Political Leader of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Senator Nazim Burke, has dismissed claims that party officials collected money from Taiwan during a recent visit to neighbouring St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
In a statement issued last week Friday, the Congress leader labelled the accusation as a “poisonous insinuation, contrary to the party’s position to adhere to the One China Policy.”
Sen. Burke believes that the accusations are being peddled by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his ruling New National Party (NNP) in what he termed a “sick, sinister effort to gain financial resources to finance their political campaign” in the face of imminent general elections.
“We have pronounced repeatedly both in public and to the Chinese officials that we adhere to the One-China Policy. We stand by that and we reiterate that position today”, he said.
“This poisonous insinuation, to the contrary (is) undoubtedly being peddled by surrogates of the New National Party in a sick and sinister effort to gain financial resources to finance their political campaign and to ensure that the National Democratic Congress is isolated and marginalised,” he added.
Sen. Burke was part of a delegation sent by NDC to St. Vincent to attend the July 15 funeral service of the late Theresa Francis, the mother of Vincentian Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
President of the Senate, Chester Humphrey also attended the funeral service as the official representative of the Government Grenada.
Sen. Humphrey, a former member of Congress, is now aligned to NNP under the banner of ‘Project Grenada” with a host of expelled NDC members.
According to Sen. Burke, the allegations of NDC receiving Taiwanese funds surfaced as soon as the delegation returned home.
“We are absolutely confident that the Government and People of China will not fall victim to this mischief and will see it for what it is.
“We understand of course that they (NNP) will continue to play these games as we head to the General Elections. They will continue to use their surrogates to make these false claims and we just have to stay focused and continue to do our work.
“We of course have repeatedly said that we fully understand, appreciate and are most thankful to the Government and people of China for the contributions that they have made to the development of our country, the programmes and projects that they have instituted and supported. Today we want to reiterate that gratitude and thanks and appreciation.
“So, these statements and these insinuations are truly not deserving of any further comment but we will only say we trust that the Government and people of China will see this for what it is. It is nothing but political greed that is fuelling this kind of conduct.
Grenada had established ties with Taiwan during the 1998-90 rule of late Prime Minister Herbert Blaize.
Current Prime Minister Mitchell was a major financial beneficiary of financial and economic aid from Taiwan until Hurricane Ivan devastated the island in September 2004.
Within months, the Mitchell-led NNP decided to break off diplomatic ties with Taipei in the face of a lucrative offer from Mainland China that included rebuilding of the hurricane-ravaged sporting stadium at Queen’s Park and an offer of assistance in a low-cost housing scheme.