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More controversy ahead for 'Caribbean' baroness
Published on February 19, 2016 Email To Friend    Print Version

skerrit_scotland2.jpg
Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit (L) and Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal

By Caribbean News Now contributor

LONDON, England -- Dominican-born member of the British House of Lords, Baroness Patricia Scotland of Asthal, may not be able to escape connections to the “murky financial links between Cherie Blair and the corrupt dictator of a tax haven with an appalling record on human rights” that were revealed in the British newspaper, the Daily Mail, on Thursday.

The widely-read newspaper disclosed that “a law firm founded by [former British prime minister] Tony Blair’s wife, who trumpets her human rights work, earned more than £2,000 [US$2,800] a day representing Abdulla Yameen, the autocratic president of the Maldives”.

According to the Daily Mail, “In a highly irregular move, the firm was paid more than £200,000 [US$280,000] of its fee by a suspected conman and terrorist now wanted by Interpol. As a result, Mrs Blair’s company, Omnia Strategy, could become the subject of an anti-corruption investigation by the Serious Fraud Office and US government.”

Baroness Scotland, a British citizen who was born in Dominica, from whence she departed as a small child, was elected last November as a “Caribbean” candidate for the post of Commonwealth secretary-general, which she will take up in April.

But, her financial links to the Maldives dictatorship and to Cherie Blair’s law firm, now potentially subject to an anti-corruption investigation, will follow her into the Commonwealth post, to the embarrassment of her principal Caribbean backers, and the British government of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Until very recently, Scotland declared in the register of “interests” at the British House of Lords that she is a member of the Advisory Board of Omnia Strategy, the Cherie Blair firm now revealed to have accepted questionable payments.

Additionally, Scotland was also deeply financially connected to Abdulla Yameen, the Maldives president. In 2012, she received US$108,000 in state funds “to give a legal opinion” against the same Commonwealth Secretariat she has now been elected to head, when it wanted to investigate human rights abuses by the Maldives leader.

The 2012 Audit Report of the Maldives government revealed that she was paid another US$71,700. The auditor stated that this “bonus” payment violated Article 96 (c) of the constitution, the Public Finance Act, and public finance regulations.

But, as pointed out by J.J. Robinson, the former editor of the only independent, English-language news service in the Maldives, “Waheed’s government was past caring”. So, presumably, was Baroness Scotland.

Robinson’s undisputed revelations are contained in his book, The Maldives: Islamic Republic Tropical Autocracy, published in 2015 by Hurst and Company, London.

The links between Cherie Blair and Scotland are numerous and interwoven. Blair took Scotland as a senior adviser into a so-called “global security and intelligence firm” called Arcanum Global, which is operated by Ron Wahid, an American citizen, born in Bangladesh, and chairman and CEO of RJI Capital Services Ltd, with corporate headquarters in Zurich (Switzerland).

Wahid is also chairman and CEO of RJI's subsidiary Arcanum Global, which has links to Israeli intelligence through the parent RJI office in Tel-Aviv. In January 2011, Meir Dagan, who headed the Israeli intelligence service Mossad for eight years before retiring, joined Arcanum Global as a part-time consultant.

Arcanum describes itself as “… a global intelligence firm that provides a host of bespoke and tailored strategic intelligence products to governmental entities and the private sector across a range of industries."

Arcanum has been mentioned in connection with a number of questionable activities, notably, a plan to kidnap Alma Shalabayeva, the wife of Kazakhstani opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov, and her daughter in Rome.

Scotland, in having to reveal her financial interests to the House of Lords, named Wahid as one of main contributors to her campaign for the post of Commonwealth secretary general.

However, although she was ostensibly the candidate of the prime minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, he has never offered the region an explanation of why a company interested in getting access to security and intelligence information about countries and industries worldwide would be so keen to finance the campaign of his candidate.

Related articles:
Dominica opposition leader weighs in on 'suck salt' controversy
British baroness tells Dominicans to 'suck salt'
Dominica's Commonwealth candidate reveals campaign donors
 
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Comments:

Ricardo Francis:

This is a very informative piece of journalism. I wonder if there is any connection to Ralph Gonsalves in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since this type of situation fits his profile of corruption. Forensically speaking, my perception of this Dominican opportunist was very questionable, without knowing anything about her. Intelligence is big business and money has no loyalty. Everything that happens in dark must and shall come to light, it is just a matter time.

Always,

Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

C. ben-David:

Much ado about nothing.

A lot of people seem to have a problem with a successful and independent black woman being Commonwealth Secretary.

Eddie:

What does race and/or gender have to do with anything?

She can go "sousey sel".

Herbert Volney:

It is sad to say the very least that the smear press comprised of all those with an axe to grind against black people who have risen should be allowed even an iota of credibility in their continued wanton attacks upon the character of Dame Scotland and Roosevelt Skerrit the popular Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Informed sources have identified a discredited Sinclair hater in an ugly conspiracy to smear the good name of Prime X Minister Skerrit and by extension of his Midas touch in global politics just about anything or anybody he associates with. I expect that this campaign will continue until the haters have their way or the Baronness rises to the esteemed office.

Ma Volney:

What people like Mr.Volney and Ben-David fail to realize is that this is resulting in a probe of Cherie Blair's company for corruption/money laundering and not an outright attack on Baroness Scotland. If you had read the article at all or at least glanced at the article by the Daily Mail you would have realized that.

This isn't small island politics. This involves multiple countries and regions being played out in the international media. You can rant and rave about things not going your party's way like it's the comments section on DNO and pull non-issues out of thin air but quite frankly it makes you look pathetic. If you can't see why money laundering, bribery and double-speak by your leaders is wrong or why we need the media to investigate stories like these, you have way bigger personal issues to deal with.

May ALL convicted of corruption in this probe be prosecuted (fairly, of course) and may NO ONE be above the law. The citizens of the Caribbean and the world deserve the best and if Baroness Scotland has nothing to hide she will be perfectly fine.


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