Grant made the claim during his weekly message to the nation, arguing that, “This project presents a dilemma to our country. Just days after the IMF reported that our country is almost bankrupt; Prime Minister Douglas announces a vast expenditure that will use money, while gaining nothing for years, when this country needs desperate fiscal restructuring and consolidation. It is precisely this kind of recklessness that got us into this mess to begin with, but I suppose debt and corruption are working.”
The leader of the Peoples Action Movement was making reference to the recent ground breaking ceremony, for a tourism development, known as Kittitian Hill, located in the western rural district between St. Pauls and Dieppe Bay, the heart of the parliamentary constituency, represented by Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas.
It is Grant’s position that, “The most recent reincarnation of the Kittitian Hill/ Kittitian Heights project revealed a new low in the catalogue of corrupt practice that characterizes the financial mismanagement of our local economy.”
The opposition politician stated that according to claims from this government, the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation was formed with money received for redundancy payments to former sugar workers that was inexplicably withheld. It was then augmented with funds from the New Labour economic citizenship program, through which for a payment of US $200,000.00 to US $400,000.00, “investors” could purchase passports without any requirement of developing property, or providing job opportunities for locals.
“There was much controversy over the amount of money in this fund with Prime Minister Douglas claiming $40 million, while then fund manager Terrence Crossman, claiming only $17 million. Regardless of which figure one uses, neither are even close to the amount that is reported to be needed to develop Kittitian Hill/ Kittitian Heights. According to the government this latest “investment” should cost around US$ 300 million yet amazingly the funds for this project are to come from the SIDF, ‘ said Grant
It is Mr. Grant’s argument that, there is a lot of explanation required for this. Firstly it is ridiculous that a “foreign investor”, in this case Mr. Val Kempadoo, is to be funded with local money.
What kind of “foreign investor” comes to a country to invest without the money for the project? What kind of deal has been struck with this Labour government that has led to this naked misappropriation of the sugar workers’ money, asked Mr. Grant.
He said, “The second explanation that is required concerns the amount of money in the SIDF. If it can indeed fund a project of this magnitude then its funds have increased at an astonishing rate over the last two years. The amount of money reportedly required for this project is more than $800 million and this is suspiciously close to the amount of money that has probably been lost from our economy, over the period that it has accumulated in the SIDF, if it is indeed there.”
Mr. Grant wants to know “Where did this vast amount of money come from to the SIDF that enables it to fund Kittitian whatever? Who controls this money? If it comes from exceptionally brisk passport sales then it represents at least 1500 passports at the rate of US $200,000.00 each, so who bought them?”