By Elijah Thomas
These days, the word “collude” seems to be the new it word in our political lexicon since the last USA Presidential election. The word means – “come to a secret understanding for a harmful purpose; conspire.” And recently, another new phrase was added to our vernacular by Ms. Kellyanne Conway, a senior legal counsel for the Trump administration – “alternative facts”: that’s when someone deliberately spins a scenario to appear totally different from it’s original intention, purpose or meaning.
Having explained away these definitions, I will address statements made by the UWP members who recently held a press conference in Guyana during the Caribbean Conference with Heads of Government from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The UWP members wanted to “shine a light” on the issue they become implicated in, because they were afraid of the what the legal outcome could be against them – charges of insurrection. This bold face-no face move was an attempt to include the other sister islands into matters that should have been handled by the PM of Dominica, along with his law enforcement personnel – namely the SSU and police officers, and the Attorney General.
UWP heads are scared about the upcoming predicament that they face: it’s a good thing that the government doesn’t have a rendition program. The sympathy card that they presented at their impromptu press conference was pathetic. If my memory serves me right, never before has any opposition leader or party in the region taken up an internal issue – and attempted to sabotage or embarrass it’s own government – before it’s sister members of CARICOM. It definitely puts the other member countries under scrutiny, especially Antigua and St. Kitts who, along with Dominica, are the leading countries participating in the CBI program.
On Tuesday 7th, February 2017 the UWP held a meeting near the Financial Center in Roseau – which houses the office of the PM and other financial entities. UWP requested to have the meeting in front of that office, but it was denied due to the fact that it was not a logical location, giving the possible vulnerability of a security breach by protesters who were demanding the resignation of the PM. A dry run was executed few days before by someone who found himself alone at the Financial Center prepared to present the PM with his/their demands: that individual was later brought in for questioning on a similar matters.
Mr. Linton is no stranger to controversy in these islands – some time back he was a political assassin/verbal hit man for paid opposition entities on three other islands. Most of the leaders in the Caribbean are familiar with his modus operandi, and it was no surprise to any of them that Linton choose this forum to attempt to embarrass or expose what he may think is a criminal operation being conducted by the governments in the region. Mr. Bravado, if you will.
At the press conference he and two other members made false representations to a dismal showing of the press corp. There was hardly anyone present to ask hard, investigative, journalism questions, besides the three lame questions that were asked. That UWP team had the unmitigated gall – after a failed attempted coup d’etat – to appear as meek mouses in front of the Heads of State from the Region.
As far as their demand to have the PM resign, based on their convoluted presentation, I have included an appropriate section of the Constitution of Dominica.
The Constitutional rule of Law in the Commonwealth of Dominica states:
Executive authority of Dominica.
The executive authority of Dominica is vested in the President.
Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive authority of Dominica may be exercised by the President either directly or through officers subordinate to him.
Nothing in this section shall prevent Parliament from conferring functions on persons or authorities other than the President.
Ministers of the Government.
There shall be a Prime Minister of Dominica, who shall be appointed by the President.
Whenever the President has occasion to appoint a Prime Minister he shall appoint an elected member of the House who appears to him likely to command the support of the majority of the elected members of the House.
The President shall remove the Prime Minister from office if a resolution of no confidence in the Government is passed by the House and the Prime Minister does not within three days either resign from his office or advise the President to dissolve Parliament.
If, at any time between the holding of a general election of Representatives and the first meeting of the House thereafter, the President considers that in consequence of changes in the membership of the house resulting from that election and of any general election of Senator the Prime Minister will not be able to command the support of the majority of the elected members of the House the President may remove the Prime Minister from office.
I would like to ask them – the UWP Leader and his cohorts – to respond to the following questions:
Why should or why would CARICOM intervene in the sovereignty of a sister island without credible evidence to justify their intervention?
Their (UWP) presentation did not provide any credible proof that diplomatic or CBI passports were deliberately issued to crooks and criminals in the past 17yrs. Since that re-engineered CBI program has been in existence, less than 1% of these passports were sold to people of ill repute: we are talking about less than 1% of over 10,000 passports from inception of the program, equivalent to less than 10 people in 10,000. This includes the time period when passports were sold by the Edison James (UWP) administration.
Did they ask for Mr. James’ resignation then?
The demand for the Prime Minister to resign over such minute statistics is ridiculous. Mr. Linton and his UWP lackeys persist with their overblown, exaggerated heap of political rhetoric to malign the Prime Minister, since their political ploy to garner some traction in hopes of influencing the citizenry to vote them by the ballots (which they could not accomplish by coup d’etat) in the next election cycle. The demand for the PM to resign is not gaining any currency – to use your words, Mr. Linton.
The rally last week was the largest crowd you have ever witnessed to participate in your endless protest rallies. You tried it in Salisbury last year – same modus operandi. You guys did not want to lose this momentum or opportunity, knowing how long it took to get this type of attention, so you chose your words deliberately to incite your followers to the point that you no longer had control of the crowd. You did nothing to calm the situation or diffuse tempers, and prayed that you would not be implicated or blamed for whatever incidents occurred after.
How can you conduct a protest rally in the capital of Roseau, next to the Financial Center, and say that there is no law in Dominica that prevents a political party or anyone from having a protest meeting at high noon in the capital? We are a country with laws, rules and regulations, not a free for all. Your recent political shenanigans would give any law enforcement pause, and they have every right to err on the side of caution to protect the PM and the citizenry in the vicinity.
Do you need the law to tell you that this situation would disrupt the economic flow and safety of the country? If you were the PM or Chief of Police, would you allow it?
The fact that you apologize for the vandalism makes you implicit for their actions. Yes, your meeting incited the vandalism; your defiance of not keeping to designated time was deliberate, and the catalyst for the start of the disruptive behavior and targeted vandalism.
As for the alleged international interest in the happenings in Dominica, John Batchelor and Gregory Copley, both Washington DC residents, seem to be culpable in your plan to smear the PM. They colluded to quickly produce four podcasts in less than a month on a matter that is not consistent with their podcast format. UWP used their connection in DC to demonstrate their influence in the US capital and NYC. That does not translate into amicable concern for citizens who hang on your every word for truth to power accolades. But little do they know or realise that those who have the loudest voices condemning the PM might be the only people that will enjoy the spoils of victory.