By: Gregor Nassief
How could you go on a news program watched by over 12+ million American viewers and portray your island – our island – as a rogue nation selling passports “mail order” (suggesting you can buy a passport like you buy a pair of shoes on Amazon.com), and worst, suggesting that we are selling them to criminals?
How could you do this Lennox, to a country that depends on tourism as a major pillar of economic development, to a country that desperately needs investment in new projects to create jobs, to a country that was left so fragile after Tropical Storm Erika?
Whatever concerns you have about the Citizenship Program or the issuing of diplomatic passports, or any Government related practices or issues, why on earth would you fight that battle at the expense of your country’s reputation on the most successful television broadcast in history to millions and millions and millions of viewers, most of whom would never have heard of Dominica, all of whom now believe we are Criminal Enterprise. Does it make you proud? Accomplished? Man-on-the-moon kind of satisfaction?
As you are aware, the Citizenship By Investment program was started by Eugenia Charles in 1993 through an act of parliament and, to the best of my knowledge, has continued under every administration since then. There are over 100 such programs worldwide offered by 80 countries.
Are you suggesting that the program be shut down? Are you wanting to change the rules of the game? Are you asking for more information to be shared? Whatever it is you are fighting for, convince our people, convince the Government. I ask again, why oh why would you deliberately go outside of a Dominica context and beyond a Dominica platform knowing full well that you would so tarnish our image to potential visitors and investors and the world at large? Are the people of Dominica not wise enough, not educated enough, to make a decision for themselves on these matters? Why do you need to involve 12+ million American and international viewers in the discussion?
I have fought and continue to fight battles as well – for increased competitiveness of our investment framework, for improved operating parameters for the tourism sector, for a comprehensive response to vagrancy, for a more robust approach to tackling crime, for firmer enforcement of laws against litter, noise pollution and poor environmental practices, for a more open and tolerant society, and the list goes on. We as a country need to do better on all of these matters, but no matter what concerns I have about my country’s progress, I would never attempt to advance my own agenda at the expense of the country and I would never deliberately go onto a world stage and air what I consider to be my perception of our nation’s dirty laundry.
Why would you do this to Dominica?
I hope our CBI program, after being in existence for 23 years, survives this. Now, more than ever, our country needs it.
I hope Dominica recovers.
I fear you may not.