Monday, May 11, 2009

Freedom party leader responds to the Prime Minister

By Judith Pestaina

Some weeks ago, the private sector was invited to consultations for the 2009/2010 budget. Unfortunately, I was out of state at the time, but the Dominica freedom party was ably represented by Mr. Swanston Carbon.
judith pestaina
Freedom Party Leader Judith Pestaina.

These consultations were aimed at addressing the issues facing our country at a time when we are feeling the effects of the global financial crisis; at a time when remittances from nationals abroad are on the decline and at a time when unemployment has increased as never before.

At a time when violence among youth is on the rise; at a time when many Dominicans are being made more dependent on handouts which are not sustainable and which do not provide them with the independence or the wherewithal they need to feed themselves, clothe themselves and which in effect is destroying the work ethic needed to make our nationals productive.

What we are now faced with is a government led by a prime minister who is trying to denigrate persons who cannot be accused of corruption and who cannot be bought. Persons who will not compromise their integrity for a price or a position.

Because I am sure that if those Dominicans who now rely on favours from government had a choice they would be able to be objective in their thinking and see through what I want to describe as political and economic blackmail. I have always said that I would rather die poor than compromise my integrity and this is what I stand for.

When I was elected unopposed as leader of the Dominica Freedom Party, it was in the knowledge that my track record spoke for itself. Some of my achievements included a six year stint as a graduate teacher at the Portsmouth Secondary School, which I understand the prime minister attended after I left.

Perhaps if he had been there during my tenure he would have learnt to be not so rude and disrespectful. Additionally, I held several positions in the public service ranging from Director, Women’s Bureau, permanent secretary external affairs, permanent secretary education, chief personnel officer, and acting cabinet secretary, among others.

I also worked with the Commonwealth Secretariat as Deputy Director of the political affairs division and special adviser, political affairs for six years before returning to Dominica to take up the position of Managing Director of the Garraway Hotel. My extra-curricular activities included serving as Girl Guide Commissioner, president of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association, among others.

My professional qualifications consist of a bachelor of arts in French, Spanish and linguistics, a post graduate diploma in education, a diploma in international relations, a masters of science in tourism planning and development, among others which qualified me for the many positions held throughout my public service career.

Perhaps that was why after the 2005 general elections the prime minister offered me the post of minister of foreign affairs, which I turned down and for which I recommended Charles Savarin.

In accepting the leadership of the Dominica Freedom Party, I knew that I was following in the footsteps of someone whose integrity in office was unquestionable. I was taking on the leadership of a party renowned for its accountability and transparency in government.

I was associating with a party which was recognized locally, regionally and internationally for its commitment to national development and which was not seeking personal gain through political office. I was going to be part of a political party that restored pride and respectability to our country, which had been destroyed by another labour party government.

Today, we find ourselves confronting another dilemma brought on by the present leadership of the labour party government. How can we have a leadership which can find time to resort to a non-issue in the face of so many critical social, economic and political challenges.

If as the prime minister states that the leader of the Dominica Freedom Party cannot afford to buy paint to paint her hotel what does this say to Dominicans? Is he happy to admit that under his tenure, things have got so bad ?

Is this why he now has to acquire the Sisserou Hotel, which obviously has not been painted for a number of years? What does this say about the investment climate in Dominica?

These are the issues which the prime minister should be addressing instead of seeking to undermine the investment made by local persons like myself and my family who have honestly worked and invested in Dominica to create employment for Dominicans instead of making them line up cap in hand for handouts, which provide them with no job security. What has he personally invested in Dominica to create employment? Nothing!

The prime minister has threatened to expose more information as the campaign gains momentum. Dominicans must ask themselves what kind of leadership would use the political platform to disclose matters negotiated in confidence on the basis of confidentiality.

When investors local or otherwise borrow money whether this is from the bank or under the economic citizenship programme, they do not expect their private business to be exposed on the political platform because they may not be supporters of the party in government.

And why should only government supporters benefit from the public purse. All Dominicans are entitled to their fair share of support and it is disgraceful that we have reached a stage where persons are being discredited for taking the risk of investing in their own country.

I ask all Dominicans to condemn the prime minister for such behaviour, which can only bring his office into further disrepute. I want Dominicans to examine their consciences; I call on all freedomites to disassociate themselves from such shameful and disrespectful utterances. We deserve more.

Dominicans deserve more. As leader of the Dominica freedom party, I urge all Dominicans to demand leadership that is exemplary and uncompromised. We deserve nothing less.

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I unequivocally CONDEMN Prime Minister SKERRIT for his brutal attack on a HARD WORKING DOMINICAN woman of excellent and impeccable character and upbringing. Just as he has on Dominicans living overseas (Writing to the American Embassy in Barbados to hurt Dr. Sam!)I have worked with this woman and she is an honest and sincere person dedicated to the develoment of Dominca. Much more than I can say for Skerrit. Mrs Pestaina will NOT join the RED CLINIC no matter what! SKERRIT is losing it. He can see the handwriting on the wall: Mene, Mene, Tekel Parsin! PM Skerrit, you have been weighed on the scales of justice and good governance and have been found wanting. Your Kingdom has already fallen (Daniel 5:25-28). He has already lost the elections. He does not even know that the mark of his beast is 666. It is written so BIG on Skerrit's forehead.
If the price of a tin of paint is the yardstick for measuring one's capability to lead we only have to look at Govt. headquarters that has been crying out for a coat of paint for years! Enough said!
Skerrit Knows exactly what he is talking about. The lady has mismanaged her hotel is the country she could managed?. From 1998 not one installment has been paid on a loan of EC$6M at the aid bank while Skerrit had to find the money to pay the Caribbean Development Bank for the Aid Bank.

From 1997 she owes Government EC$1.5M not on installment has been paid. She refuses to pay the hotel occupancy taxes previously owed to Govt. How can one be a leader of a political party with such delingquent behaviour.

The truth must be told. These people just waiting to come to power to write off their loans at the aid bank and Government while poor people like me pay our loans and on time.

I believe the government and aid bank should place the hotel in receivership.

Judith Pestaina should just keep her mouth shut on this one. Skerrit is PM from 2004. From 1998 she has not paid one installment to the Aid Bank.

Lets get serious in Dominica.
Like many hard working Dominicans Judith will stand tall for her investnent, loyalty and honesty in public office. She has served Dominica well and will continue to do so. NO one gets into business without a business plan and in partnership with a fimamce company. At least Judoth and her family has tried and invested in Dominica. GHood luck to Judith.
If the hotel has not paid an installment since 1998, everybody in AID bank should be fired. Get your facts straight people.
I see nothing wrong the PM's statements. Mrs. Pestina is running for the top office and I believe here management skills are relevant in this race. If she is unable to run her business successfully then it is fair game for anyone, especially the PM, to comment on it. If that is not a good indication of how she would manage the country’s affairs, then what is? To me it is just absolutely absurd listening to some of the comments made against the PM. He is a politician just like the others and will be attacked viscously by the desperate people out there. In return, he is absolutely free to do the same. In fact, much worst have been said about him. This is the season for politicking and everyone is entitled to do so. So I say to all politicians who can’t take the heat to get out of the kitchen and stop crying like babies. We do not want to see a repeat of Mr. Martin’s childish behavior!
The Hotel is operating for 15 years now. When Skerritt stressed poor Pierre Charles with the help of C. T.and he passed on, he thought
he could BUY AND BRIBE Mrs. Pestaina by offering her Minister of Foreign Affairs. SHE TURNED HIM DOWN!! He accepted HER RECOMMENDATION
Charles Savarin. The Hotel needed more paint in 2005 than it needs now!!
More to come.
Mrs. Pestaina a special psalm for you.
Judge me favorably O Lord, because I have walked with integrity and I have trusted you without wavering. Examine me O lord and test me. Look closely into my heart and mind. I see your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of your truth. I did not sit with liars and I will not be found among hypocrites. I have hated the mob of evildoers and will not sit with wicked people. I will wash my hands in innocence. I will walk around your altar O Lord so that I may loudly sing a hymn of thanksgiving and tell about your miracles.
O Lord I know the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells.
Do not sweep away my soul, along with hardened sinners or my life along with bloodthirsty people.
Evil schemes are in their hands, Their right hands are full of bribes.
But I walk with integrity. Rescue me and have pity on me. My feet stand on level ground. I will praise the Lord with the choirs in worship.
Judith, you will rise above this, well done, stay focus, Dominica needs you and the Freedom Party. DFP saved Dominica in 1979, we shall do it again, the people will rise and will not be bought. The DFP has a proud and reputable track record, it speaks for itself. Do not be distracted we are on your side and they, so called Labour Party, are nervous. We will come to Dominica`s rescue. It is rather unfortunate that the DPF helped this guy into office, and never again will the mistake be made to put in office a 31 year old, who is stil immature,irrational, lacks wisdom and is killing Dominica. We are in a politics of fanfare, soap opera and all that will die soon. God Help us addition, they tried to humiliate Mamo, they called her names, inuuedos etc. She was solid and strong and served Dominica well. It was Domininca first, we had confident, No hand outs, only investments, small businesses thrived, real housing programmes on, people felt happy to be Dominicans, no questionable deeds, no corruption, no red clinic, it was service to the people, the people came first. Savarin and Maynard know is unfortuinate that we are again in this mess........wake up Dominicans. Let us Forward together the time is near and Now
As a Dominican who has not resided in Dominica for 30 years, I am not a supporter of DFP or any other political party on the island. However, I must say that this recent outburst by the prime minister is very immature and low (simply said) and tells much about his character and suitability to run a country. How can anyone have respect for a person who resorts to this type of behavior? How does the PM know that she cannot afford to buy a can of paint? How is it that people can comment on the confidential and personal financial situation of Mrs. Pestaino? Something is wrong in Dominica, and the prime minister (who does not deserve the title of honorable based on his behavior) is making a bad situation worst based on his actions. This prime minister needs to step up and act in a manner that is required of the office that he holds. Those who are justifying the PMs actions because they claim that he has been attacked should step back and look at what the criticism has been. It has all been about integrity in the office that he holds and his personal actions that have affected his job as the PM. I have not seen any criticism about any personal issues that are not related to this job. Wake up, folks and raise the bar on what you want out of a leader!
The people has a right to know the affairs of persons seeking the job as Prime Minister. Prime Minister is being attacked every day on the opposition talk shows.



Ask Skerrit and his cabinet about the MILLION DOLLARS they wrote off for a certain individual who had a loan at the AID BANK and all what that person owed to Income Tax.
That's what Skerrit and his kitchen cabinet knows and we know it too.
More to come
If Skerrit would write off MILLION DOLLARS as you claim then that too would be wrong. However two wrongs dont make any of the wrongs right.

You should not try to justify a wrong by claiming another wrong had happened. Any way there is no evidence to support your assertion that Skerrit has written off MILLIONS at the Aid Bank.
aaahhhhhhh The Dominica Freedom Party is BACK!!!!!!! Where do I sign up?
Don't worry that's just Freedom's 15 minutes of fame. I don't believe you fell for that....You probably stand a better chance with the PDM :)
lol! You sound worried :) But time will tell wont it so lets just wait and see how everything unfolds!
My only worry is that the DFP disappears all together. We need them as viable opposition. UWP isn't cutting it :)
I totally agree! But Judith cannot do it on her own so as a Freedomite who unfortunately voted Labour in 2000 and 2005 and although I have not regretted Rosie I have regretted Skerrit to the core of my being so thank goodness for Judith and I am ready to register and help set up campaign headquarters stuff envelopes whatever anything to make sure Skerrit does not get back in or has to bleed to get there!
Dear All Freedomites, new and prospective, go to the DFP office in Roseau opposite Jolly`s to sign up, be a volunteer, a member and to go house to house to spread the good news and good message that DFP is back to serve Dominica. They come with a good track record of integrity, transparency and good governance. Dominica needs you and do it through Freedom, to build Dominica again to a country of prestyige and recognition. Forward We Go........Dominicans to the Bone
Thank God Freedom is back.
I don't know what iit is.It seems that Dominica is curse under anything they call Labour party.Everytime labour is in power Dominica gets frm bad to worse.

History has a way of repeating itself.Before there was Mamo and Regean

Let me draw a reference:
Look at Obama and look at Pestina, now look at Obama and look at skerrit.Who do you think can hold a meaningful conversation with Obama with integrity.The answer is CLEAR.

Go DFP Go.
Let me get ready to get out my sanki song.
Freedomites hold strong!
Mr. Skeritt's attack on Mrs. Pestina is despicable. How can a Prime Minister use people's confidential banking information to smear them. Skeritt's behaviour is unethical and illegal. The Prime Minister lacks the political maturity and integrity, he is bringing his office into disrepute with that kind of behaviour. Dominica has really sunk to an all time low to have a leader like Skeritt. The man lacks the experience, knowledge, education for the job that he holds.

Mrs. Pestina is a hard working and intelligent woman who has served her country well. Mr. Skeritt can't light a candle to Mrs. Pestina. The man is highly corrupt, he has acquired millions of dollars in property in the last few years which cannot be explained by his legal income. Should Mrs. Pestina start selling passports like Skeritt and David Hsiu, so she can pay off her debts? Mr. Skeritt you are too corrupt and dishonest to attack good people character.

Mrs. Pestina please ignore this little boy and focus on winning the next elections, so we can get rid of this corrupt man. I agree with you Dominica deserves far better than an incompetent and corrupt regieme. We also deserve better than Mr. Skeritt. I hope when the DFP/UWP win the elections, they throw Skeritt in jail. Because, this is where he belongs. It is time for Mr. Skeritt to go. The DLP have always been a party of low lives, I can see nothing has changed.
I find it rather disturbing and a mockery of our island home for that guy who occupies the office of the Prime Minister to make such an insulting statement. Who gave him permission to make any or such statements and proclamations? He has never owned and/or operated anything- not even a road side vegetable stand. I suppose he’ owns’ his big house in Viellle Case----where did the $$$$$ come from??????

Elections are around the corner. Dominica deserves better folks than what we have—what a shame!!!! What a shame!!!!!!
I find it rather disturbing and a mockery of our island home for that guy who occupies the office of the Prime Minister to make such an insulting statement. Who gave him permission to make any or such statements and proclamations? He has never owned and/or operated anything- not even a road side vegetable stand. I suppose he'owns’ his big house in Vielle Case----where did the $$$$$ come from??????

Elections are around the corner. Dominica deserves better folks than what we have—what a shame!!!! What a shame!!!!!!
I find it rather disturbing and a mockery of our island home for that guy who occupies the office of the Prime Minister to make such an insulting statement. Who gave him permission to make any or such statements and proclamations? He has never owned and/or operated anything- not even a road side vegetable stand. I suppose he’ owns’ his big house in Viellle Case----where did the $$$$$ come from??????

Elections are around the corner. Dominica deserves better folks than what we have—what a shame!!!! What a shame!!!!!!
What a shame.

Is that what Dominica has come to. Someone can go to the Government owned AID Bank obtain a loan of over EC$6M (This was made public by the Bank)

For over ten (10) years when things were much better (no global financial crisis) she never paid one installment to the Bank after repeated requests.

Skerrit had to find the money to repay the Caribbean Development Bank for the Aid Bank and you want to remove Skerrit as PM to put in this Lady. Come on, Are you real or serious. WHAT A SHAME!!!

If you have evidence that Skerrit has assets that he cannot account for TAKE SUCH EVIDENCE TO THE INTEGRITY COMMISSION. GIVE THEM SOME WORK TO DO.

It would be a very sad day for Dominica if we could ever put someone who will not honor their debt with the Government in Public Office in Dominica.

To think that Labourites think that by attacking Dominicans who have invested in their country who employ people who support local industry is the way to go only proves just how foolish these poeple are.

Did Skerrit also have to find the money to pay back CDB for the bad loansssss of 767?!Where are these people? Who are they employing today? What local farmers are they supporting today???? What VAT are they paying today? What DSS contributions are they making today??? eh??? Judith is still here employing people and supporting local industry.

Skerrit is nothing more than a thug. A thief.
It is evident that your hatred for SKERRIT and LABOURITES is like that of AL QUEADA to ISRAEL and AMERICA.

Hatred? lololol You people are such dramamamas but your inability to respond to facts and your immediate leap to drama and all that is ridiculous speaks volumes.
There is no hate for Pm, there is love for country AND TO PROTECT IT..and we are concerned, very concern. the IPO was deliberately delayed to cover all illegal practices......for example, if IT was not for Matt and Lennox tHe $90,000.000 land transfer deal would not have been DISCOVERED and thenm rushly paid paid saying it was a mistake....give me a break. . That is called evading tax duty, (thiefing the country money) to rip off country. This is not intergrity. Leave Judith alone she is highly and more qualified to run this country with trust, integrity and good govrnance.


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