The National Democratic Congress (NDC) wishes to register its unreserved disappointment with the address delivered to the nation by the Prime Minister Mitchell on Tuesday evening last.
In particular, we regard the failure or refusal of the Prime Minister to seriously and honestly address several issues of great concern to the nation at this time as disrespectful, disingenuous and unstatesmanlike.
Of course, while we consider the ministerial portfolio assignments announced most curious, we fully recognize and accept the prerogative of the Prime Minister to choose his cabinet and to assign responsibility to its members in the manner he considers most appropriate for fulfilling his government’s policy objectives.
Having said this, we must condemn, in the strongest terms, the failure or refusal of the Prime Minister to address the situation involving Mr. Charles Liu, the “significant investor” in the so called USD $2 billion Mt. Hartman project, and its implications for the good name and reputation of our country.
It can hardly be disputed that having regard to the allegation that millions of dollars of investors’ funds were transferred by Mr. Liu to companies in China, including United Damei Group, and to his and his wife’s personal accounts, this raises serious questions as to whether, and to what extent funds received by Mr. Liu from his investors in the United States Project have been or are being used to finance his operations in Grenada. This no doubt places an ugly stain on Grenada’s image.
It is the considered view of the National Democratic Congress that the Prime Minister has once again demonstrated his contempt for the people of Grenada by failing to address the situation concerning Mr. Liu and the United Damei Investment Company Ltd.
We note that while in his Cabinet reshuffle, the Prime Minister made Minister Alexandra Otway responsible for the promotion of the CBI, he remains the substantive minster responsible for Citizenship and the Citizen By Investment (CBI) Program.
The NDC continues to call on Dr. Mitchell to launch an investigation into the operation of the Citizenship by Investment Program and to remove himself as the Minister responsible for the CBI while this investigation takes place. Furthermore, we continue to call for the revocation of the Grenadian Citizenship of Mr. Charles Liu; his removal as the Commercial Attaché at the Grenadian Embassy in China, the revocation of his Grenadian diplomatic status and the Grenadian diplomatic passport; and the revocation of the appointment of the United Damei Investment Company Ltd. as an International Marketing Agent of Grenada under the CBI Program.
We are reinforced in this view in light of the recent arrest in St. Vincent of 2 Chinese nationals who were granted citizenship of Grenada under the CBI program, allegedly while they were already fugitives from justice in China. Yet, the Prime Minister continues to break the law by refusing submit reports on the CBI program to Parliament every 6 months.
We note with ridicule, the claim by the Prime Minister, in his address, that the Constitution Reform Process is free of government interference. We remind the Prime Minister that it is the NNP Government, which he leads, that rejected the recommendations of the Constitution Reform Advisory Committee (CRAC) to put before the people in any upcoming referendum: (i) the proposal that the Constitution of Grenada be amended so as to empower the citizens to recall their representative should they determine that such representative is no longer suited to represent them; and (ii) the proposal that the Governor General of Grenada be appointed by a college of Parliamentarians rather than by the Prime Minister acting alone.
We note with cynicism, the claim by the Prime Minister that he and his government are committed to improving the industrial relations climate in the country. We note that despite its empty promises and pronouncements, the NNP administration continues to largely ignore to the legitimate demands of the Grenadian public workers, teachers, nurses and police officers for their salary increments for the past three years; that their entitlement to public sector pensions be addressed and that their employment, especially of the teachers and nurses be regularized. Instead, the government has adopted a confrontational approach to the public sector workers employing subtle and not so subtle tactics of intimidation, including unexplained and irrational job transfers and assignments.
We note with alarm the pronouncement by the Prime Minister that his national address was intended to address the issues of “success and succession.” We wish to remind Dr. Mitchell that while the issue of his party’s success in the upcoming general elections and who will succeed him as Party Leader in the New National Party are undoubtedly important issues for him and his party, the aspirations and needs of the Grenadian people do not begin and end with any one political leader or party. When elected to govern, the responsibility of Government is to steer the Ship of State so as to bring the greatest opportunities and benefits to the majority of Grenadians, not just those belonging to one political party.
We therefore call on Dr. Mitchell to immediately put an end to his political selfishness and put the nation first.