Labour representative in the Upper House of Grenada’s parliament Senator Raymond Roberts has taken issue with what he calls the Project Grenada clique for taking issue with a press release he had issued expressing concern that a local newspaper had published a private citizen’s tax information.
Roberts said, “I am absolutely surprised that the Project Grenada clique has come out strongly and aggressively in defense of Caribupdate’s publication of a citizen’s tax information – while taking issue with my press release in which I expressed concern that the paper’s connection might be the source of accessing privileged information for the story.
Roberts said in the press release mentioned he made reference to Caribupdate associate Hamlet Mark’s employment in the office of the Prime Minister as a consultant noting that the said Prime Minister is Minister of Finance and National Security.
He added, following the release he received emails from Chester Humphrey and Hamlet Mark indicating that Mr. Mark is not an employee of the state but has no way of varying those facts. He insists however that in 2013/14 my Senate question to the Leader of Government Business provided a list of consultants employed following the 2013 General Elections, one of who was Hamlet Mark.
Roberts went on, “even though without evidence, I accept that Mr. Mark is not an employee of the state and therefore Public Service Rules and Regulations do not apply to him – I unwaveringly stick to my argument that consistent engagement in one of the highest offices in the public service as well as being prominently associated with Caribupdate, a private media enterprise, raises great suspension.
Investigative journalism is being used as a defense but it begs the question of links to the Office of the Prime Minister and staff opening the door for privileged information from the Inland Revenue department!
Citizens ought to be concerned that other taxpayers could experience a similar fate!”
In the senator’s view, the debate is how the information was accessed, not who owes taxes. He asked, was the information released for political reasons so as to damage the image of an individual?
Roberts admits to being also “astonished and bamboozled about the aggressive tone with which Senate President Chester Humphrey jumped out in defense – accusing me of reporting falsehood rather than representing the interest of labor.”
Senator Roberts ended, “it should be noted that my press release in no way addressed the Senate President or his office, and equally importantly he does not work in the public service commission and I am not aware that he is a cabinet minister.
It is very strange that he would publicly attack my credibility as well as accuse me of not representing labor.
If this unprecedented publication of a citizen’s tax data by a political activist is not of concern to workers then what is?”