The Aljazerra exposure of the illegal sale of diplomatic passports for cash to be used by politicians in some Caribbean islands to finance their dirty political ventures has brought back into sharp focus the failed Shrimp Farm project in St. Mark.
The Keith Mitchell-led government had announced that the project was to be financed by proceeds from the sale of regular and ordinary Grenadian passports to raise the money that was needed to finance the venture in Grenada’s poorest parish.
THE NEW TODAY has seen documents which showed that there were 55 applications from non-nationals for Grenadian passports that were linked to the Victoria project.
This newspaper was told by persons connected with the project that in fact 57 and not 55 applications were received in the end for Grenadian passports from the developer of the project whose name is Soren Dawody and who has seemed to have disappeared into thin air these days.
Under the CBI arrangement, the developer was expected to receive US$275, 000.00 for each passport sold to do the project and the government will take in US$50, 000.00 that should go into the Treasury.
Anyone with a basic knowledge of Mathematics will understand quite easily that the total sum to be received from the sale of these 57 passports will be EC$43 million.
Prime Minister Mitchell has publicly stated that “significant sums” were collected by the developer for the Victoria project but the funds have vanished.
The Grenadian leader has promised to launch an investigation into the failed Shrimp farm project but after several months has not announced to the nation the status of this investigation and who are the Commissioners appointed to do the inquiry.
THE NEW TODAY can inform Grenadians that it has seen documents which showed that bank accounts were set up in Dubai and Singapore to collect monies from non-nationals who wanted to purchase Grenadian passports linked to the Victoria Shrimp farm project.
It is into these accounts that the monies were to be channeled and not into any Escrow account in local banks to fund the St. Mark venture.
Prime Minister Mitchell has a lot of explaining to do as the Minister of Finance who has a serious responsibility as the chief protector of any monies involving the Government and People of Grenada. Mr. Prime Minister, where is the Shrimp Farm money?
This newspaper is confident that there will not be any serious inquiry into the failed shrimp farm project because too many fingers will be pointed at some of the main players and actors within the very New National Party (NNP) government now in office.
The Aljazerra team of undercover reporters has unearthed too many damaging and explosive information that linked members of the NNP regime to greed for money from the project.
There is on record the sum of US$250, 000 that was asked for in the form of a financial contribution for NNP in the 2018 election in order to make sure that the project became a reality.
And fingers are pointing at two high-level individuals within the NNP who asked for cash payments – one made a request for EC$1 million and another stretched out his hand for EC$200, 000.00 to help him fund his 2018 election campaign.
It is also embarrassing that government ministers will compromise the integrity of their own administration by visiting the private quarters in Florida of some of these would be investors linked to the sale of Grenadian passports.
Would the NNP government ever want this kind of information to reach into the public domain?
In all of this, THE NEW TODAY feels saddened that the people of St. Mark have been cheated out of a programme that had the potential to improve the lot of the residents in the entire constituency.
The longstanding MP for St. Mark, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen should be called upon by her own constituents to address them and give all the facts and details about the failed shrimp farm project.
As a member of the Cabinet, Dr. Modeste-Curwen had full knowledge that there were 57 applications for Grenadian citizenship through the project that would have easily netted EC$43 million dollars that could have changed the landscape of St. Mark as a result of the project.
She was in the right place to make a difference by informing her Cabinet colleagues that even if there was a fall-out with the original investor for whatever reason that the government should proceed with the project as they had the applications for the sale of the passports and that the money could be raised.
What did Dr. Modeste-Curwen do in the circumstances? Was she afraid to open her mouth in the Cabinet room out of fear of the Prime Minister? What is it that she was fearful about?
When the St. Mark MP came into frontline politics in 1998 her constituency was the poorest in the country. Twenty-one years later as the MP, St. Mark is still the poorest in Grenada with no change to its status.
Is that the legacy that Dr. Modeste-Curwen is leaving behind at the end of the day that she has failed to lift and improve the lives of the very people who have been constantly voting for her over a span of five elections?
The current MP for St Mark should not seek re-election again but allow someone from the NNP to offer him or herself to try and really make a serious difference for the development of the people in the constituency.
Under Dr. Modeste-Curwen’s watch, the poultry project has failed so too the shrimp farm project.