The New Today
Editorials

Justice must be seen to be done!!!

THE NEW TODAY will always support efforts by the Customs Department of the Ministry of Finance to collect the just revenue due to the state by all those who import goods into the country.

However, it will not turn a blind eye when there is a perception that certain elements within the division are knowingly or unknowingly used as surrogates and henchmen by the Political Directorate to engage in acts of vendetta against citizens.

It appears on the surface that some persons at Customs are being used in a clandestine manner to get after a particular businessman who did not accept an offer from the ruling New National Party (NNP) to run on its ticket for a constituency on the island in the upcoming general election but choose the option to engage with the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The information at hand seems to suggest that the businessman is being linked to a female member of the Grenada Ports Authority (GPA) who was pulled in by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) a few days ago as part of a probe into allegations that she facilitated the movement of goods by issuing Manual Passes to his private sector concern and in the process the State might have suffered some degree of financial losses.

This is an issue that dates back to several years and was investigated by the then manager of the port, Ambrose Phillip after the Enforcement arm of Customs had provided him with a report into the allegation.

It is our understanding that the issue was not conclusive as GPA did not seemingly obtain sufficient evidence to take the matter much further.

However, the FIU is now involved and has taken over the investigation and detained the female employee from the Port Authority for questioning after such a long time had elapsed.

It seems strange because the outgoing Manager at GPA, Carl Felix was Comptroller of Customs at the time of the allegation and had insight into the matter from both perspectives.

THE NEW TODAY is aware that under the laws of Customs, the Comptroller has a period of up to seven years to pursue persons suspected of defrauding the State of Revenue.

It is not clear whether the statute of limitation on this kind of investigation into the matter involving the businessman and the GPA employee is not out of time at the moment and therefore, justice must be seen to be done at all times.

Over the years, several reports have surfaced in the media about suspected wrong doing in both Customs and GPA in which the culprits have managed to walk away without any punitive action being taken against them.

There was an incident in the lead up to the 2018 general election in which a container with electioneering material for the ruling New National Party (NNP) came into the country from Morocco and the Treasury was short-changed on the duties that should have been payable on the goods.

It is suspected that the NNP did not give Customs the true details of the origin of the container which landed at Port St George as coming from the United States.

Our information is that the container came from Morocco and landed in New York where the NNP surrogates at the Grenada diplomatic office took control and made up documents that showed the origin of the container was the United States.

Those operatives of the ruling party knew that Customs was entitled to charge duties on the Morocco/New York leg for the container. Can those now running Customs clarify this in the national interest?

The situation was even compounded by the fact that when the container with NNP election material landed on the St George’s Port that it was given pre-delivery status and the goods left the port at lightning speed.

The Customs will normally give pre-delivery on goods considered as perishable. The question to be asked – was there any perishable goods inside that container from Morocco to be given such special treatment by Customs?

Over the years, this NNP regime of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has demonstrated that it is prepared to use the long arm of the State against political opponents.

The former Leader of the Opposition, Michael Baptiste is testimony to the manner in which the NNP will go after those who are opposed to its hegemony where control of the State of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique is concerned.

The officers at the Customs Department should be mindful that they have to apply the laws to all and sundry on the island and not allow themselves to be used by politicians in the dirty game called politics.

It will be extremely difficult to defend certain Customs Officers when there is regime change in Grenada and action is taken amidst loud shouts of political victimisation.

Any new government should be afforded the right to remove certain persons from sensitive positions in the public service if there is sufficient evidence of mistrust.

THE NEW TODAY will also like to make some passing remarks on upcoming events on Sunday to mark the 43rd anniversary of the Grenada Revolution that was created by the New Jewel Movement (NJM) of late Prime Minister Maurice Bishop when it used force of arms to overthrow the duly-elected Eric Gairy government on March 13, 1979.

Today, the anniversary of the event has been taken over by the same group of ultra-leftists who brought an end to the Revolutionary process when they executed Prime Minister Bishop and his close colleagues like Unison Whiteman, Jacqueline Creft and Norris Bain on Fort George/Rupert in a hail of bullets from a firing squad.

It is unfortunate that the likes of Dr. Terry Marryshow, Peggy Nestfield, Einstein Louison and Brian Lindsey and company have faded into the background and allowed these rogue elements who were quite rightly branded as the Pol Pots of the Caribbean to try and take over a process that they dismantled and killed in the name of a particular ideology that they pursued under the guidance of Bernard Coard.

It continues to boggle the mind – why are these men trying to celebrate something that they themselves helped to create and then turn around and killed it off as part of a naked and vulgar grab for power by Coard and his OREL group of mass murderers?

There is an urgent need for more contemporary history of Grenada to be taught in our schools to get the future generation to understand the true role of the Coardites who are now back on centre stage, in the demise of the Grenada Revolution.

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