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OPINION: Linton; holding the doo doo stick

by: - January 16, 2017
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Senior Council, Anthony Astaphan (file photo)

14th January 2017
Anthony W Astaphan,SC

The Leader of Dominica’s Opposition Lennox Linton went on CBS’s 60 Minutes to paint the our CBI program and by extension the other programs in the OECS as a mail order type programs. This was all CBS needed to paint our CBI program as a potential threat to the United States. It did not end there. Immediately after the broadcast, Linton and his subservient surrogates Fontaine. Spags, Clayton Shillingford, and Atherton Martin among others were quick to celebrate the Linton’s lies on the world stage. Atherton Martin even went on Boom FM in St Vincent to repeat the lie and more. Their supporters on Q 95 and DNO were going bananas! The well hidden Executive Committee of the UWP even commended Linton for his great ‘leadership’. Linton was being crowned as a great leader. The fact that he lied was brushed aside. To them, lying is an unimportant fact. The political end was achieved, a very serious potential threat to the very core of Dominica’s economic future.

Following this 60 Minutes event, the Prime Minister delivered an address to the Nation. He said among other things

‘The campaign itself and some of its main actors, were not by and in themselves, a major surprise. We have in the past experienced attack after attack from members of the United Workers Party who we believe work for, or have common interests with persons like Chris Kalin of Henley and Partners. It was former Prime Minister Denzil Douglas who told us that Edison James approached him as a salesman on behalf of Henley and Partners. It is not in dispute that Lennox Linton travelled with him several times. Chris Kalin of Henley and Partners has never been disposed to Dominica, ever since the election of a Dominica Labour Party administration in 2000 and our subsequent refusal to hire them as the exclusive agent for our citizenship by investment programme.

Indeed, you will recall that I have outlined to you before, the close relationship between Henley & Partners and the Leader of the Opposition and the United Workers Party. They or persons introduced by them were major financiers of the UWP in the 2005 and 2009 elections. Indeed, I strongly believe their machinations may have led to the ascension to leadership of the UWP, by Mr. Lennox Linton.

I do not wish to speculate as to whether the program idea was that of CBS or Henley and Partners, but, at this point it really does not matter. I think that Chris Kalin and Linton grabbed the opportunity to convey the negative messages, images and impression of our countries to the world. ….

We have explained ad nauseum how the CBI Programme works and Linton is more than aware of that. Let me once again, stress that the CBI Programme is governed by legislation, and persons seeking citizenship of Dominica under the CBI have to undergo a most rigorous, yet transparent, due diligence exercise, that involves criminal, character and ethics checks, by international law enforcement agencies and authorities and due diligence agencies.

While it is no longer mandatory for face to face interviews to be done, it may be required if deemed necessary. Once due diligence reports are received, a committee of Government officials, review all of the documentation before recommending the granting of citizenship. If there is any doubt or concern, further questions or vetting will take place. In no instance is citizenship granted to any one, if the due diligence checks do not pass muster.

Ladies and Gentlemen, quite simply, Lennox Linton, with the whole world watching, had a choice to make. He could have come down on the side of Dominica, or he could have sided with those who wish to see the demise of the Dominica CBI Program for their own selfish reasons. Which side did he choose? Certainly, not Dominica’s!’

The Prime Minister also said

‘Let me turn now to the issue of diplomatic passports. We have said more than once that diplomatic passports are not sold under the CBI Programme or otherwise. We categorically refute the allegation that diplomatic passports are being sold by this Government as alleged or at all. It is regrettable that even in the face of constant denial and complete lack of any evidence that Mr. Linton would persist and insist on repeating his lies that such a practice exists. .

Parliamentarian Linton spoke on Sunday about the alleged sale of diplomatic passports to three individuals in particular. I wish now to address each of these allegations.

First off, it was said that Bahamian Rudolph King had been issued a Diplomatic passport and appointed Ambassador to Bahrain. Ladies and Gentlemen…that is a lie!

Rudolph King never applied for or was ever granted a passport of any sort, whether service, official or diplomatic, by the government of Dominica.

Rudolph King was never appointed ambassador to Bahrain.

The Government of Dominica has refuted this allegation by Linton on several occasions over the past 12 years, yet he persists in repeating it. This time, on international television.

I call on Lennox Linton one more time, to put up or shut up! To Lennox Linton I say – Provide evidence of Rudolph King having been issued a Dominica passport or having been appointed Ambassador to Bahrain. If you cannot do this, then do the decent thing and apologize to the people of Dominica!

Secondly, Linton claims that attempts were made to appoint Francisco Corallo to the FAO, while he was on an international crime watch list. This again, is a lie.

In June of 2011, the Government of Dominica wrote to the Italian government requesting a no-objection to the appointment of Corallo as its representative to the FAO. The Italian government was concerned in about October/ November 2011 that Corallo had considerable business interests in Italy, and was not comfortable agreeing to him becoming a Diplomat at the FAO. That was the right of the Italian Government to do, and this put an end to the matter.

At this time Corallo was recognized as a successful business man, and was at this time, given in 2011, a clean bill of health by the Ministry of the Interior and Foreign Affairs of Italy. .

It was almost a full year later that reports surfaced of Corallo’s name appearing on an international watch list. By this time, the pursuit of his appointment had already ended, because of Italy’s concern about his expansive business operations in that country. The Italian authorities never once made reference to any concerns about his integrity, alleged criminal background or watch list. .

So it was false and malicious of Lennox Linton to give the impression that at the time of the Government’s request for Italy’s consent to his appointment, Corallo was on an international watch list. That was simply not true. The facts, as made public before, clearly shows that the correspondence to Italy was dispatched in June 2011, and Corallo’s name first appeared on an international watch list in late 2012. Incidentally, Corallo has to date not been convicted of any major crime, as suggested by the program on Sunday. So that is lie No. 2!

The third person of interest named by Linton on Sunday was Diezani Alison- Madueke, a former Head of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries and senior Minister of the Government of Nigeria. Alison-Madueke was also The recipient of Forbes Magazine’s Best of Africa Award In leadership. This is the sterling record which Alison-Madueke had when I invited her to serve as a voice and face of Dominica in Africa, a continent that lies untapped to most countries in the region.

It was some time after I spoke to Alison-Maduake that she was approached by British authorities and detained for questioning in the United Kingdom. She has up to this day, not been charged with any crime and is not wanted by any country. She currently resides in London, England, a free woman. However, when the news broke of her detention, the Government of Dominica voiced its concerns publicly and made clear that its association with Alison-Madueke was suspended until such time as she was cleared of all suspicion of wrong doing.

As I said earlier, to date no charges have been brought, but still the Government of Dominica has no connection with the former international figure, based on the concerns as expressed back then by the British authorities.’

The Prime Minister did not mince his words. Nevertheless, and despite his denials and demand that Linton put up or shut up, Linton and his band of UWPites continued the show of lies unabated.

Mr Sam Raphael, who ran as an independent against the Government some years ago, went on Q 95 and told the Nation that the 60 Minutes program was a hit job. He added that he was interviewed by CBS’s staffers who were not interested in what he was saying because he was not eating their slosh when Linton swallowed with cool-aid. He also said or implied that Linton’s portrayal of the CBI was false. Linton and his Cabal went for Sam’s throat.

Mr Gregor Nassief, another successful and independent citizen, condemned Linton. Mr Nassief repudiated three of Linton’s many lies frontally. He wrote

‘ACT #1: Mail order is the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. The buyer places an order for the desired products with the merchant through some remote method such as through a telephone call or web site. Then, the products are delivered to the customer. Acquiring Citizenship to Dominica is nothing like mail order. Amazon.com or any mail order company does not conduct an extensive due diligence on the buyer before agreeing to sell. Such due diligences are thorough and pick up every material detail on the applicant’s past. The requirement for a “ face to face” interview was removed to remain competitive in the market place as other jurisdictions first abolished this and can only be justified on the merits of the integrity and robustness of the due diligence process. The steps in the process are available on line: http://cbiu.gov.dm/citizenship/how-to-apply/ To suggest the two processes are similar is intentionally misleading and damages the destination and its CBI program. ;.

FACT:…. BUT there is absolutely no evidence that the public is aware of that “we are selling passports to criminals” and that these diplomatic passports are being sold for cash under the table. The Government has also stated categorically and repeatedly that Rudolph King was never appointed ambassador to Bahrain and has never held a Dominica passport. This was the most damaging aspect of your presentation on 60 minutes and you have provided absolutely no proof of these assertions. It is telling that you would discuss the details of diplomatic passports on a 60 minutes program focussed on CBI knowing full well that one has nothing to do with the other. Your intent to further your agenda at the expense of the country’s reputation for political gain is clear…
FACT: FACT: Again, there is no evidence of “under the table trading”. That is your speculation. ’

Then 11 days after the CBS broadcast Henley & Partners issued a press release on the 12th January 2017. This press release followed the Prime Minister’s Address and expose of what appeared to all of us to be some collusion with Linton as the subservient actor. Let’s be clear, the 60 Minutes program was not a live broadcast. All persons and participants were interviewed before the broadcast. Therefore, the inevitable inference is that Kailin would have been aware of the line taken by the staffers early o’clock, and therefore the real potential for damage before the 60 Minutes program was broadcast.

Subsequent to the broadcast, and our Prime Minister’s strong stance, Henley & Partners was compelled, if not obliged, to recognize the very false and damaging mail order lie of Linton, and the significant damage caused by their own participation, and that of Linton on 60 Minutes program. With this press release Henley & Partners now comes clean with the deception of Linton, and integrity of the CBI programs.

In its press release Henley & Partners said

‘Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment Programs

Following a report broadcast on the 60 minutes television program in the US, Henley & Partners, the globally leading firm in citizenship by investment, is concerned about the one-sided image that the report paints of Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) programs.
Henley & Partners has been involved in the region for over 20 years and has worked with all Caribbean CBI programs to date. While every program is exposed to certain risks and challenges, the firm is of the view that today, the Caribbean citizenship programs are generally very well run and do not pose a security threat as was suggested in the TV program.
……….
Dr. Christian H. Kalin, a specialist in immigration and citizenship law and policy and the Chairman of Henley & Partners, who was also interviewed on the TV program, says that what was stated in the program also regarding security risks is inaccurate and does not reflect the current reality. Kalin states: “Of course there is always room for improvement, but generally speaking the Caribbean has well governed and secure programmes. The alleged sale of diplomatic passports is an entirely different matter and lies outside the scope of Citizenship-by-Investment programs. I believe that major countries such as the US actually recognize those facts and will continue to work with the Caribbean governments to further strengthen the measures already in place. No Caribbean government is interested in having their CIP cause a problem to the international community.”
Kalin continues: “It is important also to realize that Citizenship-by-Investment programs have played and continue to play an important part in attracting much needed foreign direct investment in the Caribbean. The programs are therefore of vital economic interest in the region and have helped several economies, notably St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica as well as Antigua and Barbuda, to sustain sufficient capital inflows during economically challenging periods.”

Henley & Partners and its Chairman Dr. Kalin are concerned that only small and selective extracts of Dr. Kalin’s carefully differentiated interview were aired, so that the TV program did not reflect his views comprehensively. The comments that were aired have not properly communicated the context in which he spoke.’

These are clear words of condemnation. Although Linton is not mentioned in the release specifically, the primary target of the press release is Lennox Linton. Linton set the script for CBS with his unpatriotic and dishonest description of the CBI program as no more than a mail order transaction. Henley & Partners responded by exposing Linton’s mail order description of the CBI program, which carried the implication of poorly run programs, and potential threats to the United States, as a complete and absolute fabrication. They said these programs are ‘….well governed and secure programmes‘ and pose no risk to America. The result is that Henley, in context and inferentially, called Linton a liar, and threw him under the bus. In other words, Linton was rubbished no differently to the drunk’s disposal of a used plastic cup at a fete! No comfort or support was given to him on the diplomatic passport allegations as Henley & Partners brushed them as allegations.

The second target was CBS 60 Minutes. Henley & Partners have confirmed the complaint of Mr Sam Raphael that the program was tailored and a hit job on Dominica as well as St Kitts, and Antigua.

The consequence of the Prime Minister‘s Address, and this Henley & Partners press release, is that Linton is now marooned on an Island of Fools exposed for what he is; a pathological liar, and threat to the State of the Commonwealth of Dominica. He stands alone holding what the great Tim Hector of Antigua would have described as the foul stick of doo doo as a badge of his own ignorance and dishonor to country!

14th January 2017
Anthony W Astaphan,SC