Updated: December 06, 2020

Fifty years from now, historians will be asking what happened to Dominica? A country which held promises at the time of its independence in 1978 to emerge as an agricultural powerhouse in the Caribbean, as a light-manufacturing engine of water-based products because of its abundance of fresh water and a nature-based tourism juggernaut because of it endowed rivers, mountains, forest, waterfalls is now in ruins. Why is it now a wasteland? A land where the African diaspora is no longer a majority, A land where its Native Kalinago population is on the brink of extension. A land where Asians (primarily from China), middle-eastern and Europeans are running wild and subjugating the remnants of a once dominant descendants of African slaves. What happened?

The answers will be varied. A major aspect of the history will center on use of the island's resources by a long-governing Administration for personal advancement while all aspects of development were ignored. Indeed, a dominant theme will emerge. In the period 2000-2025, the island was seeded to crooks, scammers and grifters who pillaged the resources while the people stood by. These characters were part of the Dominica Labor party, supported by a significant subset of the population who thought they too could get rich while the rest to the island languished in poverty and despair.  At the heart of the destruction of Dominica was the creation of a scheme for defrauding the island of funds from passport sales by establishing a complex controlled by the Finance and Prime Minister (Roosevelt Skerrit) and a Foreign Company Montreal Management Consultants EST (MMCE) which operated out of the United Arab Emirates.  

In a Ponzi scheme, a fraudulent investment operation (named after Charles Ponzi), returns to earlier investors are paid by funds derived later investors. The purported enterprise is imaginary and collapses with failure of recruiting new, unsuspecting investors. One such scheme was operated by Allan Sanford out of Antigua and Barbuda about 20 years ago. Bernard Madoff operated the massive US$65 billion Ponzi Scheme out of New York. Both of these individuals are now spending the rest of their life in prison in the USA for swindling billions from US citizens.

The scheme in Dominica, concocted by Roosevelt Skerrit and MMCE is more complex, but nonetheless just as fraudulent,  illegal and criminal; it is more like a Reverse Ponzi. In the case of that currently in operation in Dominica, funds derived from the sale of Dominican Citizenship are loaned to Dominica under a hitherto unknown 'Housing Option' for construction of various public structures (Public Housing, Health Centers, the New Marigot hospital and purportedly the soon to be constructed Airport in the Skies of Wesley) and Dominicans in turn have to pay back these funds to the "investors / Developers". These funds never traverse the Consolidated Accounts of the Islands and once payed back to the Investor / Developers are lost to the Treasury forever. Along the way, those with access to the funds, the Chief Perpetrator (Roosevelt Skerrit in Dominica), Developers / Investors, their confidants and enablers can divert monies to do as they please as there is no accountability to anyone in the Public. These investment bodies / vehicles are privately owned entities. This web of deceit bears all the hallmarks of a complex Reverse Ponzi. The investors never put their money into the venture(s), but gets paid twice for any services rendered.

At present, it is unclear how much funds are available in this operation out of Dominica. However, based on the difference between Citizenship sales over the past 5 years and documentation in the Consolidated Funds of monies which were derived from Citizenship Sales over the same period, it is estimated that XCD $2.5 to $2.8 billions are missing or misappropriated. As far as the public is aware, the only individuals wh0 have information on and, access to these funds are the Minister of Finance (Roosevelt Skerrit) and MMCE. In this scheme, one does get the goods and / or services being pursued. The scam is that they pay twice for the same product and their second payment disappears into thin air. Indeed, public housing and health Centers have been constructed and handed over to the Dominican Government, but at inflated prices and with a paucity of documentation  defining the journey from planning, to payment and delivery of goods. Moreover, in some cases, it is not clear who owns these facilities.

At this point, the question that arises, is how can Dominican reign in this scam, bring this scheme to an end and hold the scammers accountable? Because of the breath and depth of the current Dominica scam, taking it down will be challenging. Efforts have to be International and will entail targeting the banks that facilitate movement of funds and, secondly  identifying and procuring foreign-assets of MMCE and its affiliated companies, Roosevelt Skerrit and his subsidiary companies and assets of all the enablers (lawyers, the Financial Services Unit in Dominica, former and current Dominica Police Chiefs and their assistant superintendents among others) who have facilitated this scheme and allowed it to thrive.  It will not be an easy task. For instance, the 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) Sovereign Fund was scammed of several billion dollars. Taking down the scam required getting rid of the Chief Culprit (former Prime Minister Najib Razak) and going after the facilitating banks including Goldman Sachs. The latter settled with the Malaysian Government in July 2020 by agreeing to pay US$3.9 billion for its role in the scandal. Goldman Sachs battle with the US Justice Department and various US Regulatory Agencies are ongoing. Like Malaysia, the solution for Dominica will involve getting Roosevelt Skerrit out of the Power Structure conveyed by the Office of Prime Minister, launching international legal challenges to recover Dominica Assets from Roosevelt Skerrit, his enablers, MMCE and its subsidiaries and pursing those local and International Financial organizations which have allowed this scam to flourish. Dominicans at home and aboard must be the prime drivers of this effort. To quote John Paul II "the future starts today, not tomorrow".