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Would PM Mitchell have same fate like Basdeo Panday?
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June 3 St. George's Grenada: Questions are being asked and speculations are being fuelled as to whether or not Grenada's Prime Minister will have a similar fate as former Prime Minister of Trinidad Basdeo Panday.

Former Attorney General of Trinidad Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj admits he would consider representing Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday in his current legal battle. He too is lookking after the interest of Dr. Mitchell in the inquiry that is due to re-commence on June 13.

Maharaj also revealed yesterday that initial investigations into allegations of corruption against members of the then UNC administration did not contain anything against Panday.

Maharaj, who in 2001 was fired by Panday from the Cabinet and subsequently expelled from the UNC, reminded that he had in the past successfully represented the UNC leader.

He said: “Mr Panday has very good lawyers, and I do not think that Mr Panday would want to ask me to represent him. In recent times Mr. Maharaj has being an addition to the few speaking either on behalf of Jamaican Hugh Wildman or the Prime Minister and the Grenada government in legal matters. 

In the case of Panday he is before the court on charges arising out of allegations that he corruptly profited from a bribe while he was Prime Minister of T&T.

The UNC leader and his supporters have alleged that the arrest was politically-motivated and designed to divert attention from allegations of corruption plaguing the Manning administration and forced the resignation of former Minister of Works and Transport Franklin Khan.

Yesterday, at the post-Cabinet news conference at Whitehall, Attorney General John Jeremie said the very investigations which led to Panday’s arrest were started under the UNC, when Maharaj was Attorney General.

Addressing this yesterday, Maharaj said it was true that the UNC did set up what has now become the Anti-Corruption Investigative Bureau, but could not say if it was being run with the independence it had when he was AG.

He added that at the time he left office, the (Bob) Lindquist report contained allegations of corruption against other UNC ministers, but not Panday.

“The Lindquist report I had did not mention anything about these matters,” he said.

“These matters were not mentioned in that report. It must be that these matters arose after that report.”

Maharaj was, however, concerned about the manner of Panday’s arrest, as it occurred in the official office of the Leader of the Opposition, a position set down in the Constitution of T&T.

He also disagreed with the bail set, saying it was excessive, and that the parties did not pose a flight risk.

Maharaj said he was concerned that members of the population were beginning to doubt the independence of the ACIB.

“Although it is important to investigate corruption and organised crime and bring those guilty to justice, it must also be remembered that you cannot have a unit which is perceived to be an arm for political suppression,” Maharaj explained.

With respect to the olive branch extended to him and other disgruntled former UNC supporters, Maharaj was cautious about any return to the party.

He reiterated that there were conditions for any return, notably a willingness on the part of the UNC to embrace major change.

“I support unity and reconciliation, but you cannot have unity and reconciliation without the underpinning of principles of good governance, and if there is to be any unity or reconciliation, it must be based on principles of reconciliation,” he said.

“I have taken the position that the UNC needs overhauling and reform if it is to take government again.”

There are premature speculations in St. George's that the wind of anti corruption could blow straight in the face of PM Mitchell where he could experience first hand what jail is like.

Carib News Now is dedicated to providing news and daily updates to its customers. Now, Caribbean people where ever you maybe have an opportunity to let your voices be heard as well as share your experiences with the world. E-Mail: editor@caribnewsnow.com
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