The New Today

Commentary

Judgment in favour of Oleg Firer – Part II

In his June 2017 interview with International Affairs, Ambassador Firer noted that PM Keith Mitchell would become Chair of CARICOM in July 2017 and the expectation was that “many projects are reasonably discussed at the level of this organization”. Grenada hosted New Dawn Conference, Inaugural Russian/Eurasian-Caribbean Forum, described as an economic, media and academic forum, at the Radisson Beach Resort, from November 1st – 3rd., during the PM Mitchell’s tenure as chair of CARICOM.

Special Interests Forum: This forum appeared to have been a special interests forum – the investment interests of relatively “newly minted citizens” and a “special project” of the Russian powers that be– how could the Russian Federation cultivate and assert its presence and influence in the debt- burdened, cash-strapped region, using Grenada as the platform.

Grenada’s Role: What were the conditions associated with Grenada’s “debt relief”? Were these tied to the global ambitions of Russian authorities to re-establish super power status as the former USSR and a sphere of influence in the Caribbean and in Latin America?

Dr. Sergey Brilev: Dr. Sergey Brilev was the conceptualizer and one of the organizers of this forum. What was/is the role of Dr. Sergey Brilev in helping “Russian authorities” to realize those ambitions?   At the time of the New Dawn Conference, he was a Russian TV presenter, writer and public figure. Deputy Director of the Rossiya TV channel for special informational projects, Co-founder and President of the Bering-Bellingshausen Institute for Both Americas (Montevideo), member of the Praesidium of the Foreign and Defence Policy Council (Moscow)

New Dawn: Were the Russian “authorities” “playing” to the special sentiments associated with the Revolution which was described as a new dawn by our Revolutionary leaders. Was this new dawn referring to Russia’s attempts to recapture the glory days of the former USSR and its influence in the Caribbean region?

St. George’s Club: An output of that forum was the formation of the St. George’s Club to create a permanent channel for to facilitate Eurasian-Caribbean dialogue.   It seems to be the club of newly-minted citizens of a certain country or countries sporting Grenadian passports.

Any Link to Debt Relief Conditions:   Was the hosting of the New Dawn Conference 2017, part of the conditions/agreement/expectations of the Russian authorities in respect of debt relief to be granted to Grenada?

Embassy of Grenada’s Website: Ref. to Fundamental Agreement, GoG- Russian Federation

Website Note of Jan. 25th, 2020: There was an interesting item on the Embassy of Grenada’s website, of January 25th, 2020 – Order of the President of the Russian Federation № 7-rp in the name of President V. Putin:-

“Accept the proposal of the Government of the Russian Federation to sign the Fundamental Agreement between the Russian Federation and Grenada.

Upon reaching an agreement with the Grenadian side, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia to sign the Agreement on behalf of the Russian Federation, allowing it to introduce amendments to its draft approved by the Government of the Russian Federation that are not of a fundamental nature.”

Fundamental Agreement: What is/was the Fundamental Agreement? Over what period? What areas are/were covered under this agreement?

Amendments: What are/were these amendments that are not of a fundamental nature? Are these amendments desired by the Government of Grenada or the Russian Federation? Or otherwise?

Reef View Enterprises Ltd. (RVE) CBI Agent and Embassy of Grenada to Russian Federation

Was local CBI agent, Reef View Enterprises, linked to the International Association for Economic Development (IAED), co-founded by then Ambassador Oleg Firer in November 2020? What was/is its relationship with the former Ambassador?

Did it have a agent based in Moscow, Ekaterina Lapitskaya?

Besides its address at Le Marquis Complex, Grand Anse did it operate at the address of the Embassy of Grenada to the Russian Federation

Clarifications Required
Year of First Visit: In what year did Mr. Firer first visit in Grenada, 2012 or 2015?

Introduction to Grenada: Who/what introduced Mr. Firer to Grenada? Who introduced him to the Prime Minister (2015)/Leader of the Opposition(2012), Dr. Keith Mitchell?

Establishment of Embassy of Grenada: What were the arrangements with the Russian Federation in respect of the establishment of the Embassy?

Costs of Establishing/Operating Embassy: How were the costs of establishment and operations of the Embassy to be met? Based on information provided by Mr. Firer, he bore the costs of the establishment and operations of the Embassy. One could conclude that is for the period 2017 – 2019. In exchange for this contribution, what favour or privileges were afforded the Ambassador?

2020:   A diplomatic note was received on the outstanding debt re rental for the period 2020 – 2021. One notes that in the gov.gd website, for the first time, Mr. Firer’s name appeared among the diplomatic and consular representatives abroad. There was no allocation in the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Embassy of Grenada to the Russian Federation.   Was there some change of arrangements with /change of status of the Ambassador?

Fundamental Agreement, GoG-Russian Federation: What is this Fundamental Agreement? Was it ever signed? By whom? When?

Issue of Diplomatic Passport: Based on the information provided by Mr. Firer, he was appointed Ambassador in April 2017 but was issued his first diplomatic passport in August 2018, on the first anniversary of the establishment of the Embassy. Why was there the delay in issuing the diplomatic passport?

Recall of Ambassador: What triggered the Cabinet’s decision to recall Mr. Firer as Ambassador?

Delay in Informing Ambassador: Why was there a delay in informing Mr. Firer? Was the delay on the part of Cabinet, the Minister of Foreign Affairs or on the part of the public servants?

Conversation with Grenada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs: Did the Minister of Foreign Affairs advise Mr. Firer to ignore any communication until the end of elections?   Which Minister was that? What was his rationale for that advice to the Ambassador? Was he one of the dissenting voices re the Cabinet’s recall decision?

Debt Relief: Did Grenada obtain the debt relief promised?

In the Fullness of Time
Until now, we the people were not aware of the recall of Ambassador Firer prior to the June 2022 elections. And we the people remain “in the dark” about the circumstances of the recall. Apparently so was/is the former Ambassador, resulting in damages being awarded to him on the basis of “procedural unfairness” – his recall as resident ambassador without him being informed   of “the specific allegations of impropriety against him and allowing him an opportunity to make representations prior to his recall”.

Was the recall decision of Cabinet/recall letter part of some scripted theatre? Was it about “covering some rear” in the event of some circumstance/happening?

We the people question whether there is “more in the mortar besides the pestle” and we remind ourselves that “time longer than twine”!!  This question will be answered “in the fullness of time”.

Sandra Ferguson