The Dominica government Saturday denied social media reports that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was under investigation by United States law enforcement authorities, and blamed the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for engineering the report as part of its strategy “to seize political control of this country”.
“Let me reassure the people of Dominica that I spoke with the Prime Minister this morning, he is well, a little tired from all the discussions and meetings he has been having in the economic advancement of the people of Dominica and these mischievous and malicious should be totally disregarded,” said Acting Prime Minister Reginald Austrie.
The report on the social media, Facebook, claims that Skerrit is under investigation by an unnamed United States agency for his role in the sale of a Dominican passport to Iranian national Ali Reza Halat Monfared who has been arrested on allegations of being involved in Iran’s biggest ever corruption scandal.
In a statement on the state-owned DBS radio, Austrie said that it is strange that the report surfaced one day after the UWP staged a public meeting in the capital and called “for the economic and social destruction” of the country.
He said also operatives of the UWP were also engaged in “negative and dishonest” acts against the country and the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI) through which foreign investors are granted citizenship for making a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the island.
Dominica is one of several countries with a CBI programme. The others are Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts-Nevis, Grenada, and St. Lucia.
“Let me reassure the people of Dominica and the international community that the article is untrue and should be treated as part of the ongoing conspiracy by their opposition and their international … partners and associates to tarnish the beautiful name of our country and our beloved prime minister,” said Austrie, who described the article as “defamatory and disrespectful”.
He said Prime Minister Skerrit is out of the state on official business and will return next week “and I am sure he will have more to say on this matter.
“In the meantime the government is continuing its investigation into this matter through its sources and will decide on the appropriate course of action at the appropriate time,” Austrie told the nation.