“The people of Grenada deserve a government that will act more responsible”.
Those were the words uttered against the Keith Mitchell-led government in Grenada by a disappointed Roger Ver who is seeking torecover US$1 million that he claimed he was tricked into handing over to controversial Utah businessman, Robert Martin Oveson for a passport that he never got.
Oveson is the Managing Director of the Nevis-based NTL Trust, a company approved by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government in St. George’s as an authorised marketing agent for its passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI).
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson has confirmed to THE NEW TODAY newspaper that he has ordered a criminal investigation into the alleged fraud based on a formal complaint filed by Ver with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
In an open letter to the people of Grenada, Ver who was born in the United States but has homes in Tokyo, Japan and St. Kitts, accused the NNP regime of failing to live up to its responsibility to adequately look into the matter that involves passport-selling agents on the government Website.
Oveson was being promoted in November as the Developer of the multi-million dollar Levera project in the north of the island.
Ver stopped short of branding Minister of State for Education, Senator Simon Stiell a liar over his claim, that the businessman did receive back the monies that he had sent with the hope of landing a Grenadian passport.
As a public service, this newspaper reproduces in full Ver’s open letter to the People of Grenada on the apparent loss of his US$1 million through the CBI programme:
“I am writing this letter in response to recent statements made by Minister of State for Education, Senator Simon Stiell at a Government Press conference. At the outset, I wish to make it clear I have no political favourites nor do I have any interest in any political election in Grenada.
I also wish to make it clear that I have no criticism to make of the Grenada government’s decision to reject my application for citizenship. I fully recognise that the granting of citizenship is a decision that rests solely with the government of Grenada and I have no right to Grenada citizenship.
I do not intend to reapply for citizenship nor do I have any plans to become a resident of Grenada. The only reason I am writing this letter is to make sure the good citizens of Grenada are honestly informed about my loss of USD$1 million to NTL, Robert Martin Oveson, and the developers of the Levera Beach Resort.
Senator Simon Stiell has branded as “politically-motivated” questions raised about the US$1 million loss with respect to my investment in the Levera project, which he claims are being done “to try to stop the project.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
I have no interest in stopping the Levera project but it should certainly not be allowed to go forward using the proceeds of my loss that is now being investigated by the Grenada Police and in which a civil lawsuit has been filed in the Grenada High Court.
If the Levera project can raise the necessary capital by honest means, it should go forward.
What I expect of the government of Grenada is to require the proceeds of my loss to be returned to me and, until that is done, the project should not be on the list of Government-approved projects that have qualified for the Grenada Citizenship by Investment programme.
To include the Levera project on the government’s approved list, knowing it is being built with proceeds from my loss will put the government in a bad light.
The people of Grenada deserve better government, not politicians who will turn a blind eye.
Senator Simon Stiell told reporters that he has taken note of “the amount of coverage and questions that are being asked about the Levera Project.” “It raises questions certainly in my own mind as to why there is so much attention and so much resistance to the success of this project,” he said.
Senator Stiell clearly has lost all perspective on this matter.
People are not resistant to the success of the Levera Project, they are concerned about my USD$1 million loss, and they are even more concerned about the government’s lack of concern over my loss.
If someone robbed a bank and started a development with the stolen money, would it be ok until the thieves are caught and the money returned to the bank?
Senator Simon Stiell was asked at the press briefing whether the NNP regime is concerned about its CBI programme in light of the million-dollar lawsuit brought by me against Oveson in the local court. He said this is merely a private matter between two private business persons and has absolutely nothing to do with government.
It is absolutely incredible that Senator Stiell could make such a claim. Despite the fact that over four months ago the government of Grenada was advised by me of my loss to NTL Trust and Robert Martin Oveson, yet NTL Trust continues to be listed on the government’s website at Section 10 and Section 11 (as) Authorised International Marketing Agents.
The government refers to them as “trusted global marketers who are permitted to promote, market, and disseminate information about Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.” This can be found at the following page: http://www.cbi.gov.gd/grenada-citizenship/marketing-agents/.
If this had happened in St. Kitts or any other country with an economic citizenship program, NTL Trust would have been immediately removed from the government website, and suspended pending a full investigation of the matter. But the present government of Grenada did nothing whatsoever to warn future victims and protect the public from NTL Trust.
Shame on this government and shame on Senator Stiell for trying to pretend that this has “absolutely nothing to do with the government.” It has everything to do with this government and its utter lack of regard for NTL’s and Oveson’s conduct which is disgraceful.
Senator Stiell told the local press that my money was returned. I will give the Senator the benefit of the doubt and assume he is not dishonest but instead spoke from complete ignorance.
To make it crystal clear, that is absolutely false. None of my US$1 million has been returned to me.
Senator Stiell stated that I have “absolutely no issue with the programme or the government of Grenada.” Again, nothing could be further from the truth. I feel the government of Grenada has been irresponsible in its dealing with this matter.
It is disgraceful what Senator Stiell would say about my $1 million loss that involved passport selling agents listed on the government website, and are still listed, that “This isn’t a matter that concerns us – we are comfortable in terms of government’s responsibility. We have fulfilled all our obligations timely and in keeping with the laws and the protections that are built into that.”
The people of Grenada deserve a government that will act more responsible.
Finally, I have been asked why I have not sued the government of Grenada. My answer is simple, any judgment against the government would have to be paid by the good citizens of Grenada. I have no interest in collecting any money from the people of Grenada. And I trust the people of Grenada do not want to realise any benefits from the proceeds of my loss, perpetrated upon me by passport selling agents listed on the government website.