By G.A. Dwyer Astaphan
I’ve just finished listening to Mr John Batchelor of the John Batchelor Show in the USA interviewing Mr Gregory Copley. I also read a report of the interview.
If you do a little googling, you’ll get a sense of the politics of those two gentlemen.
The interview is about the Dominica situation
Dwyer Astaphan is a lawyer and former St Kitts-Nevis minister of national security and tourism
Might it be that the zealous and extravagant rhetoric that we’re getting from these folks is blunting their ability to fact check before publishing? Or are they deliberate advocates of ‘alternative facts’? Indeed, are they political hit men?
Now this is my third article on the matter, and I have to make it clear, for the third time, that I don’t have a horse in the political race in Dominica. Instead, it is as a caring and concerned citizen of the Caribbean, as a man with long-standing personal ties to Dominica, and as a sinner trying to live by conscience and truth, that I am putting in my five cents’ worth.
If Prime Minister Skerrit has committed any wrongdoing in office, then the truth must be revealed and all appropriate legal remedies invoked. If he and his administration have not served the best interests of Dominicans, then they must be hauled over the coals and made to pay at the polls.
Of course, there’s also the mechanism of the motion of no confidence, which can be introduced in the country’s Parliament. And if such a motion succeeds, then there’d be an election. But even if it doesn’t succeed, then at least there will have been an opportunity for the opposition to advance their case and raise their stock leading up to the next elections.
And there are other kinds of pressure that can be brought on the incumbents by the political opposition in Dominica. But while this play is about Dominica, most of its major actors are foreign. And those foreign actors want regime change in Dominica, and they want it now.
Let me get to the interview and the report.
The latter states, inter alia, that Mr Skerrit is the leader of the Dominica Freedom Party, while in the interview Mr Copley describes it as the Democratic Labour Party. Both are incorrect. Why couldn’t they get this basic bit of information right?
Then the report states that Mr Skerrit’s personal attorney, Mr Anthony Astaphan, is married to the daughter of former Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Mr Lester Bird. Again, incorrect.
In the interview, Mr Copley claims that “tens of thousands” of Dominicans took to the streets on February 7, 2017, to protest. I read somewhere that the police estimated the crowd at 450 persons. I also saw photos, and I think that the police were closer than Mr Copley to the real number. However, let’s say that the police were way off the mark and let’s presume that the crowd was 2,000. There’s a massive difference between 2,000 and “tens of thousands”. So where would Mr Copley have gotten the very impressive sounding but so obviously extravagant “tens of thousands”? Did he manufacture that number? Why?
Mr Copley further stated that “Dominica is the capital for hidden money in the world these days”. The capital for hidden money in the whole world? Statements like that can be very impactful, but only upon people who aren’t thinking.
Why in the world would Mr Copley float a fanciful notion like that when he fully knows that it makes absolutely no sense, and that the Swiss, the British, the Americans, and others, would ever allow something like that to happen? It’s in the metropolis and in some cases its dependent and satellite territories that the big money is hidden, not in places like Dominica.
Then he went on to claim that Q95 FM is the only independent radio station in Dominica. I am by no means an expert on Dominican radio stations, but I’ve listened to Q95 on occasion and I get the impression that it favours the opposition.
And that’s okay. But if it does favour the opposition, why did Mr Copley refer to it as the only independent radio station in Dominica? Wouldn’t he have been briefed? And by his own words, are Kairi FM and Vibes FM, not to mention the religious radio stations, all the mouthpieces of Mr Skerrit?
I doubt that.
But Mr Copley had more to say. He claimed that Mr Skerrit is creating another Cuba in the Caribbean, indicating that the Dominica-China connection is a replication of the Cuba-USSR connection, and the report stating that “China has been using Dominica as a major springboard for international operations, particularly geared at penetration of the United States”.
So if that’s true, then one can expect the United States to push back. But it’s difficult to imagine any Caribbean leader today, most especially a leader of a tiny nation like Dominica, teaming up with any other nation to deliberately create hardship for the United States. Our region’s leaders will try to establish and sustain good relationships with countries across the world, but they all recognize the significance of a good relationship with the United States. And Mr Skerrit isn’t a crazy man.
And if this ‘China springboard’ story isn’t true, then while the United States might not have a problem with Dominica, there may be, indeed, there are, foreign business people who, for one self-serving reason or another, want a regime change on the island, and they will say and do whatever they think they need to do in order to achieve their objective. And in the process, they’ll shoot off all kinds of propaganda – the more sensational, and, weirdly enough, the more illogical and unlikely, the better….like what we’re getting from this Batchelor-Copley interview.
Remember the United States went to war in Iraq over false reports of weapons of mass destruction being in the hands of Saddam Hussein? Some interest group had fed the misinformation, had fed the ‘alternative facts’, to the US government, and billions of dollars later, and, most tragically, thousands of lives later (and still counting), things got worse in Iraq than before the invasion in 2003.
But not worse for everybody. Some of those blood-sucking corporations and other interest groups benefited greatly from this mass anguish caused by people peddling falsehoods. And some are still benefiting greatly out of the instability in the region.
The Batchelor-Copley interview, and the report of it, is loaded with propaganda. Propaganda designed to bend people’s minds, to shape opinions, and to achieve a particular objective. The mind benders are part of a campaign that has already convinced many people that facts don’t matter, only opinions.
Welcome to the world of ‘alternative facts’.
The Russians were involved in mind-bending in the recent US presidential election. They want NATO and the European Union weaker. They loved Brexit, and they welcomed Trump. All of that would be in their best interests, so they believe.
Similarly, private British, and other interests have engaged mind-benders for elections in a few of our islands in the Eastern Caribbean. Their objective was the same as that of the Russians: to get their horses to win the race. These interests have engaged, and continue to engage, political hit men who launch vicious assaults on the opponents of their ‘horses’, and who produce the fodder of ‘alternative facts’ for the voters to feed on.
That’s what they do. And they do it either to keep a party in power or to effect regime change. We saw it at work here in St Kitts and Nevis in the 2010 general elections, when mind-benders and political hit men were paid handsomely to try to keep the incumbents in power. And they succeeded.
I’m not vouching for the souls of Mr Skerrit and his associates, simply because I’m not sufficiently aware of details of the goings on in Dominica, but it seems that ‘The Nature Isle’ is in the crosshairs of these mind benders and political hit men. And they have no compunction whatsoever with regard to throwing out ‘alternative facts’.
All of this is a manifestation of how the world is evolving.
In the past, little countries like ours would be destabilized directly by higher powers on the planet, sending in their agents. Today, much of the destabilization and regime change is perpetrated by or on behalf of corporations.
The corporate interests hold heavy influence over Brussels, Westminster, Washington, Ottawa, Paris, The Hague, Berlin, etc., and they exercise even more influence over “little bitty” countries like ours. And when these corporate interests get their way, as they often do, the game of greed and control continues, only sometimes with different dark faces fronting for the real power players.
And now certain players want Mr Skerrit out. They’re not getting as much as they think they should get out of the land of many rivers.
They see a little country with, for want of a nicer sounding term, ‘an industry’ that can generate substantial revenue for them. A little country which can use that revenue to install much-needed infrastructure for its people, and do so without having to borrow massive amounts of money, which it would never be able to pay off, thereby avoiding eternal debt and disgrace.
And they don’t like that.
They see a country trying its best to avoid the catastrophic consequences of yielding to the temptation of grandiose and dazzling projects which are put endearingly in front of the country’s leader by the economic hit men representing the metropolis. These economic hit men make money for the corporations whose interests they serve, and whose profits are assured by their host governments or other international financial institutions, but they wreak havoc in the third world country.
You see, because they know that the economic citizenship industry can wean a country like Dominica off the economic hit men and their money-grabbing bosses if the government invests that money to establish a sound and sustainable platform for future economic and social development, they’re unhappy.
And they don’t want that.
We in St Kitts and Nevis had the glorious opportunity to lead the way. Instead, our former leader led us up the creek of debt, misdirected much of the revenue, then sold us out.
Dominicans are looking to avoid that foolishness. Mr Skerrit seems to be putting the money into infrastructure, into supporting the smoother operations of his growing tourism plant, into geothermal energy, and so on.
The path that he is walking keeps the economic hit men and their. Money-grabbing control freaks out of the picture.
And they don’t like that.
So they’ve sent in their political hit men, who’re leading the chant with their ‘alternative facts’ and propaganda.
Dominicans, and Caribbean people generally, need to pay close attention to what’s going on.