This is foolishness – it’s laughable.
That was the reaction of a retired top flight public officer to the announcement in Tuesday’s Throne Speech delivered in Parliament Tuesday by Governor General Dame Cecile La Grenade about the establishment of a committee headed by former Finance Minister Nazim Burke to unlock the mystery of Grenada’s oil and gas debacle under the former ruling party.
According to Dame Cecile, the 14-month old National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has not been able to lay its hands on the Oil & Gas files in the deal that was struck with the Russian outfit Global Petroleum Group (GPG) and the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) administration that has been in charge of Grenada’s affairs for most of the last 30 years.
The retired public officer told THE NEW TODAY that the Permanent Secretary who was in charge of the Ministry of Energy in the last NNP government just over a year ago should be called upon to account for the so-called missing Oil & Gas files.
He said these are “high level, sensitive, secretive documents” that should be filed in the Registry of the Line ministry.
He pointed out that the files might not really be missing and the Congress government should seek the intervention of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) or the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) to trace the documents.
“The files are filed in a Cabinet that those who are there now may not be aware. All the Cabinet Secretary needs to do is call in the last PS who was there before the elections and ask him or her some questions surrounding the files – not only the PS but ask the person who was in charge of the Registry,” he said.
The ex-government employee charged that these are the two persons who have principal responsibility for these national treasures.
He also made mention of the fact that there is a Ledger in each government ministry where important documents about national issues are held for safe-keeping.
“If you go to the Registry and you take a file, you have to sign for it so they must see who was the last person who had the file and then they can trace back from that,” he said.
The former senior government employee called on Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to stop wasting time and turn to either the CID or FIU to probe into the missing files.
“If the files cannot be found then the government should look to bring in CID or FIU,” he said.
According to the retired public officer, he suspects that what happened to the file might exactly be the same thing that took place in 2008 when NDC defeated NNP at the polls to win the general election.
He recalled that some of the important letters and documents in the files went missing when the NDC came into government.
He said it was virtually the same thing that happened under a previous NNP regime involving files from an investigation that was carried out by the late Karl Hudson-Phillip, the former Attorney General of Trinidad & Tobago in alleged acts of wrong-doing by some senior members of the NNP regime.
“Karl Hudson-Phillip had accumulated lots of information on (name withheld),” he added.
The officer who left the service about 10 years ago recalled that a former head of the FIU was able to make photo copies of some of the essential files just before the change of government in 2013 when NNP came back into power.
He said it was at this stage that “other files were either destroyed or went missing” under the NNP watch.
Several studies conducted by the British and Russians over the years have concluded that there are oil and gas deposits offshore Grenada in waters close to neighbouring Trinidad and Venezuela.