A candidate representing the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the constituency of St. George’s South, has expressed concern about the use of “dirty money” in the run-up to the upcoming general election.
Without providing evidence to his claim, Raymond ‘Ray” Roberts made the allegation while speaking with journalists at a press conference called by the opposition party on Monday.
“This election is being infested with dirty money, don’t ask me where it come from, don’t ask me for no evidence, you must go and do your research, do the work itself, there is a court house, there are institutions that you can trace, all I am saying to you is that I am very worried that this election can be bought out one,” Roberts was commenting on the 2018 Budget Loan Authorisation Bill which according to the Ministry of Finance is procedural after the presentation of the annual Estimate of Revenue and Expenditure.
This Bill which was approved by the Parliament following the budget debate was gazetted on December 20.
The Authorisation Bill permits the Government to seek funds for capital projects to a ceiling of US$100 million through loans, bonds and other capital ventures to fund capital projects in the 2018 budget.
Lending institutions named in the Bill are the International Monetary Fund, the International Development Association, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Caribbean Development Bank as well as other companies, banks and or financial institutions.
According Roberts, he fears that some of the money will not be used for the reasons outlined in the bill.
“I am gravely concerned that some of that money is being utilised for the election campaign, it is part of the campaign to me, I am saying that based on – not calling any business places name but you can check yourself. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in vouchers providing people with stoves and fridges and what have you, are being distributed around the country by one group, I am not too sure I want to name any group and that particular group seems to have all the money in the world to distribute just about everything,” he said.
Presently, Grenada is without legislation to govern election campaigning although it is one the recommendation made over the years by Election Observer Missions.
A General Election is constitutionally due no later than mid-2018 and Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is expected to announce the date at an endorsement rally on January 28.