Speaker of the House of Representative, George McGuire has been told to keep out of the US$150, 000.00 allegations made by former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell against a senior member of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Tillman Thomas.
Parliamentary Representative for Carriacou and Petite Martinique, Elvin Nimrod bashed the Speaker during the New National Party’s (NNP) Rally held Sunday at Telescope, St Andrew.
Nimrod took strong objection to the Speaker’s announcement during the Sitting of the House of Representatives last month that he will write a “take note” letter to the management of Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited.
“…I shall therefore write a take note letter to the bank named by Dr. Mitchell to ensure that confidentiality has not been breached”, the Speaker told the sitting.
The ongoing battle originated from an allegation made by Opposition Leader Dr Mitchell on May 15 in Parliament that he has solid evidence that US$150,000.00 came into Republic Bank for a senior official of government (NDC) from Saudi Arabia.
The Opposition promised to provide the nation with evidence of the transaction but in recent weeks announced that Dr. Mitchell had passed it onto his lawyers.
Prime Minister Thomas has told the nation that he collected US$50, 000.00 in his personal account at Republic Bank as a political contribution to his Congress party.
Nimrod accused McGuire of demonstrating bias since his appointment to the post of Speaker by the NDC-led Government.
He said the Speaker sat in the seat for four years while allegations were made against the Opposition Leader about the “briefcase affair” without asking anyone to present evidence.
This is reference to allegation made by a Miami-based publication that Dr. Mitchell had journeyed to St. Moritz, Switzerland in June 2000 to collect a bribery payment of US$500, 000.00 from imprisoned fraudster Eric Resteiner in exchange for a diplomatic posting.
Resteiner’s former Chief of Security, Timothy Bass who claimed to have videotaped the transaction had given testimony in an affidavit that his former employer had indicated to him that he had made a similar payment of US$500, 000 to Mitchell in Grenada in order to land the job.
The former Prime Minister has consistently denied the allegation, stating that he collected “approximately US$15, 000.00” from the fraudster as promised reimbursement for undertaking an investment mission to Europe on behalf of government.
In addressing the Speaker’s “take note” letter to Republic Bank, Nimrod said: “That is not his business, that is not his place, he’s trying to usurp the authority of the judiciary”.
According to Nimrod, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, the real proof to the controversial transaction is the Prime Minister admitting that he received money from a source that he failed to disclose and credited the NNP for exposing the transaction.
The MP for Carriacou & Petite Martinique also pointed accusing fingers at other members of the Congress administration for collecting monies.
“The Prime Minister is not smart and we are not surprised that he isn’t smart because others received monies but did not receive it in their personal account. They send it over to their families in Barbados and other parts of the region, and they set up Uncle Tilly. My friends…they set him up”, Nimrod said.
The opposition parliamentarian chastised PM Thomas for not disclosing the name of the person who made the donation, charging the Prime Minister’s refusal to disclose the source of the contribution is a demonstration of arrogance, lack of transparency and contempt on his part.
Nimrod said he is more convinced now that the continued refusal by the Prime Minister to disclose the source of the US$50,000.00 is a telling indication that the money might have possibly come from an illegal source such as money laundering, drug trafficking or terrorist financing which violates the island’s regulation on Terrorism.
He felt that the Grenadian leader is more interested in protecting the identity of some suspicious Foreign Donor rather than upholding the laws of the country and satisfying the needs of the people.
Nimrod used the NNP platform to call on Prime Minister Thomas to demonstrate his commitment to the principle of accountability by giving a full and accurate account as to how the US $50,000.00 was spent and the source of the contribution.
He said that until and unless such disclosure is made, the Prime Minister cannot claim the moral authority to lead the nation or continue to utter words such as transparency, accountability, good governance and integrity in public life.