Pressured PM admits knowledge of Saudi ‘donation’
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Friday June 01, 2012 – The main opposition New National Party (NNP) has turned up the jets on Prime Minister Tillman Thomas to come clean on a US$150 000 overseas donation made to his ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Opposition officials have renewed calls for the prime minister to explain the transaction after he confirmed that someone in his government had received the donation.
“I think the prime minister has a responsibility to come clean with the Grenadian people. I don’t think that this transaction is a very normal one” NNP campaign manager Terrence Forester said at a Press conference.
“I think this matter could be put to rest once truthful information is shared with the Grenadian people. It would be wise of our prime minister to not allow this matter to cloud the airwaves of Grenada and to create further suspicion and to create that anxiety in our communities,” he told the media.
Up to early last week, the prime minister was denying reports of the transaction after weeks of accusations by the opposition.
But in an abrupt turnaround on a Government Information Service (GIS) television interview last Friday, Thomas acknowledged that someone in his government received the donation, but denied suggestions it might have been an underhand deal.
But while the prime minister has said that the funds were a donation to the NDC, the party’s General Secretary and former Tourism Minister Peter David said the money is not in the party’s bank account.
“We call on our prime minister to disclose the facts. The source of founds declaration made to the bank is one that is very questionable,” said Forester, a former NNP public relations officer.
“Even the source of funds information given by the alleged receiver is also questionable. All these continue to create that cloud of suspicious uncertainty,” Forester continued.
The opposition has alleged that a top official received the money from a source in Saudi Arabia in a transaction termed “legal fees”.
Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is lodging a formal complaint with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Royal Grenada Police Force, party officials said.
“We are particularly concerned as to the source or sources from which these funds are coming from. Our prime minister has the responsibility to share this with the FIU and to share this with the media so we can seek and bring about clarity,” Forester told the Press.
“What sort of involvement may have brought our prime minister in this unfortunate situation? We ask for disclosure in every respect and we ask for a discontinuation of skirting around the issue,” he stated.