Grenada’s Prime Minister Denies Allegations over Political Contribution

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Updated: 12:36 PM

By the Caribbean Journal staff

A payment made to the Prime Minister in Grenada has raised controversy on the island.

According to Prime Minister Tillman Thomas, five months ago, a friend of Grenada who does not wish to be publicly identified and whose place of corporate residence is the British Virgin Islands, made a political donation of $50,000 to Thomas as leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress.

“At every stage, it was the understanding and belief of Prime Minister Thomas that these funds were intended to assist the NDC and for no other purpose,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement. “The Prime Minister and Political Leader signed the relevant banking documents as required by law, attesting that the monies were for the political purposes of the NDC.”

Thomas’ government has seen the resignation of two Cabinet officials in the last month, and the Prime Minister survived a no-confidence motion brought by the Opposition NNP earlier this month.

The Prime Minister said rumours concerning the transfer were a result of the motion’s defeat.

“We will continue to call upon the Prime Minister to be transparent in his dealings with the matter,” Terry Forrester, spokesman for the NNP, told Caribbean Journal. “The Opposition Leader is calling for a full and formal investigation into the matter, be it through the Financial Intelligence Unit, through a special committee or through Parliament. He is not letting up,on that request.”

One particular rumour, which alleged that the money was in the amount of $150,000 and was received from Saudi Arabia, was categorically denied by the PM.

The NNP first rose allegations concerning the payment earlier this month.

“The Prime Minister and Political Leader is of the firm belief that the donation is entirely legitimate and the attendant transaction was completely above board,” the statement read. “In the absence of any illegality, the question as to how those funds are handled and used by the party is strictly an internal matter to the party and will not be discussed with political opponents.”

Forrester said the government’s statements on the matter amounted to a series of mistruths, however.

“The Opposition Leader and the Opposition in general is calling to [Thomas] to speak the truth to the Grenadian people,” he said.

The PM’s office called the transfer, which it said came through on Jan. 4, a “matter of public record.”