The former government of Tillman Thomas is being accused of blackmailing the Keith Mitchell led government as the country’s financial challenges mount.
Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Kenny Lalsingh, complained at last week’s Senate meeting held at the Grenada Trade Centre, that they have been annoyed by decisions such as the sale of the Drill Yard on Young Street and the old St. James Hotel on Grand Etang Road in St. George’s by the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) led administration.
Lalsingh said that his government is trying to build a new police headquarters to cut rental fees throughout the country and create a permanent environment needed to ensure the proper function of the RGPF administration.
He said that the site identified years ago was the Old St James facility to house the RGPF Headquarters, but the administration came back to office following the February 19 General Election to discover that this property was forced onto the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), for $6 million and the Drill Yard, in close proximity, was sold for $2.6 million so that government can pay the salaries of public officers.
Under a former NNP government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, funds earmarked by a Caricom facility financed by Trinidad and Tobago to assist the island’s coast Guard were diverted to pay salaries of civil servants.
The Minister with responsibility for Implementations in the Ministry of National Security, Public Administration, Disaster Management, Home Affairs, Information and Implementation, said that for the New National Party (NNP) administration to consider building a headquarters for the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) it must first find $8.6 million to pay NIS before “we can talk about building the police headquarters.”
“I’m just making that point very strongly, because this is an annoying thing. You want to move forward but you are blackmailed, the government is blackmailed by decisions taken by the previous government. And when you hear them (opposition) speaking about we not delivering, how could you deliver when you have inherited a situation that you have to correct”, Lalsingh said.
“Nevertheless we have delivered. We have delivered in every area of Government so far”, he added.
Other properties which were sold under the Congress administration included the former Electoral Office on Woolwich Road, St George, the former TV Station in Morne Jaloux, the former Radio Station on Scott Street, Sandino Plant at Mt Hartman, and Hotel California in Morne Rouge which was once used as the base for the Special Branch of the police force.