Foreign Affairs Minister, Nickolas Steele seems very reluctant to grant an interview to THE NEW TODAY newspaper to be quizzed on matters within his portfolio like the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) scheme and the appointment of overseas diplomats.
This newspaper contacted the Public Relations Officer assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to get him to solicit a one-and-one interview with the minister.
However, one week later, no positive indication has come from the senior government minister that he is willing to be interviewed.
The initial reaction was that Minister Steele would like the questions to be submitted to him and this could not have been agreed to by THE NEW TODAY.
“We would do not such thing as submit our questions to any Minister before hand once it is made clear to him that questions will be asked only about his subject area.
“It is rather unfortunate that Minister Steele would choose this option since he was being given an opportunity to inform the nation on his stewardship of the Foreign Affairs portfolio since he was appointed to the post just over a year ago.
As a public service, THE NEW TODAY would submit to the public the list of questions which this newspaper was seeking information about from a Cabinet Minister who should be fully informed about all the issues being raised.
(1). What is the status of the French Mission that was established?
(2). What is the name and nationality of the Ambassador designate by the Government of Grenada to France and the European Community?
(3). How many years has the Ambassador lived in Grenada? How many times has the Ambassador ever visited Grenada?
(4).Who pays the Ambassador’s salary?
(5). Who pays for the Office in France?
(6).What is the cost of the Office in France, inclusive of its Staffing?
(7). Why was the Office in Brussels closed?
(8). What is the Strategic Advantage to having an Office in France?
(9). Which other CARICOM Missions have Offices in France and NONE in Brussels?
(10). Why was the Beijing Office downsized?
(11). What savings were achieved and what are the staffing numbers at this time?
(12). How many Diplomatic Agents were recently appointed to Hong Kong?
(13). What are the names of these persons appointed to Hong Kong?
(14). What are the designations of the persons appointed, and what are their permanent addresses?
(15). Is there a Diplomatic Mission (Office) in Hong Kong? What is the Address of this Office?
(16). What is the purpose of the Diplomatic Office in Hong Kong?
(17). Have the persons designated to Hong Kong, been properly received by the Government of China?
(18). Have these persons been operating, advertising, promoting, acting or advocating in a manner to suggest that they are appointed to Hong Kong?
(19) Who pays the salary of these diplomatic agents to Hong Kong?
(20). What are the nationalities of these persons appointed to Hong Kong?
(21). How many times have they visited Grenada? How long have they lived in Grenada? What is their connection with Grenada?
(22). What were these diplomatic agents promised in exchange for the expenditures that they will incur for Grenada in Hong Hong?
(23). Has the Government of China reacted to Grenada (the sending State) in connection with these Diplomatic Agents? In other words has Beijing accepted these Diplomatic Agents appointed by Grenada to operate in Hong Kong?
(24). Are these Diplomatic Agents appointed to Hong Kong intended to work or act as Agents to the Grenada Economic Investment Programme (GEIP)?
(25). Have they in any way been advertising the CBI programme, via the Internet, via actions or otherwise?
(26). If the Government of Grenada were to discover that these persons designated to Hong Kong, have been promoting the GEIP, in violation of the Grenada Citizenship by Investment Act, is the Government prepared to take legal corrective action consistent with the Act.?
(27) Has the U.S government accepted Mr. Derek James as Grenada’s Honorary Consul to New York?
(28). What is the criteria used to award a diplomatic passport to the wife of the Minister of Foreign Affairs – when the spouses and husbands of other ministers of the government who are not in the direct employ of the State – do not have similar diplomatic passports?
(29). What is the reason for upgrading the passport of Chester Humphrey from Official to Diplomatic when he is not even a member of the Senate, Parliament or the government?
(30). How many passports have been sold so far under the CBI programme?