DOMINICA-POLITICS-Opposition party announces campaign of civil disobedience

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CANA is reporting that Dominica’s main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) Wednesday announced plans for a campaign of civil disobedience in support of electoral reform as well getting the relevant authorities to probe allegations that EC$1.2 billion (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) have been missing from the controversial Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme.

UWP and Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, said that the party would be staging a peaceful gathering outside the official residence of President Charles Savarin on Monday “to present a formal complaint…requesting his intervention” into the missing funds.

Opposition Leader Lennox Linton speaking at news conference (CMC Photo)

He said a “peaceful gathering” would also be staged outside the police headquarters “to present a formal complaint” to the Police Commissioner as well as outside the High Court building on Monday “ to present notification of our pursuit of appropriate legal action to have the missing money deposited in the Consolidated Fund of Dominica”.

Linton said that the UWP would also embark on a campaign seeking the assistance of law enforcement officials from the United States, Britain, INTERPOL and the European Union’s financial intelligence unit “to find the missing 1.2 billion dollars and deposit it in the Consolidated Fund of Dominica”.

He said there would also be a campaign “to inform the international community of the refusal of the government of Dominica to account for the missing 1.2 billion dollars,” he told reporters.

Linton first raised the issue of the missing money during the debate of the country’s national budget earlier this year and told reporters that more than 50 days since he had raised the matter, there has been no official response from the Roosevelt Skerrit administration to the allegation.

Last month, Prime Minister Skerrit, speaking at the launch of a candidate for his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) brushed aside the allegations that the EC$1.2 billion was missing under the CBI that allows foreign investors to make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of He said the allegation was intended to damage the reputation of the programme, saying “the objective of the creators of this ‘Where De Money Gone’ campaign is to create such doubt in the integrity of Dominica’s CBI programme that foreign authorities would consider imposing sanctions against Dominica’s CBI programme.

“They do not wish for our passport to remain a hassle-free travel document to many countries around the world. They want countries to deny free access to holders of Dominican passports. Lennox Linton is helping them taint our programme so that more countries will impose visa restrictions on holders of Dominican passports.”

Linton told the news conference that the money being sought does not belong to him, the UWP or civil society groups.

“”This is not a fight to get Lennox Linton’s personal money…this is a struggle to find hundreds of millions of dollars that belong to the people of Dominica so that these monies can be used for the benefit of all the people of Dominica,” he said, brushing aside threats of legal action against him.

Linton said since he raised the matter of the missing funds in the Parliament, the attacks against him has been “vile…merciless” but that he is not easily intimidated.

He told reporters that the UWP would also be engaging “in a campaign of civil disobedience all over Dominica until the list of electors is cleaned, ID cards for voting are issued and the missing 1.2 billion dollars is properly and completely accounted for”.

The UWP as well as some non-governmental organisations in Dominica have been calling for electoral reform, including the introduction of identification cards. They have also accused the ruling party of bribing voters by paying for airline and boat tickets to ensure they travel to the island to vote in past elections.

But the government has instead accused the opposition parties here of frustrating the exercise pointing to the fact that the Electoral Commission has said very clearly on numerous occasions it needed the passage of the necessary legislation to give effect to those measures.

Linton told reporters  said he was calling on “the sons and daughters of the nature island to come forward, to embrace the right to stand for right, to fight for honour…and not be imprisoned in the never ever ending struggle to survive while a few make merry with our passport billions”.

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