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OPINION: The ‘Dirty Linen’ Of Passports For Cash In Dominica

by: - January 11, 2017
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Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton

PRESS STATEMENT
Jan 10th, 2017
Hon. Lennox Linton
Parliamentary Opposition Leader

EDITED PRESS STATEMENT

[Editorial Note: The original Press statement has been edited as several statements of fact in the original statement could not be substantiated nor was evidence provided after a request made for verification of those statements]

Roseau, Dominica – In the wake of the January 01, 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.

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 or 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 …. 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”. …

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. …

Skerrit claims, his government suspended relations with Madueke and Corallo when their entanglements with the law became public. … 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.


We are deeply concerned that Under Skerrit’s watch, the Citizenship By Investment Program has been mismanaged … to become primarily a source of funding for Labour Party destruction of elections with integrity 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 behavior for the advancement of global civilization. …

Skerrit and company ask the question, what do I want?
• I …
• I want full transparency and accountability in the management of Dominica’s CBI program. 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