|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 85 - Monday August 14, 2006
|Prime Minister Skerrit’s Disturbing Approach to Dominica’s Foreign Policy |
Reprinted from the New Chronicle
The revelations contained in the article by Professor Max Hilaire (Is Dominica for Sale? Secrecy and Diplomacy under the Skerrit Government) printed in the June 30th, 2006 edition of the Chronicle are indeed perturbing.
The obvious question that arises is why all the secrecy. The Labour Party promised openness in government. It now appears that the Prime Minister and the Permanent Representative to the United Nations are the only ones involve in the comprehensive review of Dominica’s foreign policy that the Prime Minister boasts of doing. The Cabinet appears to be virtually unaware or uninvolved.
This in itself raises other questions. Is the Prime Minister such an overlord that the Ministers have been reduced to mere spectators to what is going on? Does every Minister do his own thing without consultation regardless of the import of the issue or decision (recall the Charles Savarin-Roman Lakschin fiasco)? Is there no debate or questioning of proposals and decisions in the Cabinet?
Secrecy, or lack of transparency, gives rise to doubts, skepticism, rumours, and suspicion. Lack of transparency conduces corruption and results in poor decision-making and ineffective development outcomes.
We can see examples of this— which are cited in the article—in the questionable background of the persons the Prime Minister, who is himself a novice when it comes to foreign policy, has appointed as representatives of the Commonwealth of Dominica.
In one case, it very much appears that Prime Minister Skerrit has put an American in a position where he is violating the laws of his own country for being in the service of Dominica. Persons with questionable financial dealings are now representing Dominica or formulating Dominica’s foreign policy.
To add insult to injury, the Prime Minister has selected a recent university graduate from Eastern Europe with no experience and no knowledge of Dominica’s history and culture, with no idea of the issues that confront Dominica as our representative in another Eastern European country, the name of which most Dominicans have not heard.
The whole nation here and abroad was told of Billy Doctrove’s appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador. Why is it we are not told about the strange characters that are being chosen to represent us? Why is the Cabinet not consulted? Why is the Press Secretary, who expends so much of his energy and time telling us everything a Minister says, not reporting to the nation on these appointments?
The Prime Minister must provide us with a justification for these appointments. He must inform us who represents us where so that when we Dominicans travel we know where we can seek advice and assistance.
He must offer to the nation reasons for his appointments. And telling us is none of our business is a sufficient case for his removal from office. Dominica is not the personal fiefdom of any one.
In light of recent events, there may be more to the allegation concerning the issuance of a diplomatic passport to a resident in the Cayman Islands, which the Prime Minister never denied.
To avoid the further tarnishing of Dominica’s image and to have good governance on this isle, I call on His Excellency the President to call the Prime Minister to account on this most important matter. I urge the Parliamentary Opposition and the media to play a responsible and vigilant role.
A disappointed and perturbed citizen of Dominica