By Cajeton Hood
St. George's Grenada: The Prime Minister
has already betrayed our pride and our good name as a nation by his undignified actions in what I call the Scandal in Switzerland
and now he is attempting to insult our intelligence by trying to pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
Let me say as the Prime Minister has
said time and again that, our people are above average in intelligence, and they will see through all of the games by which
the NNP intends to cover up and hide the real truth of the matter.
Fellow citizens of Grenada, we want the truth,
we deserve the truth and we dare not settle for a contrived solution. The Prime Minister and his group are serving up a well-bundled
menu for us, and we have to be aware of what we are consuming. I heard a voice clipping of a confident Keith Mitchell where
he is daring the so-called witnesses to come and give evidence before the Commissioner! You see, he is confident that Resteiner,
Bass, and Marchand will not come to Grenada so he feels safe.
Fellow citizens of Grenada, let us refuse
to accept any cover-up! Why are we wasting our scarce resources on an Enquiry when what we need is an Investigation?
us look at the situation objectively and see behind what is happening:
1. I and several other persons asked for an INVESTIGATION
and not an ENQUIRY. Here is the difference:
i. Investigators will have the mandate to go and find the evidence and not
sit in a room as a Commissioner will do and see if the evidence comes, or hope that it does not come, depending on where the
ii. An enquiry looks at what facts you have to present but an investigation takes the allegations and see
what facts can be found from them.
iii. No investigator could have said, as the Commissioner in this case has said, that
there was no place to hold the enquiry. The investigator, as a good hound dog, finds the trail and follows it to the end.
iv. We need an Investigation which must be followed up by the laying of criminal charges if there is merit, as was done
in the case of Michael Baptiste. To do anything less would be to act partially and contrary to our constitution.
Commissioner of Police was given certain documents by the opposition NDC and asked to investigate. I AM YET TO HEAR A STATEMENT
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE COMMISSIONER ABOUT THE DISPOSITION ROYAL GRENADA POLICE FORCE ON THE MATTER. I dismiss the statement
of Mr. Wildman in this regard as useless, inappropriate and intended to exonerate the Prime Minister. Maybe the new Commissioner
Winston James would stand up and be counted at time this time. Mr. Commissioner, Mr. Michael Baptiste was investigated and
charged in the wake of more innocent allegations!
2. The so-called Enquiry has allowed the Prime Minister to fight
this losing battle for his survival on his own turf.
i. It is reasonable to conclude that he has engineered this so-called
enquiry because it is he who jumped out and said that he would advise the Governor General to hold an enquiry, even though
the statute provides for the exercise of the Governor General’s deliberate judgment.
ii. One would recall that there
was a hue and cry when the current Governor General was selected for the post because he was a recent past chairman of the
ruling NNP party. The argument was that he could not be really expected to be impartial, objective and well-balanced enough
for such a post in the circumstances. The Prime Minister went ahead with the appointment nevertheless.
iii. The Governor
General has chosen a one-man commission in spite of an outcry about the need to have more than one commissioner for an enquiry
that is as important as this one actually is. I mean no disrespect to the commissioner but he is not a superman, and the matter
concerns a Prime Minister, a man with a plentitude of powers, who has shown that he is not shy to use the powers at his disposal
to achieve his own purposes. I renew my call to the Governor General to use his powers, for the love of Grenada, to appoint
a new 3-man commission if it comes to that. It is not too late to make sure that justice is done and it is so apparent to
iv. In any event, after listening to the present commissioner speak on the BBC news; I am even more convinced that
the commission will be a sham and that the commissioner’s appointment should be revoked in the name of objectivity and
justice. Mr. Cheltenham has already pronounced on what witnesses will say without hearing any evidence, and I submit that
he has effectively disqualified himself in the circumstances. I will not go as far as to so say that the commissioner has
shown a predisposition in any direction but his statement shows that he has already been affected by the task itself and he
must be replaced.
3. The expected absence of key witnesses.
i. Let us now put ourselves in the position of Resteiner
and Bass and see what their situation really is:
a. Already indicted for crimes against the people of the United States;
b. Alleged witnesses or participants in the transfer of a large sum of money in the form of cash to Prime Minister Mitchell.
c. The question of bribing a public official is relevant and constitutes a very serious criminal offence in the USA and
d. Do we really expect them to confess to a criminal offence done in another man’s country that implicates
the highest political office in that country? Even the law cannot force them to give such evidence because they have freedom
e. I know of no immunity from prosecution being offered to the two persons, neither does the
Governor General’s instrument of appointment concern such an issue;
f. Would you leave the safety of your country
and go to another man’s country to give evidence that might mean the criminal prosecution of the leader of the country?
After all what is in it for these persons?
g. This is going on while Mitchell is still the Prime Minister and can call
the shots. He still has the backing of the state machinery! This has to be madness at its highest! In any other job Mitchell
would be suspended or at least some of his powers would not be exercisable by him, pending the outcome of investigations!
h. Does Grenada have a witness protection program that can be used to assist in their protection?
ii. Come on, let
us be realistic! Do we really expect these persons to come to Grenada under these conditions? So then, I can truly understand
why our Prime Minister can “grand stand” as much as he wishes. But remember, should the Commissioner say that
the accusation of bribery has not been proven against Mr. Mitchell what is the significance?
a. It does not mean that
the sum of US $ 500,000.00 was not received by Dr. Mitchell;
b. It does not mean that approximately US $ 15,000.00 was
received by Dr. Mitchell;
c. It does not mean that the Prime Minister did not receive money improperly as a public official.
iii. Contrary to the apparent expressions of the Mitchell supporters, I believe that since this is not a criminal trial
(at least not as yet) the burden of proof is on Mitchell and not on anyone else to shown that he has acted properly in all
the circumstances of the case.
After all, this the political head of
my country and he must establish that e has done nothing to betray the trust of the citizens of Grenada. He must show that
he deserves our trust! If he fails to do so he must resign and disappear into the background, hoping that he is not the subject
of criminal proceedings! Keith Mitchell must not be allowed to come in this bold-faced manner and say to us, “Prove
that I took bribe money!” Once it comes to this he must stand trial as Panday is about to do.
This has to be the standard that the
Prime Minister and all other politicians must be held to or else we ourselves are guilty of betraying our democracy and by
extension our national pride. To be vindicated, Mitchell MUST AT LEAST do ALL of the following at this time:
a receipt, under his hand that was issued in the year 2000 for the benefit of Resteiner, to show how much money was received
and for what purpose;
b. Present a receipt that was issued by the Grenada Treasury in the year 2000 to show that the same
sum of money that was received was deposited in the coffers of the Government of Grenada.
FELLOW CITIZENS OF GRENADA, WHERE IS OUR NATIONAL PRIDE? HOW CAN WE ACCEPT THE SPECTACLE OF OUR PRIME
MINISTER SHUTTLING FROM HIS OFFICE AS POLITICAL HEAD OF OUR COUNTRY TO A ROOM WHERE HE IS ON TRIAL ( OR IN AN ENQUIRY) AND
BEING QUESTIONED AS TO THE LIKELIHOOD OF HIM HAVING BEEN BRIBED?
THE SUSPICION THAT LEADS SO FAR AS TO PROMPT AN
ENQUIRY CALLED FOR BY HIMSELF, WHICH WILL FURTHER WASTE OUR SCARCE RESOURCES, MUST BE ENOUGH FOR ALL CITIZENS OF GRENADA TO
RISE TO TAKE SHAME OUT OF OUR EYES AND DEMAND THAT KEITH MITCHELL LEAVE OFFICE FORTHWITH!