By Ayo Achebe
KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 22, IWN — Leader of the Opposition, Arnhim Eustace, is not the source of the bribery allegation that arose during the visit last month of BBC Panorama to this country, a source close to the programme has said.
“Mr. Eustace certainly isn’t the source of the bribery allegations as the Prime Minister has repeatedly sought to suggest based on what I don’t know,” the source told this writer.
“… He (Gonsalves) hasn’t seen a copy of the interview. … So where he is getting that from, I have no idea,” the source further said.
The source, however, did not say who levelled the allegation or whether it will be included in the programme — “The Great Savings Wipe Out” –, which is scheduled to be broadcast in the United Kingdom on Monday.
The Panorama team, led by investigative journalist Paul Kenyon, was in the country as part of a programme about Harlequin, the company that owns Buccament Bay Resort.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told the nation last month that Kenyon and his colleague, Matthew Hill, told him that they had three witnesses who would testify that Dave Ames, chair of Harlequin, went to Gonsalves’ office with a bag of money and left without it.
Gonsalves also said that a “professional gentleman”, who is prepared to testify publicly, said he saw on an iPad a clip in which Eustace reportedly made the allegation.
Eustace has denied making the allegation and said it was put to him during an interview with the BBA. Eustace further said he told the BBC that if the allegation is true, Gonsalves would have to demit office.
Eustace has also requested an apology and EC$140,001 from Gonsalves.
The apology was not granted and legal action is expected to proceed against the Prime Minister, a lawyer, who has said that Eustace’s claim has no legal merit and that he will defend any lawsuit against him.