Dominica Prime Minister Says Linton Lied About Citizenship Programme.
ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Wednesday said that Opposition Leader Lennox Linton had lied on several occasions when he appeared on a United States television programme that was critical of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP).
“Why a Member of Parliament of Dominica, who fancies himself as a future leader of this country, would wish to portray such an image of Dominica to the international community, is mind boggling, to say the least,” Skerrit told a news conference.
He said that Dominica had “invested millions of dollars and countless man hours marketing Dominica’s suitability as an ideal place in the Caribbean for persons to visit and do business, and with which high net worth individuals can associate with pride.
“Our programme is among the most respected and revered in the global industry. It has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years and was at the centre of our post-Tropical Storm Erika recovery efforts and is largely financing our community and other locally funded projects.
“Dominica has been able to survive the ravages of the global economic recession as a direct consequence of our prudent fiscal and economic management and with the assistance of our global partners. We have built a CBI programme that is today the envy of many.”
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has defended the CIP that his country and several other Caribbean countries have, dismissing the popular United States television programme that sought to portray the CIP in the Caribbean as an avenue for terrorists and other criminals to obtain passports to travel freely throughout the world.
“So what are we supposed to do sit back and do nothing? You tell me,” Prime Minister Browne told the CBS programme “60 Minutes” aired on Sunday night, insisting that Caribbean countries have put in place the relevant stringent measures to ensure the CIP is truly an investment strategy for regional countries.
Linton, who appeared on the CBS programme claimed that Prime Minister Skerrit has refused to answer questions relating to concerns about the CIP and some of the holders of Dominican passports.
“The Prime Minister doesn’t answer those questions,” he said, noting also that people obtained citizenship without even coming to the island.
But Prime Minister in a live news conference broadcast on radio and television here, said his government would be sending a response of Linton’s statement to CBS, so that they are aware of his falsehoods.
“It is noteworthy that nowhere in the programme on Sunday was it said that Lennox Linton was Leader of the United Workers or the Opposition in Dominica. He was referred to merely as a Member of Parliament. To Americans and others this could be interpreted to mean that he was either a non-partisan Member or a critical Member of the Government side. The purpose was obvious!”
Skerrit said he had remained quiet on the issue ever since the CBS broadcast because he wanted to monitor and assess the reaction of ordinary Dominicans to this outrage.
“I am heartened by the fact that the vast majority of Dominicans are equally outraged by this unjustified attack on our image, character and integrity. I take great comfort in the fact that Dominicans from all walks of life have called and sent messages of disgust and outrage over this despicable attack on our country.
“I am confident that Dominica shall survive this. I am confident that our CBI programme shall survive this onslaught. And I am also confident that Dominicans, will remember who amongst us has facilitated and participated in seeking to destroy the good name of Dominica and the opportunity for us to push forward with our development.”
He said he expects “that there will be ongoing attempts to undermine our programme. But, God is good and Dominica shall prevail!
“It is not for me to prescribe any particular course of action against Lennox Linton. That is for the voters of Dominica to do. That is for the leadership of the United Workers Party to do. If the behaviour of Lennox Linton is not offensive to his UWP (United Workers Party) colleagues in the Parliament of Dominica, then it is for the voters in those constituencies to express their outrage at the appropriate time.
“My mission today is to assure Dominicans that despite this unwarranted attack to our economic wellbeing, we shall continue to pursue policies that will aid in the growth and development of our economy. We shall not be deterred,” he said.
Skerrit provided a complete assessment of the programme and responded to allegations aired on the CBS programme that Dominican diplomatic passports had been given to three people whose characters have now been questioned.
He said as in the case of Bahamian Rudolph King, Italian Francisco Corallo and former Nigerian minister Diezani Alison- Madueke, none of these people had ever been furnished with a diplomatic passport.
“Lennox Linton made these sweeping allegations and once again, as was the case in the Huffington Post interview of 2015, he never produced a single shred of evidence to support his allegations,” Skerrit said that “today, Dominica is black eyed, in the eyes of the world, because of the reckless and dangerous utterances of one who aspires one day, to lead this country.
“Lennox Linton also lied when he said I never answer questions or respond to these matters. The Government of Dominica has on two occasions disclosed the names of all diplomats to the Parliament, once in 2009 and again in 2012.
“Further, public statements and releases were issued by me or the respective Ministry on the matters mentioned by Linton. Yet on Sunday, Linton gave the international community the impression that there is some covert, clandestine attempt on the part of the Government to conduct its affairs in a less than open and transparent manner.”
Skerrit said that without the CBI, Dominica’s socio-economic future would be derailed and that “we view this as the beginning of a likely ongoing campaign to undermine and destabilize the economic wellbeing of Dominica, through the dismantling of its Citizenship By Investment Programme”.