The New Today

Re-open the MNIB investigation!!!

THE NEW TODAY is calling on the head of the Integrity Commission (IC), attorney-at-law, Anande Trotman-Joseph to re-open the investigation that was conducted into the financially-plagued Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) in light of new information that has surfaced in the past week.

The call is being made in light of an article published in the current e-paper in which a female Caribbean businesswoman in Miami, Florida made some interesting revelations about the purchase of goods from the state body and the payment of funds which should have benefited the local farmers.

The information seems to suggest that this individual should have been a person of interest to the IC and its team of investigators and she was never interviewed as part of the probe into MNIB.

It is also now on record that the person who was considered as high on the list for questioning, former Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Ruel Edwards was never engaged but the report with the result of the investigation has been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for consideration.

If what the business lady in the United States did reveal is correct then it raises serious questions about a particular aspect of the terms of reference of the Trotman-Joseph investigators to determine whether the Board kept proper Books of Account of its income and other receipts and expenditures.

The businesswoman alleged that during his stint as CEO that Mr. Edwards did not only approach her but retained a lawyer to pursue her for close to EC$80, 000.00 that she was supposedly owing to the statutory body.

There is also the allegation that other business persons operating in the United States were believed to have defaulted on payments of thousands of dollars that should have reached the coffers of our farmers for their produce and never did.

The issue here is whether the team of investigators had reached out to some of these people as part of their probe, and if not, why not?

Another important question is whether the Board of Directors had given approval to the CEO to retain legal counsel to pursue this issue involving the businesswoman and how much money was expended on what appears to be a wild goose chase by the then CEO in which MNIB lost money on legal fees.

It is rather unfortunate that the IC investigation did not go all the way to find Mr. Edwards and to interview him on his handling of the operations of the Marketing Board during his stint.

There have been credible allegations that MNIB spent in excess of EC$300, 000.00 in first Class tickets for overseas trips undertaken by the then CEO and his Secretary mainly to Miami.

What is intriguing is that some government ministers and Parliamentarians were travelling on the same aircraft with this employee in charge of a particular public enterprise but had to sit in economy class while being our law-makers in the Lower House of Parliament.

The Prime Minister came public and dropped hints that a certain Grenada diplomat was also trying to use the MNIB as a cash cow. Did the Anande Trotman-Joseph investigators reach out to the ambassador in light of the charge made against him? What did the investigation reveal about this person?

The public will again be short-changed and not become the wiser if a more serious and detailed investigation is not undertaken into the MNIB given all the information in the public domain in recent years and even what has come to light in the past week.

There is already deep suspicion that Grenada is operating under two sets of law – one for the untouchables in the society and another set of laws for the ordinary persons in the country.

It will be another travesty where justice is concerned if this current IC investigation report brings an end to the MNIB saga.

THE NEW TODAY will like to make some passing comments on the decision taken by the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Mitchell to treat vaccinated and unvaccinated persons as equal in light of the noticeable drop in Covid-19 cases on the island.

This is a very interesting development given the fact that thousands of workers lost their jobs in the private sector for failing to be vaccinated against the deadly virus.

The government made certain utterances which gave the greenlight to business places to make redundant several of their employees.

And the situation was compounded by the position outlined by Prime Minister Mitchell that his administration will never provide any stimulus payment to those who refused to accept the vaccine.

These workers will feel undone by those in authority who took such a hardline stand against them and are now returning the country to virtually a state of normalcy as what obtained prior to the advent of the coronavirus just over two years ago.

THE NEW TODAY has never adopted an anti-vaccination policy but is mindful of the fact that even the unvaccinated in our midst also have rights under the Grenada Constitution.

Did the government change the policy for vaccinated and unvaccinated workers in order to try and fill the stadium for the cricket match this week involving the West Indies and England?

Would Grenada now see a stream of lawsuits before our high courts in light of the loss of jobs by many unvaccinated workers?

And more important is the question of what is the position of the trade unions that were hired by the very workers to protect and look after their interests?

Is there a case for the dismissed workers to be re-instated?

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