On Sale of Dominica's Passport & Diplomatic Positions
January 3, 2012 - In the 1990s the Dominica Freedom Party started a program of sale of Dominican citizenship in exchange for investment on our island. That program was called the Economic Citizenship Program. Several of us in the Dominican Diaspora then, as now, thought the program ill advised. On the ascension of the Dominica United Workers Party to office, the program was continued; several non-Dominicans were appointed as diplomats at that time. In the election of 2000, the late Roosevelt Douglas promised that he would move to stop the sale of passports when he gained office. That issue came into prominence, because approximately eleven Chinese nationals in possession of Dominican passports had entered Canada at Lester Pearson International Airport in November 1999. The Canadian authorities subsequently detained them on the grounds that they were trying to illegally gain entry into the United States via Canada. That event was to result in the imposition of visas on Dominicans entering Canada, a country which Dominicans had entered in the past without the hindrance of a visa requirement.
For the past several years The Dominican.net internet magazine published by Dr. Thomson Fontaine has informed the public and others of the practice of passport sales by the Government of Roosevelt Skerritt. The magazine later alerted Dominicans at home and abroad of the practice of the Roosevelt Skerritt led Government of appointing foreigners of ill repute to the position of ambassador. In 2011, the magazine alerted Dominicans that a certain Francesco Corallo had been appointed as Dominica's ambassador to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Upon information and belief, Francesco Corallo's appointment was rejected by the Italian Government and he was arrested for fraud and tax evasion by Italian police. Earlier, another envoy of the Roosevelt Skerritt's Government one Rudolph King was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for fraud. Finally, in a January 2, 2011 publication of the Dominican.net, credible evidence is provided that Belgian Nazi leader Mr. Serge Roger De Thibault De Boesinghe (a confidant and ally of Waffen SS Wallonien Division leader Leon Degrelle- a war criminal who fought the allies in World War II) was appointed ambassador to Ireland by the regime. It must be noted that Dominicans, as part of Britain then, proudly served in freedom's vanguard in the British armed forces and against Nazism.
In 1981, US Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members attempted to invade Dominica in league with disgraced Labour Party leader Patrick John who once led the Dominica Labour Party. The invaders were arrested by the FBI at New Orleans, Louisiana in the so called Bayou of Pigs (Also called Operation Red Dog) invasion plot. In a cruel twist of history, we now have a Nazi being appointed to represent Dominica by a so-called Dominica Labour Party Government. That appointment was rejected by the Irish Government. That event is another instance of the lack of due diligence and transparency by the Government of Roosevelt Skerritt. None of that information would have come to light were it not for the investigative journalism of Dr. Fontaine and other champions of a free press.
At this time it is clear that the so-called Economic Citizenship Program is nothing but a cover for the appointment of foreign crooks and others of ill repute. Those appointments have had the net effect of damaging the image of our nation among the family of nations. The practice of selling passports threatens the national security, dignity and reputation of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The continuance of that practice diminishes our citizenship and is a rebuke to our proud heritage. Further, that practice threatens the safety of our CARICOM member states, as those holding Dominican passports can enter CARICOM nations without visa requirements. At a time of global terrorism, that behavior exposes our island to the threat of becoming a haven for crooks, criminals, fugitives from justice and those who may use the cover of our passport to attack friendly and/or allied nations nearby or further afield.
The call by civic minded Dominicans to abolish the sale of passports, and the appointment of foreign crooks as diplomats by the Governments, has been responded to with a dismissive attitude by Government spokesman Anthony Astaphan. Instead of abolishing that reckless and irresponsible practice, Anthony Astaphan has sued Dr. Thomson Fontaine on behalf of Roosevelt Skerritt. Roosevelt Skerritt has ceded his authority to his chief spokesman and legal advisor Anthony Astaphan and has not shown any leadership in being accountable and transparent with the citizens of Dominica. The Government of Roosevelt Skerritt is running the national Government in secret and denies Dominicans any information from their own Government. That tactic of intimidatory law suits have been the hall mark of a regime which seeks to use its dominance of the institutional landscape to muzzle the press, stifle its opponents, and deny the people any accounting of their conduct. Such a behavior bears the hallmark of dictatorship, is contrary to our democratic traditions, and is condemned here.
In view of the above, the Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences, as a civic organization committed to the national reputation, the national security, peace and prosperity of our people, demand the immediate abolition of the so-called Economic Citizenship Program, which is nothing more than a cover for the sale of passports and diplomatic positions. We call for a commission of inquiry to investigate and punish those who have abused that program and/or are involved in the appointment of foreign crooks as diplomats. Where the Government of Roosevelt Skerritt will not abolish that program forthwith and/or appoint an impartial commission of inquiry to investigate wrongdoing, we demand that it resign. Any failure to so act in the public interest, threatens law and order, and poses a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of Dominica
Gabriel Christian Esq.
President, Pto Tem, Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences (www.da-academy.org).