The New Today
Editorials

Messy Levera affair!!!

THE NEW TODAY is extremely concerned about the contents of documents filed in the Supreme Court Registry with respect to the current dispute between the developers of the Levera project, the Grenada Citizen Development Limited (GCDL) and owners of the 256 acre property, the Levera Resort Development Limited (LRDL).

The local courts will have to adjudicate on the case in which GCDL involving brothers Robert and Randy Oveson from Utah in the United States have sued a local lawyer along with LRDL in which British investor Paul Taylor and local businessman Lyden Ramdhanny are the principal operators for US$19.5 million in damages.

However, what this newspaper is particularly concerned about are the court papers including one in which the Oveson brothers as part of the Claim Form revealed the names of some of the 35 foreign investors who poured money into the Levera project.

The list includes the names of at least eight persons who came from countries that are listed in the 2017 report from the U.S government as “State Sponsors of Terrorism”.

It is clear as daylight that these individuals were granted Grenadian citizenship and passports by the current ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell to help lure them to facilitate the work at Levera.

This information was brought Tuesday to the attention of visiting U.S Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela who indicated that Washington will definitely be interested in this matter.

THE NEW TODAY calls on Prime Minister Mitchell who is also the Minister of Home Affairs and the one to give final approval of citizenship to foreigners to explain to the nation the granting of citizenship to eight nationals from Syria, Iran and Iraq – countries deemed by the United States as promoters of state-sponsored terrorism.

It should be recalled that the current rulers used their 15-0 majority in Parliament to make a fundamental change to the legislation governing the passport-selling scheme known as Citizenship By Investment (CBI) in which the names of foreigners who received citizenship would not be published.

Was this done in a deliberate and deceitful manner to hide from the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique the names of persons from certain rogue countries who were giving millions of dollars to so-called development projects on the island?

According to the papers filed in court, six Syrians were granted Grenadian citizenship as a result of Levera project – Rdwan Dass, Mhd Al Hafi, Moutee Marouf Balwi, Elham Edlbi, Mohamad Soutari and Mhd Hassan Kweder.

Mr. Prime Minister, please offer an explanation to the nation on how these people from Syria ended up with Grenadian citizenship given the embargo from the United States.

What about the Iranian national seen in the court papers, Reza Pourbahador and the person from Iraq whose name is given as Abdullah Hassan Mater?

Did the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of Superintendent Tafawa Pierre vet these names to know that all eight foreigners are from countries listed as promoters of State Terrorism by the United States?

The court papers also gave the names of several other foreign individuals who made financial contributions to the Levera projects and belong to countries that were once on the U.S list as sponsors of terrorism – Othman Al-Jawfi, Mohammed Ahmed and Muthanna Al-Bareai of Yemen, Abaseen Emal of Afghanistan and Michel Jean El Asmar of Lebanon.

Shouldn’t a Prime Minister and Minister of National Security be extremely cautious and careful in bringing Grenada’s name into disrepute by faciliating money from individuals from questionable countries to do projects in Grenada?

THE NEW TODAY can inform the nation that the Lyden Ramdhanny/Paul Taylor outfit collected US$ 35 million which is the equivalent of EC$95 million dollars for the sale of the 256 acres of lands at Levera from a Chinese billionaire.

It is clear from the court papers that not one penny of this money was deposited in a local bank as the Ovesons indicated that all monies they paid to Taylor over the years with respect to the Levera project were deposited in a bank in Portugal.

However, a calculation of the sale price revealed that the Treasury should have collected US$5.3 million or EC$14.4 million in land transfer tax from the Chinese businessman who purchased the Levera property under a company name Singapore Heny Sheng (Grenada) Development PTE, Ltd.

The Treasury should have also collected another tidy sum from the Paul Taylor/Lyden Ramdhanny crew in the form of Stamp Tax for the sale of the Levera property.

Can Prime Minister Mitchell who is also the Minister of Finance tell the Grenadian taxpayers if the Treasury collected the EC$14.4 million dollars in land transfer tax plus the thousands due from Stamp tax for the Levera transaction with the Chinese man?

What is also clear is that this EC$14.4 million dollars is enough money to compensate all those persons who were displaced of their lands in Levera by government and received not a single cent over the years to compensate them for their losses.

Are Grenadians living in the north only good to deliver votes for the NNP and the cabal and not to get any of the proceeds from the Chinese investor for lands at Levera?

The Prime Minister should be able to show the nation the receipt from the Treasury that was given to the Chinese purchaser of the lands in Levera as proof to complete the transaction for the sale of the property.

THE NEW TODAY is putting the people of Grenada, Carriaocu & Petitie Martinique on notice that a lot more will be coming out of this Levera issue in the coming weeks as the matter is now before the court with both parties aware of the fact that they have a lot to lose over this messy Levera affair.

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