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SAVING GRENADA’S INTEGRITY: PM gives reasons for dismissing his Environment Minister

In an eight-minute radio and television broadcast on Thursday night, Prime Minister Thomas said that the actions of his former minister were “ indefensible and cannot be condoned by this Government and should not be condoned by any other Government”.

The Prime Minister was referring to a letter allegedly written by Gilbert during his tenure as works minister, promising a United States gaming company that he would get the island’s legislation regarding gaming changed so that they can begin operations on the island.

Thomas, who has repeatedly and publicly said he is opposed to institutionalizing casino gambling here, said that Gilbert didn’t have Cabinet’s permission to write such a letter making that promise.

“These representations by the Minister were made in full knowledge that Cabinet had not taken any such decisions.

“In this respect, the Minister must have been aware that his conduct was wrongful or was otherwise unconcerned as to his responsibility to the Cabinet,” Prime Minister Thomas said.

He said the dismissal of his Environment Minister earlier on Thursday had nothing to do with saving the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government but with preserving the country’s integrity.

“It must be clearly understood by all  that this matter is not about the survival and stability of the duly elected Government of Grenada but about preserving our core values and building of a sustainable country.”

Thomas said that being leader of the ruling party is for him “always about people, not power.

“As Prime Minister, I have been careful to act with fairness and even-handedness in dealing with violations of the public trust, by members of my Government.”

Since the NDC came to power in  2008, Prime Minister Thomas has taken a number of disciplinary actions against members of the government for what he  has perceived as acting against the grain of the  party’s watch-words “transparency and accountability”.

Among the first to be dismissed was former attorney general Jimmy Bristol who in July 2009, admitted to writing a personal appeal letter to a United States prosecutor asking for leniency for his stepson Emmanuel Ganpot, who was convicted on drug related charges.

Junior Culture Minister Senator Arley Gill was banned from a number of Cabinet meetings after allegedly making agreement with a Jamaica-based entertainment company, which was not approved by the Cabinet.

One year later former Environment Minister Michael Church was demoted when he allegedly attended an environment meeting in Europe, without the knowledge or consent of the cabinet.

The Prime Minister said every time he “disciplined” one of the government members, he “acted accordingly and will consistently do so”.

Thomas said he has high personal values and ethics, which had in the past cost him his freedom, and would continue to govern the country guided by his values.

“My firm belief in high ethical standards, honesty, integrity and accountability, and living those values are my guiding principles. It is for those reasons that I spent years in jail, refusing to compromise those values…This I firmly believe was, and remains in the best interest of uniting Grenada”, Thomas said.

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