Dominica’s Prime Minister, the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, addressed the Nation live from Greece at 7:00 p.m. Dominica time AST (GMT-4) on January 28, 2017. See the full script below:
My fellow Dominicans, I have taken a break from a very rigorous schedule of meetings here in Greece to address this latest attack on the social and economic stability of Dominica by opposition forces in Dominica and their agents and allies resident abroad.
First let me say that the agents of Lennox Linton and his cohorts have gone beyond the boundaries of decency and respect for the sovereignty of Dominica when they suggest that it’s leader is the subject of investigation by individuals or agencies whom they themselves cannot name. This is now the height of irresponsibility and shows a callous disregard for the impact of this juvenile, smear campaign on the image and wellbeing of Dominica.
They have sought to name me as a person of interest in criminal investigations being undertaken in the United States when my alleged involvement is a complete falsehood. Before I deal specifically with this, let me assure Linton and his collaborators that foreign governments and our partners with which we do business will not be fooled by this unfolding smear campaign because they have been told to expect this. Our friends in the US will not be surprised and the fact that they know that no such investigation of myself is being undertaken, will simply confirm to them what we already know, that is, if the opposition cannot win playing fairly, they will use underhanded tactics to seek to do so.
For the record, I wish to assure the people of Dominica that Roosevelt Skerrit has never sold and will never sell Diplomatic Passports to anyone and I certainly did not sell a Diplomatic Passport to Mr. Monfared. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already issued a statement on this which clearly the detractors of the Government do not wish to accept because it does not suit the story that they want to tell. For the purpose of clarity and to reiterate the position of my Government, I wish to reiterate pertinent excerpts from that statement……
The Government of Dominica has over the years, as part of its Foreign Policy, extended its program to include partnerships with both nationals and non-nationals who are willing and able to assist, support and serve Dominica in a number of areas. One such area is in the provision of advice and representation in international business and in securing much needed investments.
In 2014, Ali Reza Ziba Halat Monfared, an Iranian businessman resident in Malaysia, became a citizen of Dominica under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBIP). Prior to becoming a citizen a comprehensive due diligence investigation was conducted in 2014 in respect of him by an internationally recognised U.S. due diligence firm as required by the relevant regulations.
Mr. Monfared’s due diligence report showed no areas of concern in any jurisdiction or country including Iran and he passed all other security checks. Additionally, the report found no pending legal or other matters against him anywhere.
Mr. Monfared at the time, was found to be a respected businessman with substantial business ties in Malaysia and Southeast Asia and demonstrated a great desire to be of assistance in promoting Dominica and sourcing business and investment opportunities on behalf of Dominica in that part of the world.
To facilitate his engagement, Mr. Monfared was appointed with Ambassadorial rank. A diplomatic passport was issued to him on March 13th, 2015. Mr. Monfared’s diplomatic passport was recalled and cancelled and all official ties with him were severed effective January 20, 2016, upon receiving information that he may be a person of interest to authorities.
If one reads this article penned by Mr. Rijock, an admitted criminal, it is clear that it is a carefully crafted smear job which pieces together snippets of truth to create a completely false story. How one can seek to create a link between the regular issuance of a diplomatic passport to an alleged violation of international sanctions is simply too incredible to behold.
For the record, I have not been approached nor has my assistance been sought in relation to any of the matters referred to in this article. I have been assured that I am in no way considered a person of interest or relevance to the sanctions evasions case nor any case in Iran against Mr. Monfared. If any information were to be requested from me I would be willing to assist, however I have no information that could be of any relevance to these matters.
I wish to assure citizens of Dominica at home and abroad that this treasonous campaign by opposition forces in Dominica and their allies abroad, will not succeed and will not detract us from the important work that we have to do to rebuild this country.
My Government is firmly resolved to remain focused on improving the lives of our people, and creating opportunities for growth and development.
Last week I visited several of the major capital projects underway around the country and I am very impressed with the pace of work. Very shortly, indeed by March, I expect to be in a position to announce the start of the indoor sports and recreational facility that I have promised to the young people of Dominica. We should also then have commissioned at least two of the social assistance centres referenced in my last budget.
These are the sort of things that are occupying the minds and focus of my Ministers and I as we seek to forge ahead with our social and economic agenda for Dominica.
Our detractors cannot stand the fact that we are executing our policies and programmes efficiently and effectively and this is why they have embarked on this sordid smear campaign to sully the name of Dominica globally. This is all in an attempt to undermine the progress that we are making, undermine the economic stability of the country and get rid of Roosevelt Skerrit.
Citizens and residents of Dominica we need to take a stand and speak out against these brazen acts. How far will they go to score cheap political points? If they succeed in destroying the economic lifeblood of the country to what will we turn? All of the productive sectors are contributing and are in build back mode but we cannot and must not destroy what we have now, in the hope of finding something better down the road.
I appeal to you my fellow countrymen and women, let your voices be heard in condemnation of these politically barbaric acts on the part of the opposition. This is now no longer about the political demise of Roosevelt Skerrit, this is a calculated, targeted and dishonest attack on Dominica.
All right thinking, nation loving Dominicans need to take a stand against the antics of Linton and his UWP cohorts and say ‘enough is enough’. Stop before it is too late.