The Keith Mitchell-led government has reacted swiftly to a blog posted on the internet seeking to implicate the island’s Prime Minister with an alleged career fraudster identified as PK Sandhu.
Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele has linked the posting of blogger Miami-based Kenneth Rijock as an election tactic against the ruling new National Party (NNP) government.
In a posting on August 31, Rijock claimed that a UK company alleged that Sandhu who is getting diplomatic protection in Grenada forced it into liquidation due to his so-called “criminal conduct”.
The blogger alleged that Sandhu has relocated to Grenada and is currently out of the reach of UK law enforcement agencies.
Speaking at Tuesday’s post-Cabinet press briefing, Minister Steele accused Rijock of posting blogs as part of an election tactic to prevent the NNP from secure ng victory at the upcoming general elections.
The August 31 blog included a picture which showed Sandhu with his right hand around Prime Minister Mitchell.
The Health Minister told reporters that nothing Rijock posts is anything close to truth.
He said that legal action was taken against Rijock for a previous posting which suggested that one of Grenada’s agents responsible for marketing the passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) had promised an individual a diplomatic passport for US$1,000,000.00 which he never received.
According to Steele, both the Mitchell-led government and the CBI agent took legal action which resulted in the removal of the posting from the blog site.
Two hours after the press briefing, THE NEW TODAY visited the blogger’s website and the posting was still up.
Minister Steele said the most recent attack by the blogger on PM Mitchell is nothing short of the truth.
“He (Rijock) has since decided to attack our Prime Minister and to imply that with pictures posted that there is some relationship to a so-called fraudster that he names, which he just simply gives a name and shows a picture of the individual…inferring that because there is a picture with the Prime Minister that there is some sort of relationship with the Prime Minister (and) that he is under the protection of our Prime Minister because the Prime Minister knows him closely”, he said.
“…That is totally untrue; nothing further from the fact. We all – you – especially members of the press been following our Prime Minister in the public at various times. Many times our Prime Minister stops and poses with individuals of the public (and) that in no way means that any of those individuals – Grenadian or Foreign – that there is some sort of personal relationship or protection….”, he added.
In responding to a question of why Rijock would target Grenada, the senior government minister who is the NNP’s Caretaker for the St. George South constituency pointed out that it was election oriented.
Minister Steele replied: “Why now, why while election is near? What a coincidence that someone out of (the) blue who is a confessed fraudster himself and money launderer, has been chosen, invited or suddenly volunteered himself supposedly to keep an eye and to make slanderous remarks about our programme. He made attempts (in) Dominica, and as far as I am aware there are legal proceedings involved there now.
“…All of a sudden he (Rijock) is trying another small Caribbean island in the hope that we small Caribbean islands may have limited resources and not have the ability to respond appropriately. We do have the law on our side and we do have the right in what we are doing…slander is slander…”, he said.
Minister Steele accused Rijock of trying to damage the reputation of the current NNP administration as there has been no correspondence from the UK to extradite anyone in Grenada for an alleged crime.
He spoke of the blogger indicating in the posting that a UK company was forced into liquidation by the action of Sandhu but did not name the firm.
“What company? What’s the name of the company? You can’t name the company? Can you (Rijock) not give us on your blog the name of the company and the documents to show that this company was liquidated?
(Rijock says) that he (Sandhu) hides behind Grenada Diplomatic Status – what’s the action? Is there a court case? Did this company sue this individual? Are the British police looking for this individual? Interpol? Is there a civil suit or something there? Has there been communication by British police. No.
“We are a government in constant contact with other governments including Interpol and British Police and there has been no request on any individual like this. There has been no request for extradition – there has been no arrest warrant.
“…I believe (1) that he (Rijock) may have been invited or instigated by others who would like to discredit our government – this government at this point in time. The timing isn’t a coincidence… so I think his intentions are quite clear.
THE NEW TODAY has not been able to ascertain if Sandhu is the holder of a Grenada diplomatic passport.
The Mitchell-led government has been under pressure from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to obey the CBI laws and provide Parliament with reports every six months on the sale of Grenadian passports.
Out of seven expected reports, only one has been made to the Lower House since Grenada returned to the CBI programme.