The New Today
Editorials

These questionable dealings!!!

The startling revelation that the former New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Keith Mitchell was secretly using a vault at a local commercial bank and not the established places within the respective ministries to store government documents is cause for concern.

THE NEW TODAY is not aware of any law, which gives an administration the lawful authority to engage in such behaviour in public office.

The norm is for government documents to be stored in a Registry and for anyone wishing to access them to sign for them on receipt and on return in order to keep a true record of their use.

It is not also unusual for certain sensitive documents to be placed in a safe that is under the control of the Permanent Secretary of the particular ministry and out of the reach of public officers.

There is nothing wrong for a Minister of Government as part of his official duties to take home official documents to study and prepare him/her in carrying out their duties on behalf of the State.

However, it is expected that the Minister will return these files/documents to the government compound as they belong to the State and no one else.

But the disclosure by a retired Permanent Secretary that in the late 1990’s under the NNP of Keith Mitchell that the highly illegal and secret US$100 million Promissory Notes were not kept on the compound of the government but in a secret vault at the then Grenada Bank of Commerce (GBC) should raise many eyebrows in the country.

This is highly suspicious in light of the information back then that the Keith Mitchell-led administration was seeking to borrow what amounts to EC$270 million from a so-called group of investors from Europe without any approval from Parliament.

It is also our understanding that the then Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance Dr. Brian Francis refused to commit the island to this questionable debt as the request came to his desk without any Cabinet Conclusion to show that the issue was discussed by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Isn’t this reckless behaviour in public office? Can Grenadians ever trust these people to run the affairs of their State?

The issue of these US$100 Million Promissory Notes is significant at this point in time as it can lead us to start asking questions about the whereabouts of the Missing Oil & Gas Files that current Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has told the nation have not been seen by the incoming administration.

Can these files/documents be hidden away by the former NNP regime in a bank vault that is unknown to the current rulers?

This revelation should result in the 14-month old government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell asking the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) or the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to find the Missing Oil & Gas files/documents.

The newly established committee headed by former Finance Minister Nazim Burke has no one with the special investigative skills like the officers working at the FIU or CID to find these Missing Files.

If the Burke Group cannot locate these files in short order then law enforcement should be immediately brought in to assist with their location.

THE NEW TODAY has no reason to doubt that Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell is sincere and honest in his dealings with the affairs of the State but might lack the right and correct persons around him as Advisors in adhering to the Good Governance philosophy of Congress.

The placing of government documents in a Bank Vault by a government formed by the NNP of Keith Mitchell is not in keeping with good governance and can only serve to undermine our democratic institutions.

The NDC was formed by the late George Brizan, Dr. Francis Alexis and Tillman Thomas on a particular foundation to serve as the bedrock of the party.

There is only one NDC as opposed to those misguided “young turks” who are seeking to push the agenda of THE NEW NDC, which is nothing but a falsehood.

It is important for party stalwarts like Tillman Thomas, Joan Purcell and Pauline Andrews to engage the current Political Leader of the party and Prime Minister to help instill in him the principles and philosophy of Congress and the need to always protect and promote the Good Governance Agenda.

The NDC in government needs to send a clear message to the rest of the country that the full force of the law would be brought to bear on those who are engaged in acts of wrongdoing and illegality that pose a threat to our democratic institutions.

The allegation that NNP was hiding government documents away from public officers in a secret vault at a local commercial bank once owned by the state should be fully investigated.

All the players whose names are being mentioned as facilitating this illegality are still around including the Minister of State who held the key to this vault.

Who instructed the Minister of State to take these State documents to the Bank Vault? Another important question is in whose name was this Bank Vault kept? Is there an existing bank vault that NNP is still in control of with government documents therein that the current leaders of the country have no knowledge about?

The answers to these important questions can only come from a thorough investigation conducted by FIU or CID.

The current Prime Minister can be making a serious mistake and blunder by not seeking foreign assistance from countries that have the capabilities and capacity to unravel the web of NNP questionable financial dealings while holding public office for nearly 30 years.

Mr. Prime Minister, it is not money that is missing that the Committee members can help trace given their background in Finance but it is important government files and documents that should become the subject of a criminal investigation.

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