Dominica’s Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit says there is a coordinated effort between an international citizenship agency and the Dominica opposition to “destroy” the country’s CBI program.
The Dominican leader said at the core of the problem was his government’s refusal to make the company, which he did not name in a public address Sunday, the exclusive agency for the program.
“ We would not give them an exclusive agency for our CBI program, so they are bent on destroying it,” Prime Minister Skerrit declared at a public meeting Sunday.
It is widely believed that Prime Minister Skerrit was referring to Henley and Partners, a Swiss-based global citizenship and residence advisory firm.
Skerrit accused opposition leader Lennox Linton of doing the bidding of the agency.
Linton’s United Workers Party has sought to make the management of the CBI the central focus of its campaign in the run-up to general elections here, widely expected before year-end.
The Dominica opposition has announced it will initiate a series of actions in its attempt it says to force greater transparency about the program, whose funds have been used centrally to build hundreds of housing units for residents displaced by the hurricane two years ago,
The opposition has announced a demonstration for Monday afternoon to protest the way the government here handles funds generated by the CBI.
It has also warned about launching a campaign of civil disobedience, with Linton complaining at a press conference last week that the government has refused to engage the opposition on the issue.
Linton however, is yet to respond to the suggestion that the company is underwriting his party’s campaign.
Other sources have said that “resources” are being coordinated through a former Vincentian leader, and some of the material to be used by the opposition is being sent through Grenada for delivery soon to Dominica.
“There is a sinister campaign afoot, to undermine and destroy Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Program. It started a few years ago with that appearance of Lennox Linton on the CBS program. It has been unrelenting ever since,” Skerrit said Sunday.
“They have a self-confessed money launderer writing articles every week, lambasting Dominica and its CBI program,” Skerrit complained, referring to the controversial Miami-based blogger Kenneth Rijock, who has targeted the program for criticism.
“The United Workers Party is being paid to conduct the campaign that is currently being waged against the Citizenship by Investment Program.
Victory for their financiers is not at the polls. Victory is in the undermining and destruction of Dominica’s CBI Programme,” Skerrit said.
He told the rally of his ruling Dominica Labour Party that he has more information about the campaign against Dominica’s CBI that he could not release at this time for strategic reasons.
“The leadership of the United Workers Party is being forced to tear down CBI, because that is the only way they will get any serious money from the same financiers, to help with their election campaign,” he said.
Skerrit referred to the external agency as “a group of external colonizers.”
He accused the same agency of “seeking to put pressure on European and American authorities to downgrade the Dominica passport, so that prospective economic citizens would look elsewhere for investment.”
Skerrit suggested that the announced campaign by the opposition against the program this week is a publicity stunt.
“ They want to create enough confusion as to force authorities in Europe and North America to blacklist Dominica’s passport. They want investors to stop investing in Dominica’s CBI program and to invest in similar programs offered by other countries, represented by (the) particular company,” he said.
The opposition has accused the government of not properly accounting for 1.2 billion dollars under the program.
The government has long dismissed the 1.2 billion dollar claim as “ludicrous.”
“That same company has not earned half of 1.2 billion in any country with which it is associated,” Skerrit said Sunday in seeking to debunk the claims, which in a previous address said was based on “fuzzy maths and wild assumptions.”
It is also believed that Henley and Partners are hoping to help set up a CBI program in St Vincent and the Grenadines, should the opposition New Democratic Party wins the next elections.
Former Prime Minister Sir James Mitchell, who once served on the board of Henley and Partners, is now believed to be the main influencer over his old party, after years in the wilderness.
Sir James had little influence over the NDP when his successor Arnhim Eustace was the leader.
“He basically controls new leader Dr. Godwin Friday. Sir James is effectively running the party,” one source close to the party in Kingstown said.
“And they are running everything through Grenada,” a reliable source said.
Both Sir James and Dr. Friday have reportedly made regular trips there this year.
One of Sir James’ “point men” – a controversial St Kitts-based Vincentian who has developed a questionable reputation on some regional electoral campaigns, is said to be helping the current Dominica opposition.
Henley and Partners play a major role in Grenada’s program, and are reportedly hoping to control the program in Dominica, and help set up one in St Vincent, should opposition parties win upcoming general elections.