Updated: November 07, 2018

Last week, Dominicans learned that their governing administration has signed another 'deal' with the People' Report of China. In this case, Dominica has signed an Economic and Technical Agreement worth XCD $120 million with China  Like all prior 'Agreements with China', this one is characterized by hoopla and fanfare about the great things China is going to do for Dominica.  Unfortunately, and most troubling, similar to prior agreements the 'Devil is in the Details'. These funds are supposed to do wonders: Improve Education, Health, National Security.  Dominica has had other agreements with China and have received monies from that Country over the past 15 years. In fact, when Roosevelt Skerrit (Current PM of the island) made the move to break diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 2004 and establish ties with China, there was the now-infamous, but still unreleased Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, that Dominicans have neither been able to see nor understand. This initial MUO, and accompanying gift and brides made by convicted criminal Ng Lap Seng (Mr. Wu, aka David Ng), remain in the dark. Mr. Wu famously boasted that he was highly influential in forging ties between Dominica and China, but Skerrit and his Administration remain muted on this issue.  Hence, the reason that these agreements are so unsettling to many Dominicans.

There are several concerns about the recently announced and prior agreements. Firstly, they are shrouded in secrecy. This approach may be fine for China because, it is not a Democracy. On the other hand, the Dominica Labor Party is operating in a Democracy or so we thought. Unfortunately,  when it come to Agreements, in particular those with China, Democracy has taken a back-seat to greed and power.  Secondly,  Dominicans are never told how much of the funds are grants and how much are loans.  Therefore, one thing is certain: when Labor Party is electorally booted out of Office, the incoming administration will have a 'rude awakening'.  Indeed, within the past couple of  years, new administrations in several countries around the globe have been jolted into the realization that their Countries are saddled by huge debts to China, which they are unable to pay.  Some of these countries have had to make unpopular decisions to discharge their debts to this 'predatory lender' as described here. Sadly, many of those projects did not provide jobs as promised. This brings us to the third concern. In the case of Dominica, all agreements that China has had with this island provide work primarily and almost exclusively for Chinese Nationals, not Dominicans. Why an Administration accepts this nonsense is both baffling and bewildering.

It is known that China has specific purposes for providing aid to targeted countries. It allows the country to buy influence it would not acquire by usual diplomatic means and secondly it permits China to surreptitiously gain needed 'real estate' to expand its growing empire. China uses aide as a strategic tool to ensnare susceptible, corrupt Leaders. One of their main focus is expanding their Military footprint especially in Africa, Remote Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean.  People should never underestimate them; they play for the long term.  Even small countries that have accepted Aid are not immune. For example, consider Tonga,  a small nation in the Pacific with a population of about 100,0o0 and land mass of 289 square miles. It found itself in a situation where it now owes $115.37 million US,  30% of its GDP,  to China. The loan is now due and the country is concerned that China will start seizing assets, primarily ports and infrastructure. Dominica has similar size and GDP, but a smaller population; for Dominica, the per capita burden to China will be much larger.

In an attempt to attenuate growing concerns by Dominicans, on October 30, 2018, Dominica's Prime Minister (Roosevelt Skerrit) stated that "China has not placed any undue demands on Dominica or seek to impose its will on the island". However, without seeing the documents, Skerrit and his minions should not be trusted.  They have great difficulties discerning truth and facts from lies and fiction. For example, during multiple sittings of Parliament, in response to repeated questioning from the Parliamentary opposition,  Mr. Skerrit and the Deputy PM / Petro Carib 'Boss Reginald Austrie' had repeatedly claimed that  Dominica did not owe Venezuela any monies. We now know that was a blatant lie. In November 2017, two months after the passage of hurricane Maria, Venezuela forgave US$100 million in Dominica's debt. Exactly 1 year later, no word from the government as to where these funds went. So, how can Dominicans trust Skerrit and his syndicate in dealings with China?

Finally, the National Security aspects of the recent 'Economic and Technical Agreement' between Dominica and China is extremely disturbing. Under the opaque Roosevelt Skerrit Administration, there has been National Security Components to past Agreements but details have never been revealed to Parliament. What in the world is this all about? Petty crimes, larceny and Murder are on the rise in Dominica yet, the Labor Administration speak of funds for National Security and have received gifts (motorcycles, vans, trucks) from China purportedly for the said purpose. It seems more appropriate to call these 'Labor Party - China Security Packs'.  This is because, the military-style equipment donated to Dominica by China have been used primarily to intimidate Dominicans; China in turn gets some 'yet-to-be disclosed goodies'.  For example, during the recent parliamentary effort to pass legislation to Steal Elections by legalizing Foreign Voter Registration or the illegal and unconstitutional installation of Charles Savarin as President (again), these donated military-style assets featured prominently. 

So, where do things stand on Dominica with regards to the multiple known and unknown agreements that have been signed with China since 2004? Except for the Chinese Government and Dominica Labor Party Administration, the public is in the dark. Until such time that there is a change in administration, the information will be inaccessible. For 15 years, Skerrit and the Labor Party Administration have been flirting with China's Debt Trap. Is it possible that critical portions of the island (ports and infrastructure) have been  pawned to China and that it is just a matter of time before the Pawn Broker comes to collect on the debt? Some are taking this matter rather lightly and, like Skerrit,  are sufficiently naive to habor the thought that China means well. They simple need to look to Tonga, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan ecetera to get the real picture. The saying that there are no free lunches continue to hold true! Dominicans need to be prepared for more suffering before the tide turns!