Editorials

Breakdown of the system!!!

The Cletus St. Paul issue is a classic case of a political directorate undermining state institutions in the country.

THE NEW TODAY is offering no comment on this stage as to whether Mr. St. Paul committed or did not commit the act for which a serious allegation has been made against him by a female member of the Grenadian society.

The allegation stems from the fact that Mr. St. Paul was given responsibility by someone in the current Keith Mitchell-led administration to identify a piece of government land for a lady who was in desperate need of a plot of land for a house.

This newspaper is not aware that Mr. St Paul is a member of the public service or an employee of the government ministry or department that handles land belonging to the state.

It is well known in the country that this gentleman is part of the Security detail put in place for the protection of the Prime Minister of the country, Dr. Keith Mitchell.

So, it begs the question – where or who gave Mr. St. Paul the authority to locate and distribute State lands to anyone in the country?

The current holder of the office of Prime Minister has told Grenadians that the “system” is broken but stopped short of saying that it needed to be fixed and who is going to fix it.

But here is a classic case in point of a situation under the very nose of the Prime Minister that the evidence points clearly to someone who is part of his security entourage is involved in contributing in a significant manner to the breakdown of the system.

Unless, some kind of evidence is put before us the conclusion of this newspaper is that Mr. St. Paul has no authority whatsoever to deal with the disbursement of government lands.

One month earlier, the breakdown in the “system” as alluded to by the Prime Minister happened under his watch as the Minister responsible for the Physical Planning Unit (PPU) in an incident involving the acting head of the department, Mr. Fabian Purcell.

It is public knowledge that Mr. Purcell was forced to take leave from the post following a report carried by this newspaper in which he admitted that he collected money from the developers of the failed Shrimp Farm project for doing work that did not get any approval from the Public Service Commission (PSC).

The goodly gentleman also admitted that he did not pay to the State any of the taxes due to it on the financial transaction with the Shrimp farm developers.

But the issue that attracts our mind is the person who was sent into PPU to take over from Mr. Purcell, the current Treasurer of the ruling New National Party (NNP) government, Mr. Carlton Frederick.

The Public Service Commission (PSC) is responsible for the hiring of all public officers and is on record as saying that it did not appoint Mr. Frederick to the position.

New information has surfaced within recent days about the manner in which Mr. Frederick was literally “chased” from the Department following a Commission of Inquiry in the 1995-99 period when massive corruption was discovered.

One of the commissioners was former Attorney General, Cajeton Hood and another was the well-respected former Accountant General in the Ministry of Finance, Richard Duncan who is now serving as Managing Director of the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited (GCBL).

The report submitted by the commission is that the entire staff at PPU including Mr. Frederick should be dismissed and that not one of them should ever again be brought back to serve in the public service.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, which appears on Page 18 & 21 of this week’s issue of the paper, Mr. Hood made the following comments:

  • All or most of the staff members of the PPU were interviewed face to face, certainly all the professional staff members, and the unopposed and clear conclusion was that of systemic, deliberate and morbid corruption;
  • The entire professional staff of the PPU was made to tender their resignations;
  • The head of the PPU that you have now appointed was the head of the PPU at the time and during the period over which the investigation covered.
  • Mr. Prime Minister, I know that the person is one of your strong supporters but to now appoint that same person as head of the PPU at this time of turmoil demonstrates to me that you hold a callous disregard for all that is proper and upright in the area of good national governance and proper standards. It is like a slap in the face of every right-thinking Grenadian and it is an unbridled insult to the moral fabric of our dear nation”.

THE NEW TODAY invites Grenadians to think back to the recommendation made by former Barbados high court judge Lindsay Worrell who was invited by the 1984-90 NNP government of late Prime Minister Herbert Blaize to investigate alleged acts of corruption under a number of government departments and statutory bodies that fell under the portfolio of Dr. Mitchell as Minister of Works back in those days.

Justice Worrell stated quite clearly that one Dennis Campbell, a close relative of Prime Minister Dr. Mitchell who was at one time Chairman of Grenlec and Manager of NAWASA should never ever be allowed to hold any public office in the country based on the evidence that was gathered against him in the Commission of Inquiry.

However, within months of getting into office as Prime Minister of the country in 1995, Dr. Mitchell was lending the said Dennis Campbell and his cohorts in the Call Centre approximately EC$18 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to invest in the company.

And what is sad is that despite assurances given to Parliament by PM Mitchell that the money will be paid back, the Treasury is still to receive a penny from Denis Campbell and company.

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