Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs, Elvin Nimrod has hinted that the recommendations made by Barbadian Attorney-at-Law, Richard Cheltenham on the appointment of non-nationals as diplomats were not considered in issuing a diplomatic passport to embattled Chinese Investor, Charles Liu.
Dr. Cheltenham was recruited under a former New National Party (NNP) government to probe into allegations that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell had accepted a bribe of US$500, 000.00 in a briefcase from fraudster Eric Resteiner in St. Moritz, Switzerland in June 2000 in exchange for a diplomatic position.
The Barbadian jurist recommended that a major trust in going forward is to exclude non-nationals who are recruited for diplomatic service to be awarded diplomatic passports.
He suggested the use of official passports to non-national diplomats and for those who volunteer their services to be excluded since “they almost always have an interest of their own which may be wholly inconsistent with the best interests of the country”.
Ambassador Liu was recruited and given the post of Commercial Attaché’ to the Grenada Embassy in Beijing and handed a diplomatic passport.
The Chinese businessman who is the leading investor in the $2 Billion Mt Hartman Project, has been charged with fraud by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States over use of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme in the United States.
The SEC imposed an asset freeze against Liu and his wife for misusing two thirds of the money that they raised from investors for the purpose of building a Cancer hospital in the US.
Liu has become the first person with a Grenadian economic citizenship passport to be charged following the reintroduction of the passport selling scheme by the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration two years ago.
During Tuesday’s post-Cabinet Press Briefing, Minister Nimrod was specifically asked if any of Cheltenham’s recommendations were considered by the NNP regime in issuing the diplomatic passport to Liu.
Without being specific, the No.2 man in the administration said: “I cannot remember whether or not Cheltenham recommendations include due diligence, I wouldn’t think so…”.
“…Mr. Cheltenham recommendations are just what it is recommendations.
Government has a responsibility and on obligation to run the country in the manner in which the government receive a mandate. So Mr. Cheltenham, our respect to him cannot tell us to whom to give diplomatic passports because Barbados, his country does the same thing in certain limited instances,” he added.
THE NEW TODAY understands that Barbados does not have a Citizenship
By Investment Scheme in which non-nationals can purchase passports.
However, Minister Nimrod said that the Grenada government did the necessary due diligence on Liu before recruiting him to serve as one of the country’s diplomats.
“Charles Lui is a citizen of Grenada through the CBI programme which is legal. The government obligation before making the appointment was
to do a due diligence and that was done. As a matter of fact, coincidently one of the Agencies that did a due diligence test was a US based agency and of course we’ve done everything that we’re supposed to do…”, he told