Axed Government Minister Joseph Gilbert
Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas on Thursday fired Environment Minister, Joseph Gilbert, following a brief probe into a letter he allegedly wrote to a foreign investor intimating that he would get him a gaming license to operate in Grenada.
The letter was allegedly written by Minister Gilbert when he served as Minister for Works and was not approved by cabinet.
Prime Minister Thomas has repeatedly said publicly that he would not preside over a cabinet that endorses casino gambling in Grenada.
His public proclamations have discomforted a number of his cabinet ministers who have said that position is a personal one and doesn’t represent the views of the majority of the government.
Last year, the government rejected a project from Swedish Developers Zublin, which proposed as an integral part, the building of a casino.
On Wednesday evening the office of Prime Minister Thomas, issued a statement, following widespread speculation as to the reason for an emergency Cabinet meeting called earlier that day.
The statement said the Prime Minister Thomas is weighing his options in a matter which has triggered political uncertainty here.
“The Prime Minister commenced a process towards deciding on the status of Joseph Gilbert as a member of the Cabinet”.
“In this respect the Prime Minister, having certain troubling information before him pertaining to what appears to be a serious breach of Cabinet principles, decided that he would proceed by way of bringing the matter to the knowledge of the Minister concerned and intimating to him the action he is intending to take”.
Government sources reported that the Prime Minister attempted to fire Gilbert during Wednesday’s emergency cabinet meeting but backed away from the decision after cabinet members objected.
Joseph Gilbert is the NDC Parliamentary representative for St. Patrick West
On Thursday, Prime Minister Thomas confirmed to a local journalist that Minister Gilbert had been fired.
This decision has further reduced the government’s majority in the Parliament following the resignation of Former Environment Minister Michael Church at the end of 2010.
Church resigned after he was demoted by Prime Minister Thomas during a cabinet reshuffle.
Speculation is rife that this recent move could see the collapse of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government before the end of the first term.
There are reports that following Wednesday’s emergency Cabinet meeting, a number of NDC party officials held a secret meeting in the south of the island. This would make it the second known secret meeting of party officials in less that one week. The first one was held by Prime Minister Thomas in the rural community of Mt. St. Ervans in the parish of St. Andrew.
Sunday’s meeting which left out eight of the eleven cabinet members is being described by Prime Minister Thomas as a political meeting to “discuss strategy and the way forward”.©