Above: Grenadian Prime Minister Tillman Thomas
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Grenada Prime Minister Tillman Thomas has reshuffled his cabinet.
Glynis Roberts, the country’s former Labour Minister, has been appointed the Minister for Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development, while Social Development Minister Sylvester Quarless will add Labour and Social Security to his portfolio.
It is the latest change to a cabinet that saw the resignations of two ministers, Peter David and Karl Hood, in April and May.
Thomas confirmed the changes in a national address.
Thomas also addressed continued allegations concerning a $50,000 transfer to his bank account, which he has maintained was strictly for the use of the ruling National Democratic Congress party.
“The matter of the receipt of certain funds into my personal account, which, in the past few weeks has been broadcast and speculated upon by many in the media, opposition and indeed within my own party, the NDC, is straightforward,” he said. “The fact is this: the sum of monies received, as attested to in my Declaration of Source of Funds at the Republic Bank, was fifty thousand dollars. This is a statement of fact. It has been verified and proven.”
Thomas said the receipt of funds for party purposes does not require that the funds go into a specific party account.
“What is most important in these circumstances is that the money be used for the purpose for which it was given,” he said. “While the donor does not require any accounting for the funds, it is absolutely the case, on my insistence, that every penny be accounted for by those to whom it has been entrusted.”
Thomas stressed that neither the internal rules of the NDC nor any Grenadian laws were broken.
There are few if any campaign finance rules in Caribbean countries, an issue that the Organization of American States has repeatedly mentioned during its electoral observation missions.
The Prime Minister also discussed a recent “unofficial” visit by the Emir of Qatar to Grenada, whose arrival he said “stirred much excitement, curiosity and interest.”
According to Thomas, the new relationship between the countries “is expected to redound to the benefit of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique in the near future.”
Thomas, who has been serving as the country’s Foreign Minister since the resignation of Hood, will be heading to the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development in Brazil later this week.
He said the meeting would “provide an opportunity for Grenada to seek to secure various kinds of development assistance.”