ST. VINCENT: – The opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) has “categorically” denied receiving $5 million from its elections consulting firm Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) or any other donor.
NDP president and opposition leader Arnhim Eustace said on Monday, Sept. 6, that such talk was a “downright lie” by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
Gonsalves and other members and supports of his Unity Labour Party (ULP) have called on Eustace to explain the source of $5 million monies reportedly given to the party.
“I can categorically say that the NDP has not received any money from SCL. I have not received any money the New Democratic Party has not received any money,” Eustace said on his weekly appearance on Nice Radio on Monday, Sept. 6.
He said he had inquired of former prime minister and founder of the NDP, Sir James Mitchell, who confirmed that the party did not receive such monies. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“What is tragic about it is that it is a fabrication. No money has been given to us. Quite frankly, if I had $5 million now, I would be quite happy. We’re in the heat of campaigning and trying to raise resources for the election, which is a continuing process. But, SCL has not given us any money. We have to pay SCL. They work for us. They are our consultants,” Eustace said.
“I find it strange that if we had received such money and there were some concern about the source, where we got the money from, then we would have been contacted. Nobody has contacted us,” Eustace further said
He was referring to the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) which investigates crimes relating to monies gained through illicit means.
“I checked our account this morning, no money like that is there. So, I want to know where this money is that we are supposed to have got,” Eustace said.
He further said Gonsalves “has the gall” to ask about the NDP’s source of funds even as he refuse to explain the source of US$1 million allegedly deposited into government accounts last year “And where even members of his family are changing US dollars at the [National Commercial] Bank”.
Gonsalves has not confirmed that the monies were deposited but has said that he would not answer questions about the allege monies because doing so will dignify a breach of banking confidentiality.
“I also want to know why the bank or the FIU would be passing that information to Gonsalves and the person who is supposed to have received it don’t know that there is a problem. These are serious matters you know. I am aware that Gonsalves also has persons who donate to his [Unity Labour] Party. I don’t ask him for his Party’s sources of funds because people raise funds for elections,” Eustace said.
Eusatce further said that Gonsalves, in his “open letter to the people of the Caribbean“, tried to associate NDP with drug dealers.
“We don’t deal with drug dealers in terms of raising funds for the New Democratic Party. So, I notice this trend now of trying to paint us as some corrupt bunch. I want somebody to tell me who it was when Nano filed suits in the United States against two politicians and their wives for campaign monies that were received,” Eustace said.
The Nano family has operated banks in Anguilla, Turks & Caicos Islands and St. Vincent and has a long history of disputes with regulators and creditors, including the Egyptian and the Libyan governments.
Thierry Nano left St. Vincent on November 22, 2001, three days after an arrest warrant issued in the United States arrived in the country. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
“I want him to tell me who those politicians are. … Who are those politicians who received that? I don’t talk everything I know, as you know. I get a lot of information and I choose when I release it. I want him to answer that question,” Eustace said.
“I wish I had EC$5 million in truth. He (Gonsalves) would have seen a campaign that he never saw before. But, to make it appear that we are the beneficiaries of $5 million from SCL, or behavioural dynamics as they call it, is a lie, a downright lie on the part of the Prime Minister of this country. We have received no such money!” Eustace said.