Updated: August 19, 2019

During the recent Budget Address in Dominica's House of Assembly, July 30, 2019, a major discrepancy in the 2018-2019 revenues was uncovered by the Leader Opposition, Hon Lennox Linton. In his response to the Budget on July 31, 2019, Linton pointed out a shortfall in income from the Citizen By Investment Program (CIP) to the tune XCD/EC $1 billion.  The Speaker of the house and members of the governing party were stunned by this revelation. In the past 2-3 weks, Prime Minister Skerrit, also  minister of Finance, Housing and Lands) and the DLP Spin Doctors have been concocting various explanations to address the shortfall.  A number of persons, including the Leader of the Dominica Freedom Party, Ken Vital,  have  come to the same conclusion: income from Dominica's CIP has been under-reported by $1 billion for the 2018-2019 Financial year ended June 2019. Where de money gone? 

Without repeating the nonsense that have been spewed by Labor Party operativeshere are where things stand, at least as far as can be deduced from sketchy information revealed by the Labor Party Administration and the PM.  Firstly, Skerrit has admitted that there is at least  XCD/EC $1 billion missing from reported CIP revenues for 2018-19 period. According to Skerrit "had we included this in the estimates, the budget would not have been $1 billion, it would have been about $2.2 billion".  He also stated that money was kept in a hitherto unknown and illegal Escrow Account(s) under a new Housing Option, hence reason for not including these monies in the Consolidated Funds as mandated under Law.  This raises many questions and, so far, few answers. 

One week following the revelations by the Opposition Leader, during a 2.5 hrs rambling, jumbled and confused appearance on private Radio Station Kairi FM, Skerrit  informed Dominicans that the majority of the money went to Housing. He 'sheepishly' denied that the money was used for construction of a number hotels in various stages of completion; in 'Skerrit-Speak' this means that monies was used for hotels and sundries. After stating in the house of Assembly that "...the hotels will eventually belong to Dominicans...", he reversed course in his Kairi appearance stating that "... the hotels belong to the investors..."  He also stated that citizenship sale under Option 2 (Investment option) of the CIP was "not doing well". If this is the case, how are the hotels being constructed?

There are many more unanswered questions that arise out of Skerrit's misadventure on Kairi and the shady budget presented in Parliament.

1) Under what authority was the Escrow Account for housing created? When was it created?  Is TS ERIKA being used a smokescreen? Has this housing component being in existence for much longer than three years? Where is the account located? Who controls this Account? Who are the signatories to the account? Where are the monthly statements? What were the account balances at the beginning and end of financial year 2018-19 (July 1 2018-June 30, 2019)? 

2) Again, if greater than $1 billion was raised in 2018-19 Financial year, primarily under CIP Option 1, which was then placed in an illegal escrow account, where de money gone? Are there yearly audited statements covering the lifetime of this / these account(s)?

3) How were funds utilized? Skerrit and DLP apologists like Parry Bellot and Anthony Astaphan (Skerrit's Mouth piece) say the funds were used for housing at Bellevue Chopin, Castle Bruce, Laplaine, Delices, Portsmouth etc. However, no one can point to $1 billion worth of housing projects for the Financial Period. For instance, the Bellevue Chopin Project, which is the largest recently undertaken to house person displaced by TS Erika,  was started in 2016 and is nearing completion, so the funds from 2018-2019 could not have been used for this project. 

Based on available information and data, Dominicans know that there is coco macac going on with the funds from citizenship sale!  Although the Developers will not admit it, some of monies belonging to the People of Dominica have gone to Hotel Development. Here are the reasons why this is the case. On April 19 2018, during a panel discussion at an Investment Immigration Summit in Ho Chi Minh City, Emmanuel Nanthan (head of Dominica's Citizenship by investment unit), stated that they had received between 1500 and 2000 application for the period ending June 2017.  Contrast this with Antigua and Barbuda or Grenada which reported 330 and 302 respectively in the same period.  While Nanthan did not state how many were successful, he clearly stated that 'the vast majority of participants choose the contribution option'; that is Option 1 under Dominica's CIP which cost US $100,000 for a single applicant.  These were funds for Financial period 2 years ago.  Was the full amount for Financial Year 2016-2017 ever reported in the 2017-2018 Budget? How much funds were collected in the Budget period 2016-17 and 2017-18 Financial Period? To what use were these funds directed?

This is mess! Dominica Citizenship funds were used for hotel construction! Nanthan statement implied this fact 18 months ago (April 2018) in admitting that the vast majority of applicants choose CBI option 1. These individuals just want an another Citizenship; why spend US200,000 when you can get the same commodity for US$100,000? Roosevelt Skerrit confirmed that Option 2 of Citizenship by Investment Unit is not doing well; it is a dead horse. If so, how is construction of all these hotels being funded? Indeed, it can be surmised that, contrary to Sam Rafael's boast and pronouncement that hotels are owned by Investors, native born Dominicans (not just Skerrit & his friends) indeed have significant shares in all of the Hotel Development Projects. No wonder the DLP Administration has been so hesitant to report details of income from CIP, broken down by Options (Investment vs contribution to economic diversification). Is it coincidence that all entrepreneurs in the "New Hotel Building Frenzy" in Dominica are either high-ranking laborites or 'Friends' of the Labor Party? Jump high or Jump Low, Dominicans need to know where their money gone. Dominicans have shares in all of these hotels and should place a Lien against all hotels which have been started in the past 3-5 years including Jungle Bay Resort, Kempinski, Anichi and the McIntyre hotel being planned for the Roseau Valley?

Finally, questions have the be raised about Montreal Management Consultant Est (MMCE) which seem to have control over Dominica's Money. How in the world did this happen? A stranger comes to your shores, spots a crooked, criminally-minded Administration and forms an alliance to ripoff Dominica! It is time that Dominicans start the call for freezing of all foreign-held assets of MMCE, Roosevelt Skerrit, his wife, his cadre of lawyers, mouthpieces,  all the citizenship-selling Lawyers on the Dominica Electoral Commission and anyone associated with the upper echelon of the Dominica Labor Party. Dominicans should be prepared for the long haul to recover State assets with the assistance of the International Community. These characters with 'sticky fingers' who have mismanaged and pillaged the island for the past 20 years should no longer be allowed to abuse State assets for personal gains.  A clear message should be sent to the current and all future Administrations that State's assets do not belong to individuals. Abuse of State resources should come with severe penalties including property forfeiture, Jail time and maximal legal recourse. Remember, Papa Doc and Baby Doc stole millions from the Haitian people while poor soles cheered them on. Today, Haitian can't maintain themselves in Haiti. Is that where Dominica is heading?