Former Prime Minister of Grenada Tillman Thomas should be extremely proud of himself given the current corruption scandal that FIFA and many of its executive members including our own Jack Warner are allegedly involved in.
Given his philosophy on the fundamental principles of accountability, transparency and good governance former Prime Minister Thomas would make the ideal candidate for President of FIFA.
Grenada and its citizens missed a golden opportunity to fully embrace Tillman Thomas and his moral and ethical values. Thomas tried to cultivate a culture of political, social and economic purification for his country in a manner that no other Prime Minister did.
As Prime Minister of Grenada he championed the cause of these principles even when he was heavily criticised by Keith Mitchell and the opposition NNP. He made a gallant effort to change the culture of corruption that was created by 13 years of NNPism.
Corruption then seemed to be the norm during the period 1995 to 2008.
The country lost millions of dollars and no one was ever held accountable for this travesty.
Today as a consequence of the alleged corrupt practices during that period Grenada’s national debt went from 373.5 million EC dollars to over 2 billion dollars. The economic difficulties facing the nation currently are a direct result of the alleged corruption and mismanagement of that infamous period of governance of the NNP.
FIFA is embroiled in a similar scenario to what occurred in Grenada during that era. A number of FIFA executives allegedly engaged in wire fraud, racketeering, and corruption to the tune of over 150 million dollars. Given dollar for dollar this sum is far less than what Grenada lost under the NNP between 1995 and 2008.
Unfortunately for the people of Grenada, while a number of FIFA officials have been charged and under investigation not a single politician in Grenada is held accountable for those huge sums of monies that can’t be accounted for.
What is even more unfortunate is that the vast majority of the Grenadian electorate gave the same perpetrators an overwhelming mandate to continue their corrupt form of governance. No wonder their economic malaise continues unabated.
There are some striking similarities between the governance style of Sepp Blatter and that of Grenada’s Prime Minister Keith Mitchell.
Both men have been at the helm of their respective disciplines for over 30 years. Sepp Blatter has been involved with FIFA at various levels since 1974, while Mitchell has been involved in politics since 1972. Both men have very strong dictatorial tendencies and an innate hatred for any opposition or dissent. Their tenure has both been marred by allegations of mismanagement and corruption.
The pressure eventually became too great for Sepp Blatter. Four days
after winning a fifth term as President of FIFA he unceremoniously resigned. Mitchell, however, continues to ply his trade with the blessings of his newfound cronies Chester Humhrey and Peter David.
One day he will have to account to the people for his stewardship of their country. The arm of justice is extremely long. British Prime Minister David Cameron is on record as calling for an end to corruption in the world. Let’s hope that his words will be followed by some decisive actions.
FIFA, the world’s premier body governing world football, the most popular sport is currently embroiled in a major corruption scandal.
For decades the organisation has been marred by allegations of corruption which were vehemently denied by Sepp Blatter, the longstanding President.
Like Mitchell, Sepp Blater denied and defended the many allegations
of corruption against FIFA over the many decades. Had it not been for the United States Justice Department, FIFA would have continued on its filthy road of corruption. While these actions may not completely eradicate the scourge of corruption in world football, one thing is certain and that is, it won’t be business as usual, as is the case in Grenada under Mitchell.
There is a serious culture of corruption in regional politics. The leaders of many of these countries govern their respective countries like a piece of their real estate. In many of these countries, including Grenada, millions of dollars have been lost as a result of allegedly corrupt deals and practices.
The recent revelations by Trinidad and Tobago MP Jack Warner, who himself has been charged and is under investigation by the US Justice Department, is a major cause of concern for the people of the region.
No one should be surprised if these investigations revealed malfeasance within the Grenada Football Association (GFA) and the involvement of local politicians, including the leadership of the country.
Former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas believed in his soul that, as a country and its people, stability, sustainable growth and development are only possible if there is accountability and transparency in the governance of the country.
He didn’t receive the support of CARICOM, regional leaders and institutions in his effort to change the culture of corruption in Grenada and the Caribbean. His efforts to change this culture were vehemently resisted. Attempts were made to make him a scapegoat and someone out of touch with reality. The events of the past weeks are proof that Tillman Thomas was right. Many persons now come to the realisation of the merits of what he was trying to accomplish.
The question one must ask themselves is – would the Caribbean and CONCACAF be facing this level of embarrassment had Tillman Thomas received the support of the various stakeholders including regional Presidents and Prime Ministers?
Tillman Thomas refused to allow Joseph Gilbert to continue to serve as a minister in his administration after allegations of corruption surfaced against him. Today, the said Joseph Gilbert has found refuge in the house of the NNP.
Happy Birthday, Uncle Tilly, the peace loving and decent Grenadians salute you. FIFA could definitely do with the services of men and women like you. What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul? You may never have 19 million dollars in assets, but the asset that you bring to Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique is worth much more than silver and gold.
The political leader of the NDC Hon Nazim Burke, the NDC national executive and all sympathizers and supporters of the NDC and the entire state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique love you.
Happy Birthday. The principles that you stand for will prevail.