Lo and behold, the time cometh; the money passeth; Grenlec changeth hands; the old, infamous guard ruleth; and the regime dumbeth!
Who would have thought that two rich men in Grenadian politics who assaulted and insulted Grenlec for twenty-six years; and who seemingly have boastfulness, reprisals, and wrong-doing deep in their DNA, would stay mute and dumb for days after resuming their hold on Grenlec for the last time before they passeth to the great beyond?
But there is nothing new under the Grenadian sun. When the public purse was used to buy ‘interest’ in Call Centers, the NNP remained silent until the secret was exposed. When Gregory brought technicians from Europe to install traffic lights, money having been borrowed from a Dutch bank to finance the project, not even the Ministry of Finance knew, far less the Parliament. (First-hand facts!) So, there is an established pattern at work.
The pattern is one of ‘corrupt recklessness’, ‘corrupt abuse’ and ‘corrupt disrespect’ for the Grenadian people and their institutions of governance. And the people have condoned it such that it has multiplied relentlessly and unpatriotically. Many have uncaringly become dumb.
WRB states publicly that their shares were purchased by the Government of Grenada. The source of funds to execute the purchase was not the Treasury nor was it explicitly approved by the Parliament. Indications are that a third party seems to be involved in a bank-facilitated transaction.
Everyone knows that there are two major sources of foreign money into Grenada: the Chinese and the CBI Program. In either case, those who provided the money could be expected to have done so on terms exceptionally favourable to themselves. There might even be a condition not to disclose the actual lender at all or until the passage of a period of time or upon the prevalence of certain events.
The question is whether the Government of Grenada has the authority to deal in clandestine, meaning unpublicised dollars? The further question is whether the nature of such dealings, to the extent that they constrain the Government to hide information from the citizens, temporarily or otherwise, are consistent with the constitutional requirement that the Government must take action that promotes “good government”?
Our contention is that “good government” requires that the regime acts impartially, transparently, and non-corruptly such that the citizens receive benefits that are worthy and not contaminated by wrong-doing of any kind.
Truth be told, all this fancy talk has no effect on a regime that has grown-up on transactions, projects and schemes that blind the eye once monies flow, and some people get wuk.
So, crown lands may have been conveyed to the ‘undercover’ lender. Maritime territory may have been signed-away to the lender. Properties of various kinds may have been sold to the lender.
Has Government acted in the public interest? There is no means of rigorously testing any of these issues up to this point.
Government’s limited statement, reasonably evaluated, gives rise to five points of note, i.e., ownership is in the hands of the State; the source of funds remains undisclosed; a certain lender, not having the character of a bank, may well have extracted onerous terms and conditions; until a competent management company is found (whenever and at whatever price), control and direction of Grenlec will be exercised by the ‘Cabinet’; no ‘divestment policy’ (principles, processes, timelines, etc.) has been announced or promised.
These are disturbing signs that things could get messy. The call to provide full and timely disclosure and to ventilate the issues across Grenada and in the Parliament is now even more urgent.
In 1994, WRB paid for majority shares in Grenlec and everyone knew the details, so much so that Keith and Gregory made the loudest noises characterising the sale as a give-away! But we got power reliably for twenty-six years. Yes, we paid a ‘hot’ price, but we could put meat in our refrigerators. Our children could study under light bulbs. Industry could produce relying on a dependable source of energy. And the company’s footprint was visible across Grenada supporting social, cultural, and educational causes.
The Grenlec of 1994-2020 qualifies as a proud legacy of the NDC administration of 1990-95. There was no smelling rat neither was anything rotting in St. George’s.
There has been no urgency to talk about the give-away of oil and gas rights in recent years. They have so mastered the ‘dumb lock down’ that there is no urgency to talk in full about the buy-back of Grenlec shares.
Whose business is this? Does it belong to the two rich men who control the Cabinet and who are as brazenly arrogant as they are filthy rich?
Some people have business in Liechtenstein, New York and elsewhere that they are unlikely to talk to the Integrity Commission about. Some people have investments in land, buildings, transportation, fishing, and many, many more that may not be told to the Integrity Commission. Lawlessness is a feature of a failed state and a broken society.
It is crying times again in Grenada because it is reaping time!
Frankly, money accumulation and money-based secrets have become the most successful projects of the NNP. While the fruits of that success are visible, no one can say that the two rich men have said a public word. Dey lock dumb!
Editor’s note: Minister of Finance Gregory Bowen has since informed the nation that the funds to execute the purchase came from the State.