The New Today

Local News

“The Parliament of Grenada is aiding and abetting theft”

Tillman Thomas – was a political detainee during the 1979-83 Grenada Revolution

Former Grenada Prime Minister Tillman Thomas believes the country’s Parliament is enabling illegal activities.

Thomas, who has earned a reputation as an avid anti-corruption campaigner told reporters at a press conference on Monday that “the Parliament of Grenada is aiding and abetting theft”.

His statement came in response to a documentary from Al Jazeera which implicates the governments of Dominica and Grenada in an illegal scheme to sell diplomatic passports and economic citizenship to fraudsters.

Thomas told reporters that by giving CBI status to people involved in questionable and illegal ventures, under the power of an Act of Parliament, the country is supporting criminal activity.

The Keith Mitchell-led Administration has made several changes to legislation which governs the Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programme and Thomas, who was Prime Minister from 2008 to 2013, believes the amendments are designed to enable corruption.

Over the years several persons involved in CBI approved projects or appointed as foreign diplomats have been jailed in the United States and elsewhere, after being found guilty of fraudulent activities.

Several are currently under investigation by the FBI, Interpol and other international security agencies.

Among the Amendments is one passed in Parliament in 2018, which allows for the identity and origin of economic citizens to be kept secret.

Other Amendments have given the Minister with responsibility for the CBI programme full control in determining what investment projects ought to be approved.

The CBI programme falls under the portfolio of Prime Minister Mitchell.

The regulations also do not exclude Cabinet Ministers from investing in CBI programmes and Dr Mitchell has publicly admitted that he has invested in the CBI approved project known as the Shrimp Farm in Victoria.

THE NEW TODAY has seen documents in which 55 foreigners were approved for Grenadian citizenship for the Shrimp project at US$275, 000.00 each.

Prime Minister Mitchell has publicly stated that monies were collected for the project but seemingly disappeared.

Speculation is rife that a senior government minister is also believed to be an investor in the multi-million dollar Kimpton Kawana Bay Resort, now under construction at the southern end of Grand Anse Beach.

The National Democratic Congress is concerned about the conflict of interest and the Party’s recently elected Public Relations Officer, Attorney-at-law, Claudette Joseph said they are demanding immediate changes to the CBI Act.

The NDC wants the Act amended to make it illegal for government officials to invest in CBI approved projects.

The Al Jazeera report, which has been aired around the world, outlines a scheme of passport for money which is largely used to finance political campaigns in Grenada and Dominica.

While it is not illegal to appoint non-nationals as diplomats the Vienna Convention is opposed to this practice.

Joseph told reporters the NDC is demanding that the sale of diplomatic passports be made a criminal offence punishable by “long jail time”.

Other amendments being demanded by the NDC would make it mandatory for names, addresses and country of origin of all persons applying for and obtaining CBI status to be published and also remove some of the powers of the Minister.

The NDC also wants persons with CBI status to be barred from voting in General Elections in Grenada.

The worry is that economic citizens could negatively affect the outcome of elections because they do not share the same interests and values as regular Grenadians.

If you are satisfied with the information provided by The New Today to our many readers, followers and supporters around the world, then you can show your appreciation by making a financial contribution to the effort of our team of dedicated workers.

Giving back is a way of saying thank you for our efforts

Support The New Today