Dominica Police steps up harassment of Opposition in wake of street protests
By TDN Wire Staff
February 11, 2017 10:38 A.M
Roseau, Dominica (TDN)
Skerrit together with Monfared who has been arrested on embezzlement charges.
Following massive protest action on the streets of Roseau on Tuesday 7 February 2017, Dominica Police have stepped up their harassment of the senior leadership of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP).
Early Saturday morning Police descended on the residence of the party’s International Secretary former IMF economist Dr. Thomson Fontaine in the rural town of Grand Fond. However, Dr. Fontaine was not at home, and reports are that he may have gone into hiding.
The attempt to arrest Dr. Fontaine comes following intense speculation that the Police were given orders by the political Directorate to arrest political Leader Lennox Linton, former Deputy political leader of the party Joshua Francis as well as Dr. Fontaine.
On the day following the protest prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit took to the media to accuse the opposition of attempting a coup by using a truck to block the entrance of Government Headquarters and initiating a take-over of the building. According to Skerrit this was information given to the Police by an informant.
Lennox Linton immediately denounced the prime minister’s statement claiming that his party conducted a peaceful and nonviolent meeting from around 11 A.M to 4:30 P.M, and had no interest in overthrowing the government by force.
All these come on the heels of reports from the local and international press of Skerrit’s involvement in the sale of diplomatic passports to nefarious criminals across the globe, and his alleged role in busting UN sanctions against the Iranian regime.
On January 1, 2017 the CBS 60 Minutes program took a look at the Citizenship by investment Program in the Caribbean and made reference to the sale, usually under the table, of diplomatic passports to crooks and criminals across the Globe by Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
These include Dominica’s appointee as ambassador to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Italy Francesco Corrallo who has been arrested and is currently facing charges in Italy on money laundering and other charges.
Another is Diezani Alison Madueke who was appointed Dominica’s trade envoy in 2016. Madueke is the former Nigerian Oil minister who is accused of stealing billions from the Nigeria Treasury and is currently under detention in London.
Yet others include Chinese billionaire Ng Lap Seng who is currently under house arrest in New York facing money laundering and other charges in New York and Eric Tomer Dominica’s ambassador to UNESCO who is currently a fugitive from justice. There is also Vladimir Antonov former owner of British football club Portsmouth who is in hiding following a request for his extradition to Lithuania.
Of significant interest is Ali Reza Monfared an Iranian national who was recently arrested in the Dominican Republic and extradited to Iran to face charges of skimming billions of dollars over a scheme in which he evaded sanctions against Iran.
Importantly, Monfared is a close friend of Roosevelt Skerrit and was harbored in Dominica during January to September 2016 before leaving for the Dominican Republic where he was eventually arrested. Monfared operated an outfit called the My Dominica Trade House in Malaysia, which was at the epicenter of the sanctions busting regime.
Dominica facilitated this trade through the registration of 11 ageing tankers flying the flag of Dominica but stationed in Singapore.
Last week Police detained another member of the opposition, Dr. Sam Christian on charges that he incited violence in a November 2015 speech that he gave. He has since been released on $20 000 bail.
The recent attempts to move against the opposition is a frightening new chapter in the country’s development as the embattled prime minister tries desperately to hang on to power in the face of growing public discontent.