollars.
The onus is now on the Grenada government to use whatever means possible to ascertain that the outfit that is helping to market our passports is squeaky clean and above board.
Who are the owners of the CBI firm allegedly linked to the Maltese slaying? Are they the same people who formed the company or is it a different crew now in charge of the company?
NTL Trust was started by an individual who did not have a criminal record but then it fell into the hands of one Robert Martin Oveson.
THE NEW TODAY would like to refer briefly to the untenable situation in which both the private bar and the government legal apparatus are run by the wife and husband team of Dr. Lawrence Joseph and Anande Trotman-Joseph.
Where is the morality and integrity in this situation?
As heads of the Integrity Commission, this newspaper would at least have expected Mrs. Trotman Joseph to step down for the time being as President of the Grenada Bar Association (GBA) and allow her deputy to run the body while her husband fulfils his short-term assignment as Acting Attorney-General.