Letters & Opinion

OAS and Elections in Bolivia and Dominica- Part 5

Will Crappo Smoke Dominicans Pipe on Friday?

Image of Earl Bousquet
Chronicles Of A Chronic Caribbean Chronicler By Earl Bousquet

CHICKENS are flying home to roost in Dominica, but they look nothing like the ‘Mountain Chicken’ (Dominica Crappo) delicacies that have also made the Nature Isle of 365 rivers famous. Instead, they’re flying-in on the wings of a quickly-unfolding external plot to fling Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit out of office and prevent him, by any means necessary, from serving for a fifth elected term.

Here’s what the plan has hatched so far:
November 18: Just 18 days before the December 6 general elections, when the parliament was already prorogued, Cabinet was dissolved and campaigning by both major parties was in final phases, an orchestrated attack on the President’s Official Residence by an unruly opposition mob was immediately repelled by teargas. However, the entire brief episode filmed and simultaneously live-streamed on Facebook.

November 19: The US Embassy in Barbados issued a Travel Advisory warning against possible violence in Dominica, actually identifying places to be avoided.

November 20: OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro and the US Ambassador to the OAS issued simultaneous statements also pointing to the live-streamed incident being described as ‘massive riots’ and demanding the impossible: that the government-in-recess pass ‘electoral reform’ laws before elections.

November 22: The US Representative at an OAS Permanent Council meeting in Washington demanded OAS intervention in the Dominica election — despite not being invited and although four other reputable international agencies had already been invited to observe: CARICOM, the United Nations (UN), the British Commonwealth and the US-based Carter Center. However, the CARICOM Group of Ambassadors issued a strong public statement rejecting the demands for external intervention and interference in Dominica and calling for all member-states to respect the will of the sovereign Dominica government.

November 23: The door for open OAS intervention in the election temporarily closed at the OAS, those pursuing immediate regime change in Dominica then resorted to the corruption bogey, accusing Prime Minister Skerrit of suddenly growing rich after four consecutive terms in office.

November 24 to 30: A timely investigative report by an undercover Al Jazeera reporter fueled for an entire week the charges of corruption on the international stage with allegations of ‘Sale of diplomatic passports’ — and also quoted UWP Leader Lennox Linton as promising an implanted fake investor to do the same ‘within 28 days’ if his party wins.

December 1: The full picture emerged last Sunday when Linton publicly explained why he’d two weeks earlier called on Caribbean (OECS and CARICOM) member-states not to respond positively to any request by Prime Minister Skerrit for emergency security assistance to Dominica. Referring to Skerrit while quoting from a written speech, Linton told a UWP campaign meeting: ‘If it is shown that he [Skerrit] has stolen the election, he will suffer the same fate as the now ousted leader of Bolivia, his friend… And yes, we will ask the OAS to help us, if we have to!’

Linton’s reference to Bolivia indicated there was a like plan for Dominica – and not only in his mind.

He left no doubt that he wants Dominica’s Caribbean neighbors to stay out of any plan that may unfold to contest the official results. Instead, he says he will not hesitate to invite the OAS to send troops to Dominica through the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance (TIAR).

The long-dormant TIAR was recently hurriedly and suspiciously resuscitated at a time when the US was threatening military intervention in Venezuela, to provide basis for inviting participation by other OAS member-states in any military intervention.

In Grenada’s case, on October 25 1983 the OECS provided the fig leaf for the invasion when the then Chairman and Director General were flown overnight to Washington to stand astride President Ronald Reagan and give the regional green light, live on international TV from the White House, for an invasion of a member-state that was already under way.

This time around, however, Linton is rejecting outright any CARICOM or OECS role in monitoring elections or keeping peace in Dominica.

Instead, the wannabe Dominica Prime Minister is showing he has absolutely no trust in the largely US-trained Regional Security System (RSS) established after the Grenada invasion.

But CARICOM’s position has always been clear since Grenada 36 years ago: No to external interference and intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

That position was outlined last July by Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet (as CARICOM Chairman) in relation to crystal clear plans for military intervention in Venezuela; and reiterated on November 22 by Saint Lucia’s OAS Ambassador Anton Edmunds, as Chairman of the CARICOM Group of Ambassadors, in relation to Dominica.

With neither CARICOM nor the OECS willing to repeat Grenada today, the only other option for possible regional intervention in Dominica is through the TIAR.

But in any such case, the onus will be on those CARICOM member-states that tend to vote with the US at the OAS to either remain true to the stated CARICOM position, or break with the region in the name of pursuing national interests.

Once again showing clear lack of faith in winning elections through the ballot box, Linton has thrown his chances — lock, stock and barrel — into the hands of those abroad determined to see regime change in Dominica, come what may on Friday.

Sounding like a drowning man grabbing at a banana leaf in the middle of the Caribbean Sea, Linton’s shrilled reference to Bolivia and his loud warning that Skerrit could soon join ‘his friend’ Evo Morales out of office, must not be taken lightly.

He may be counting his chickens before they hatch, but Crappo can sure smoke Dominicans’ pipe on Friday if voters there are not careful enough to learn from Bolivia’s still smoking lessons that wherever there’s smoke, there will always be fire!

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