The New Today
Editorials

The face-saving payment!!!

There is credible information in some quarters in Grenada that Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and his government had their backs against the wall as WRB Enterprises was on the verge of moving to enforce the multi-million dollar Grenlec judgment that it won in March before an International Tribunal hearing in Washington.

The government is hiding the fact that a local high court judge on December 3 handed down a ruling which allowed the Florida-based company to take action to recover the millions that were awarded it based on the binding decision of the tribunal.

The evidence is emerging that lawyers representing the U.S firm had filed an action in the Grenada Supreme Court on August 14 – some five months after the Tribunal ruling and that Dr. Mitchell and his New National Party (NNP) government had not made any payments on the debt.

The payment of the money had nothing to do with skillful negotiations as Prime Minister Mitchell and Public Utilities Minister, Gregory Bowen have been trying to sell Grenadians but it was nothing but a “face-saving” move by the regime in St. George’s.

It was simply a government knowing that there were severe consequences for Grenada if the money was not found in quick time to effect the payment to WRB Enterprises which had moved the court to give it the legal teeth to engage in whatever action was deemed necessary to recover the money owed to it.

Dr. Mitchell knew that as Minister of Finance the WRB court action that was filed in August could impact heavily on him and his chances at the next general election.

It should be noted that Dr. Mitchell had chosen to remove himself as Minister of Finance in a Cabinet reshuffle that took place on September 13, almost one month after WRB and its legal team signaled their intention to move against Grenada in our courts to recover the millions.

It is reasonable for the ordinary man to conclude that there must have been a link in the WRB court action in Grenada and the decision of PM Mitchell to hand over the Finance portfolio to his trusted lieutenant, Mr. Bowen, the one who was leading the NNP onslaught against the U.S company for the past 26 years.

Dr. Mitchell cannot forget what happened under a previous NNP government in a case brought by the late Derek Knight, QC in a matter involving the Estate of former Prime Minister Eric Gairy.

Knight had got the court to rule that Gairy’s estate which was confiscated by the 1979-83 left-leaning People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG) of Maurice Bishop should be returned to him and with interest.

With little or no payments coming from the Treasury, QC Knight moved the court to bring then Finance Minister Anthony Boatswain before the sitting judge, Justice Kenneth Benjamin of Guyana who held the minister literally captive in court until a commitment was given by the NNP government of the same Dr. Mitchell to make a substantial payment to Gairy in order to allow the minister to leave the precincts of the court.

The information in our possession is that a high-up individual in the Cabinet told Boatswain that he should allow his personal house to be sold to pay the judgment debt to Sir Eric and the NNP government would then work out an arrangement with him for another house.

A nervous looking Boatswain was shaking with fright in court before the judge until the money was paid to the former Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Mitchell is fully aware of the Anthony Boatswain predicament and is mindful that he himself would be a prized target for WRB and its legal team since he has publicly declared before the Integrity Commission that he has assets worth $19 million.

These high-priced American lawyers retained by the US Company would be fully aware that some of these assets are in the United States itself especially the apartment building in Brooklyn, New York involving Dr. Mitchell and his wife, Marietta Mitchell.

This particular asset was being looked at by another U.S citizen who had brought a court case in the 2003-08 period in government against Dr. Mitchell that was related to the Eric Resteiner briefcase scandal.

The records will show that PM Mitchell made an application to the U.S government to grant him diplomatic immunity from prosecution as a sitting Prime Minister and the case was not heard.

The battle lines were clearly drawn over the years between WRB Enterprises and the Keith Mitchell/Gregory Bowen team that had embarked upon a vendetta due to their bruised egos on the Grenlec issue.

THE NEW TODAY is fully aware that the subject matter of where the government got the money to effect the payment to WRB and Grenada Private Power Limited (GPPL) for their majority shareholding interest in Grenlec will be an issue that can be taken up by the Opposition Leader, Tobias Clement before the Parliament.

The government has been giving different responses about the source of funds and Mr. Clement would now have the task to ask the right questions in the Lower House to solicit the information from government in the highest law-making body in the country.

THE NEW TODAY would like to make some passing remarks on the issue between the use of funds from the Grenada National Lottery Authority (GNLA), the Opposition Leader and Mr. Nimrod Olivierre on his food hamper initiative in the battle for the St. George North-east constituency.

Although Mr. Olivierre has publicly stated that he did not receive any funds from lotto for the effort and all the money came from his personal pocket, his wife is giving a different story on the issue.

Is Mr. Olivierre aware that his wife admitted that the Lottery Authority “co-operation” in the venture had to come through the Member of Parliament for the Constituency?

It appears to us that Mrs. Olivierre was mistaking the “NNP Constituency Office” in New Hampshire with the Constituency Office of Mr. Clement which is some distance away at Tempe.

The MP at this point in time is not Mr. Olivierre as yet but it is Mr. Clement until the next election is held when the residents in North East will cast their vote on who should represent them in Parliament.