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Letter: The dirty linen of passports for cash in Dominica
Published on January 10, 2017 Email To Friend    Print Version

Dear Sir:

In the wake of the January 1, 2017, edition of CBS News 60 Minutes which featured comments from me in a story dubbed “Passports for Sale”, the prime minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has led a disgraceful campaign of lies, deception and propaganda to discredit, demonize and dehumanize me as a participant in a conspiracy to cause the demise of Dominica’s citizenship by investment programme.

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For the avoidance of doubt, as a citizen of Dominica by birth, a parliamentarian representing the people of Marigot and leader of the parliamentary opposition, I agreed to be interviewed by CBS News 60 Minutes for a story on citizenship by investment in the Caribbean.

In his tissue of lies to trick and deceive, the prime minister claims that my appearance on 60 Minutes was influenced and/or financed by Henley & Partners and/or its chairman Chris Kalin, who “has never been disposed to Dominica” because of his administration’s “refusal to hire them as the exclusive agent for our citizenship by investment programme”.

In dismissing this outrageous lie, I state categorically:

1. Neither the United Workers Party nor myself have any party assistance, campaign financing, consultancy arrangement or cooperation agreement with Chris Kalin and/or Henley and Partners

2. I dealt directly with the producers of 60 Minutes who extended the invitation and there was absolutely no third party involvement in my decision to agree to the interview

3. In every respect and every aspect, I spoke the same truth I have been speaking for years about matters of concern in the evolution of an economic citizenship program that would keep Dominica away from being a threat to global security. I said what I meant; I meant what I said in the public interest of Dominica. I was correctly quoted and represented.

The prime minister was invited to appear on the CBS News 60 Minutes program. He declined. And then between himself and his ambassador in the US capital Vince Henderson, another lie is being manufactured to claim that he was not invited. Instead of ridiculing and crucifying me for speaking incontrovertible truths on behalf of the poor people of this country, Skerrit can do the honorable thing, follow my example and accept the invitation of CBS News 60 Minutes to tell his CBI truths and facts to a global audience. Unfortunately, the coward hides behind claims that the “dirty linen” of the program confirmed by members of his own team, should not be washed in public.

Much has been said by Skerrit and his army of propagandists about the term “mail order” to which the Dominica CBI program was likened. It was Steve Kroft, the CBS News 60 Minutes correspondent who suggested in a question that since passport purchasers could pay for their passports from wherever they are in the world and did not have to show up in Dominica to receive them, then it was “sorta mail order citizenship”. I replied: “Sort of. Something like that.”

In the CBI program, as is the case in the mail order business, there is no face to face contact between buyer and seller in the exchange of goods and/or services for money. The Skerrit administration’s embarrassment with the inconvenience of this fact doesn’t make it any less true that there are fundamental similarities between buying a Dominican passport and buying a pair of shoes on Amazon.com.

It is the view of the parliamentary opposition in Dominica that the transparency and accountability discipline needed to ensure the integrity of Dominica’s citizenship by investment program quite simply does not exist. There is the classic case of an employee of the Citizenship by Investment Unit transferring to his personal account at Dominica branch of an international bank an amount of $1.5 million and declaring “sale of passports” as the source of funds. In the face of this glaring example of Corruption of CBI revenues 101, Skerrit and the other mouthpieces of CBI accountability and transparency responded with the loud sound of silence.

But even more dangerous than the security concerns driven by this lack of transparency and accountability is the under the table trade since 2004 of Dominica diplomatic passports to a global band of scoundrels, fugitives, tax cheats, fraudsters and money launderers. Facilitated by the Skerrit administration, this guild of rogues is intensifying its assault on our international diplomacy to entrench itself as the single biggest threat to the integrity, safety and continuity of the CBI program.

Dominica’s corps of “dodgy diplomats” includes:

1. Diezani Allison Madueke – the former Nigerian oil resources minister, holder of Dominica diplomatic passport DP0000445 issued in May 2015, accused of stealing hundreds of millions from the public purse

2. Francesco Corallo – Skerrit’s 2011 choice for ambassador to the FAO in Rome who held a Dominica diplomatic passport while he was on Interpol’s list of most wanted criminals

3. NG Lap Seng – holder of Dominica diplomatic passport who claims he influenced Skerrit to switch diplomatic relations from Taiwan to China, currently in the custody of US law enforcement awaiting trial on charges of bribery and money laundering.

Skerrit claims, his government suspended relations with Madueke and Corallo when their entanglements with the law became public. But to date, the prime minister has not been able to deny that his out of favour diplomats are still in possession of the Dominica diplomatic passports. Instead, the Foreign Minister Francine Baron has refused to answer a question posed in the Parliament seeking the names of holders of Dominica diplomatic passports who are not members of Parliament and who have had those diplomatic passports either withdrawn or revoked prior to expiration.

In the circumstances, I verily believe these to be two current examples of diplomatic passports that have been sold to questionable individuals who are in trouble with the law but continue to hold on to the diplomatic passports because they paid top dollar for them and the money they paid “under the table” has not been refunded.

We are deeply concerned that, under Skerrit’s watch, the citizenship by investment program has been mismanaged and corrupted to become primarily a source of funding for Labour Party theft of elections and wealth creation for a chosen few while thousands of young people cannot find jobs; small business owners, farmers, construction workers and service sector employees are catching hell; health care is in decline and students at UWI cannot graduate because their government (swimming in passport millions) has not paid the agreed UWI economic cost.

On one hand the Skerrit administration claims that Dominica is dependent on tourism, foreign direct investment and international assistance in times of natural disasters and on the other hand it refuses to recognize and accept Dominica’s moral obligation to responsible behaviour for the advancement of global civilization. In fact, Skerrit and his team appear to be claiming an absolute right to engage in behaviours (like under the table sale of diplomatic passports) that endanger the security of other nations – the same tourist markets we are relying on – with the excuse that such behaviour is driven by economic necessity.

Skerrit and company ask the question, what do I want?

• I want an immediate end to the under the table sale of Dominica’s diplomatic passports and/or the assignment of diplomatic rank and privileges to crooks and criminals. Does Skerrit want that too?

• I want full transparency and accountability in the management of Dominica’s CBI program. Does Skerrit want that too?

• I want Dominica to resolve the concerns over breaches to the global security architecture from its CBI program as represented by officials of the US Department of Homeland Security. Does Skerrit want that too?

• I want immediate cancellation of the practice of paying huge, sweetheart commissions to an exclusive marketer when the work of promoting and selling passports is being done by agents. Does Skerrit want that too?

• I want funds from the sale of Dominican passports to benefit all Dominicans and not just the chosen few marketers and agents and those privileged to chose them. Does Skerrit want that too?

Quite obviously, he does not.

Lennox Linton
Parliamentary Opposition Leader
 
Reads: 6067





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Comments:

Anthony W Astaphan:

Dear editor,

Mr Linton is cornered as his lies have finally caught up with him. So he does what he does best, repeat his lies and raise his voice. But he can remove the stain of pathological liar if he simply provided the evidence. its simple, a bribe or corrupt transaction requires at least 2 persons, a date, a time, a place and the exchange of a specific sum of money. To date, and despite his pretentious rage about the public interest, Linton has never names of the persons, dates, time, place and the exchange of a specific sum of money. Instead, he throws count these slogans plagiarized from Google. He has been asked by many to provide the evidence and I am sure by you. I can guarantee you not a shred of evidence was provided.

Worse Linton build his story on his own lie, that criminals on the run needed passports to hide. But this is asinine. Persons appointed to organizations like the FAO require consent of the host State, and their immunity is limited. We saw this in the Juffali matter in the United Kingdom. We also saw a number on UN Ambassadors being charged with specific offences. ( see for example http://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/14/justice/indian-diplomat-indicted/, http://www.newsweek.com/john-ashe-antigua-un-ambassador-arrested-bribe-scandal-380320 and http://www.businessinsider.com/ap-2m-bail-set-for-diplomat-charged-in-un-bribery-case-2015-10 for recent examples).

Further, a Government may ask another to revoke a bipolarity passport or waive immunity. Therefore, the suggestion that a diplomatic passport is a barrier to prosecution is pure Linton hogwash.

what is worse however, idthat Linton alleges that at the time the Prime Minister or Government met with King, Corallo or Lap Seng they were 'criminals on the run.' It will will take no more than 10 minutes on Google to realize that this to was and is a lie. I have addressed this many times on articles on CNN.

As no doubt you will have seen, Linton ducks the facts or is intellectually incapable or incompetent of telling fact from his own fiction He will continue to lie and try to sabotage our country's CBI program and country's reputation because it either fits his pockets or his political ambitions. In my view, Linton is therefore a man incapable of fact comprehension, a dangerous liar, or a traitor to his Nation. By traitor I mean, a man bent of destroying his country in spite of the facts, all because of a dangerous blend of ignorance and arrogance, and a corrupting desire for power at all cost. On the way the likes of Madlyn Joy De Leon will jump on his bandwagon in complete ignorance or disregard of the facts. That is a matter for them. For my part I hope Linton tells us the facts and evidence before he loses his head completely.

Anthony W Astaphan,SC




ran:

Check this out. http://wicnews.com/news-details.php?hid=115&news_id=1281

Joy:

Properly Articulated Honorable Lennox Linton

And you know what i want? I want those of you out there in the other Caribbean islands bashing Lennox in such an unreasonable manner to understand the danger and that he was speaking specifically in regards to Dominica and the DLP's mismanagement that could trickle down to all the other OECS islands.
Use your heads - think for yourself - let your conscience be a part of it.

Blessings

BogoRoy Williams:

During the CBS interview, Mr. Linton spoke for approximately three minutes. Mr. Kroft spoke for ten minutes. In his usual tongue lashing manner, Tony Astaphan found fault with Mr. Linton. As far as he is concerned, Mr. Linton is among the greatest liars to have come from Dominica. I observed, he conveniently left out Mr. Kroft's comments from his criticisms. In my opinion, his comments were more damaging to Dominica then Mr. Linton's. Failing to attack him, am I to believe, all his comments about Dominica's CBI were right. If not, shouldn't Tony Astaphan direct his criticisms and insults at him.

Dr. Kermit D. Frog,Phd.,:

Tony Astaphan knows that he can say whatever he wants in Dominica because he supports and defends the ruling party that has millions of dollars to ensure that they remain in power with imported voters, bribes and massive concerts. Tony also knows that he is part of the “elite” in Dominican society being of foreign decent and considered as being above and better than the “black” sons and daughters of former slaves and the indigenous Kalinago people of Dominica. Last, but most important, Anthony Astaphan is quite aware that he speaks down to a people whom he considers as docile cowards, afraid of one man in the person of Roosevelt Skerrit, afraid of the Police and, as a result, afraid of the great Anthony W. Astaphan. With these convictions, Mr. Astaphan finds it very easy to go on the airwaves and other media outlets to outright insult, denigrate, malign and disparage whomever he wants whenever he wants. I don’t blame him! I blame the fools who allow it!!! Tony Astaphan is a liar and a man who supports theft, corruption, bribery and far worse. Ask Astaphan about the fire bombing at the home of Gon Emmanuel...ask him about his involvement in the attempt to frame and arrest Mr.Linton re the leaking of the Prime Minister's personal IPO information...ask him about his Emails to the Prime Minister with regards to circumventing the Electoral Commission in order to keep an overblown voters list and a lack of Voters' ID cards in place. Believe nothing what you've read above because Anthony W. Astaphan is simply telling lies again!!!


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