Former Grenada passport-selling Czar, Percival Clouden is interested in returning to the job as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme.
Well-placed sources told THE NEW TODAY that Clouden has reapplied for the job to serve under the 5-month old National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell.
According to one source, Clouden is among two former CEO of CBI who submitted application documents to the new board that is headed by accountant Richard Duncan, the former Managing Director of the Grenada Co-operative Bank Limited (GCBL).
When contacted for comment, Duncan declined to indicate whether Clouden had applied to get back the job.
He said that the new board is currently in the process of going through the applications and was not at liberty to disclose the list of applicants.
There are unconfirmed reports that Clouden’s name has been short-listed for further consideration from among other applicants.
The former CBI boss quit the job just over a year ago allegedly on grounds of health but reports had circulated in some quarters about an ease in the once close relationship with then Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell under whose portfolio the CBI fell.
THE NEW TODAY reported back then that Clouden, the brother of prominent attorney-at-law, Anselm Clouden, had sent in a letter of resignation amidst reports that he “was experiencing strained relations with Prime Minister Mitchell in recent months over a number of issues pertaining to the selling of passports which took a nosedive in sales following the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.”
The report went on: “It is alleged that PM Mitchell wanted Clouden to process a number of applications for passports outside of the usual system put in place including assistance from the major Western security bodies like the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the United States and Britain’s MI-5.”
According to the source back then, an approach was made to the CBI boss “to process these things, just get things going without getting the proper authorisation” from those overseas bodies that help conduct the due diligence of applicants for passports.
He said the issue that really broke the Camel’s back in the Clouden/Mitchell relationship came at a time when the Prime Minister, apparently out of frustration, used the words to him, “I will throw you under the bus” at a meeting.
The Grenadian leader has built up a reputation over the years for using people and then discarding them when they are no longer considered as useful to him.
The source said that after those words were thrown at him by the Prime Minister, the CBI Chief decided it was about time for him to make his departure from the job.
He told THE NEW TODAY that the first showdown between PM Mitchell and Clouden came one day when the CEO dismissed a key female supporter of the ruling New National Party (NNP) for alleged non-performance on the job.
He said that Clouden took the decision to fire the individual as part of a plan to restructure the organisation and to weed out a number of persons who were “wasting time” on the job.
“The big man (PM Mitchell) tell him (Clouden), you can’t move so, that has to go through the Public Service and they had to take back the lady”.
The source said that in recent times, Clouden had increasingly become totally “dissatisfied with the way things going” at CBI with sales dropping and the pressure coming from the government quarters in the Ministerial Complex at the Botanical Gardens.
Another source had told THE NEW TODAY that he had a private conversation with Clouden on his association with Prime Minister Mitchell and his ruling New National Party in the running of the CBI programme.
He said that on one occasion, Clouden told him, “I don’t want to get myself involved in anything (wrong).”
“He (Clouden) was very upset with himself,” the source said but quickly added that the CBI Chief did not elaborate on his concerns in the conversation.
According to the source back then, within the past three months, he formed the impression that Clouden got “dissatisfied with that (pressure) and the man (Keith Mitchell) got dissatisfied with him – he ain’t doing what somebody wanted him to do”.
In addition, Clouden is said to have angered the powers-that-be in the manner in which he held up a hotel project in the south of the island as the investor was not allegedly properly cleared in terms of the necessary due diligence.
“He (Clouden) got fed up with the man (Mitchell) too,” the source told THE NEW TODAY.
Clouden is a retired banker with over 25 years of experience in the U.S Virgin Islands and on his return home to live permanently a few years ago was reportedly approached by Prime Minister Mitchell to help him streamline the problematic CBI programme which was dogged by a number of controversies since its inception.
The Carriacou-born native was initially appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of CBI and then to the CEO position at the passport scheme.
When contacted via cellphone…… for comment on his resignation, Clouden said that he was having lunch and promised to call back but never did.
When he did not call after a few hours, THE NEW TODAY called again and he denied any rift between himself and Prime Minister Mitchell, saying that his resignation was due to health reasons and that he was due to leave the island soon for an extended period to take care of himself.
The former CBI CEO described the relationship with the Prime Minister as “very cordial” among them for over 50 years and reflected on the days when he served under Dr. Mitchell’s captaincy as the fast bowler for PBC.
The Mitchell/Clouden relationship started off during their school boy days at Presentation Brother’s College (PBC) with the two of them representing the school on the field of cricket.
Clouden is believed to have made a number of contributions over the years to the NNP cause in general elections.”