THE NEW TODAY will give strong support to the appointment of a competent legal mind to the position of Special Prosecutor by the Congress government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
The Grenada Constitution does not mention the post of Special Prosecutor but specifically states that the Director of Public Prosecutions is the person who can “institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court (other than a court martial) in respect of an offence alleged to have been committed by that person.”
However, the constitution also states that the DPP has the power “to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that have been instituted or undertaken by any other person or authority…”
This seems to be the portion of the Constitution that Jamaican attorney-at-law Hugh Wildman was allowed to function under when he was appointed by a former New National Party (NNP) government of Keith Mitchell to become a Special Prosecutor on behalf of the State.
The 14-month old National Democratic Congress (NDC) should give consideration to the use of this provision of the Constitution in order to move in the direction of a Special Prosecutor to handle a number of important matters in the public interest.
It can be argued that there is already an overload of cases before the high court from the office of the DPP.
The creation of the post of Special Prosecutor to handle a number of important cases in the making should help to lessen the burden of the DPP and his Staff.
THE NEW TODAY is advocating that a Special Prosecutor from outside of the jurisdiction should be brought in by the government as part of the move to settle the issue of Grenada’s Oil and Gas once and for all in terms of bringing justice to the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The oil and gas issue is very explosive especially as both the NDC and NNP can be affected based on its outcome.
It is better for an outsider to be brought in by the government to have carriage of any legal issues that might arise from it.
During the 2008-13 period in government of Congress under then Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, an investigation was conducted into certain dealings by former Trinidad & Tobago Attorney General, the late Karl Hudson-Philip and the internationally respected forensic accountant Bob Lindquist.
The current Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs Claudette Joseph was an integral part of the government appointed committee to help investigate the agreement that was signed by the NNP regime of Keith Mitchell and the Russian oil company known as Global Petroleum Group (GPG).
Another person who played a significant role back in those days in these events was the Minister of Finance Nazim Burke who is now appointed to head an Advisory Committee as appointed by Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to unravel the oil and gas mystery.
Both AG Joseph and ex-Minister Burke should have had oversight of the Karl Hudson-Phillip findings with the assistance of Lindquist that were sent to the then NDC Attorney General Rohan Phillip.
Items 20 and 21 on Page 5 of the report should be of interest not only to Burke and company but all Grenadians as it alluded to alleged wrong-doing on the part of a senior member of the NNP government.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and his current ministers will be doing the country a grave injustice if they do not allow the law to take its natural course and make all law-breakers account for their handling of the people’s money.
One of the first acts of the NNP on getting back into office after the 2013 general elections was to demand the keys to the office of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) from the then head Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Senneth Joseph.
It was not a secret that ASP Joseph was leading the criminal investigation into alleged wrong-doing in Grenada’s oil and gas in which fingers were pointing in the direction of a particular senior government minister.
It is doubtful that the file still exists and might have already been destroyed in order to protect the wrongdoers from facing the full weight of the law for the missing US$600, 000.00.
ASP Joseph will not be a good and competent police officer and top notch investigator if he did not see it fit in the national interest to make copies of the Oil and Gas file since it is very explosive and can cause nightmares to some persons who once occupied high office in the country.
THE NEW TODAY holds strongly to the view that given the events of the past and the existence of certain documents that the Nazim Burke-led committee will eventually have no choice but to recommend to Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell and his Cabinet of Ministers that priority should be given to the launch of a Criminal Investigation into the oil and gas matter.
The new boss in charge of NDC should heed the advice given then by the late Prime Minister Sir Nicholas Brathwaite and move in the direction of a Special Prosecutor.
This should be done especially against the backdrop of the old saying – ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy.’
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell must do everything possible not to make the same mistake made by Tillman Thomas and Nazim Burke in seeking justice for the people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
Let’s move tonight and not tomorrow morning in the direction of the Special Prosecutor.