Amid opposition calls for government to seek foreign assistance to investigate a recent money laundering matter involving the seizure of over $1 million from an apartment in Paix Bouche, Minister for National Security Rayburn Blackmoore has said he is confident in the Financial Services Unit’s (FIU) ability to handle the matter.
Blackmoore said the fully staffed and trained unit is one of the best in the region and government provides the requisite tools for an effective and efficient running of the division. According to him, three additional investigators were added to the FIU last month “to ensure that the unit meets its mandate under the anti-money laundering legislation.”
In late March, police announced that three investigators from CARICOM’s Regional Investigative Management System (RIMS) were probing the death of Kerwin Prosper, 36, of Kings Hill, who died in police custody over carnival weekend. UWP President Isaac Baptiste recently called on the chief of police to follow suit for the money laundering case and seek foreign help as this could lead to “many other issues of money laundering in Dominica.”
Two men, Aronnie Armstead Stedman of St. Joseph and Kendel Sylvester of Woodford Hill, were arrested in connection with the EC $1. 3 million discovery at Comfort Cottages in late March. The operation was conducted by police and the Customs and Excise Tax Division.
Blackmoore praised the police for their work thus far and accused the opposition’s leadership of “speaking loudly from a position of absolute ignorance.”
“As you heard from the chief of police, the large amount of money that was confiscated by the police on the 25th of March 2021 was as a result of good intelligence and excellence police work,” he said.
“I think those of us in leadership roles or positions should highly commend the police chief and his men and women instead of imputing improper motives. As we heard from the chief of police, the money was handed over to the Financial Intelligence Unit for continued investigation and I do not want to attempt to litigate the facts of that matter except to say the FIU of Dominica is ranked as one of the best in the entire region,” he added.
Blackmoore continued, “I can recall at a council of ministers for national security and law enforcement meeting, of course, pre Covid-19, the head of the US mission for the Caribbean cited the FIU of Dominica as one of the best in the region. And she had high commendation for the staff of the said unit. As the minister, I want to give the public the assurance that the FIU has the competence to investigate elements of financial crime.”
He took a jab at the opposition’s decision to request foreign investigators, stating that the public would be better served if UWP’s leadership “could use such mediums to encourage [and] call on its members to get vaccinated” against Covid-19.
“So if the Workers Party is genuinely concerned about public good… citizens, and the future of this country, and if the Workers Party is concerned about Dominica returning to some semblance of normalcy they should do the honorable thing and encourage citizens to be vaccinated,” he added.
Meanwhile in response, Leader of the UWP Lennox Linton reiterated Baptiste’s appeal for external assistance and rejected Blackmoore’s vote of confidence in the unit. He said that the FIU has failed to “do any work in the interest of Dominica” adding that such investigations should be independent of the security minister, prime minister and police commissioner.
“…There is a lot of money being laundered in Dominica by well-connected people and because…the people moving the proceeds of crime in Dominica are well connected nothing happens…I have absolutely no respect for the financial intelligence unit that Mr. Blackmoore lodged to the skies as being efficient and effective because the financial intelligence unit has not done any work in the public interest of Dominica,” Linton said.
“They may have done work for outside agencies. They may have done work for the United States, and gotten praise for the United States [but] what have they done in the public interest of Dominica?” he asked.
Linton accused the FIU of pretending to be unaware of questionable acts by certain officials under proceeds of crime law.
“We have millions; now billions of dollars, being held unlawfully [and] being used with no accounting to the parliament of Dominica as required and the police have no interest in it. It doesn’t matter how many times these issues are raised. It doesn’t matter how many times it comes up in parliament… the FIU pretends it knows nothing and it will do nothing because of who is responsible for the questionable acts under the proceeds of crime legislation and money laundering prevention responsibilities of the Commonwealth of Dominica,” he said.
In response to Blackmoore’s suggestion that the opposition should use media to encourage vaccinations instead of calling for external investigators, Linton responded by pointing out that while Covid-19 has not claimed any lives in Dominica due to efforts by the entire population, two men have died in police custody under Blackmoore’s watch as national security minister.
“We had Byron Etienne in Fond Cole, after Maria, shot dead in front of his parents by police officers in a shop…An extrajudicial killing which the minister of national security is yet to say a word about. Almost as though the life of Byron Etienne did not matter to him…” Linton said.
With regards to Prosper, Linton called for authorities to divulge the results of the investigation since he “understands” that has been completed and that the findings are in the hands of the commissioner. “When will the police commissioner reveal the results of the investigation?” he asked.
Moreover he said called on the police chief to disclose the action that the police will take in the matter.
“I don’t want to hear anything that Blackmoore has to say about FIU… [and] national security because as far as I am concerned he is a disgrace. What he needs to do now is to disclose the results of the investigation that has been completed by IMPACTS and indicate what he is going to do… in terms of holding those responsible for the death of Kerwin prosper…”Linton stated on a Q95 Radio Program recently.
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Here comes that opposition baboon with a new line now money laundering case,’ I would like to ask you a question which I am sure you will never able to answer, but nevertheless I will ask you, when ever in your life have you act in the public interest apart from when benefit you more? Linton, I know you very very well we use to play cricket and football on the Pottersville savannah when you came down from marigot with your bad attitude mentally sickness which we meaning the boys always spoken and laugh about man you are a loser nature dealt you a bad card in life sucker!!
Ma Sen Joe, you can do either two things to protect your ignorant political thoughts as you have penned Nonsensical and Idiotic sayings and its now obvious that it’s because you have not for years elevated yourself to some level of decency, Political awareness, the use and abuse of our States funds and finances abused for years now by your Failed incompetent Labour government and childish leadership skills of your Failed incompetent immature Skerrit and this incompetent Visionless Labour Party Government. This DLP and its Political leader and Politicians are not sufficiently matured and focused on Decent politics, Development the need of decent good Governance where it’s obvious that your Skerrit has failed and obviously this inept Incompetent Labour government under failed incompetent Skerrit has killed our economy our agriculture and our Rural communities where Skerrit has killed our economy, agriculture and tourism due to his failure. We need Skerrit OUT Now
We Welcome Hon…
To Kid On The Block, Skerritt himself admitted that the figures presented to parliament was short by $1.2 billion. The leader of the opposition requested that the whereabouts of that missing money be presented to parliament, the rightfully body to report it to. To this date the leader of the opposition is still asking for the report of the whereabouts of the money. You, Kid, control your emotions and engage your conscience.
This gang of obvious Misfits, obvious Blind Loyalists of this Failed Immature incompetent Skerrit are just not operating in the interest of our government our people and our Dominica. Skerrit is a failure and lacks focus on the matters affecting our poorly managed Government and the insult and disrespect of our people and our country and our government. This Immature visionless Failed incompetent Labour Party government under its failed incompetent Questionable Immature So called Prime Odd Minister must get the hell out of our government. They have destroyed the economy of our country and has we the people of Dominica has absolutely no foreseeable concept nor appropriate ideas to address the most important issues affecting our Development and poverty and unemployment of our Suffering people. It’s obvious that this failed incompetent Skerrit and his failed questionable incompetent Bobolistic deceitful Labour Party Government must get Hell Out of our Government and our Suffering people.
Mr Linton,do not even try to discuss or debate with Blackmore.
I consider it an insult to your intelligence
Blackmore or more black is a square peg in a round hole.
He is definitely not qualified to hold that position.
Ma Sen Joe you should take a good look at St Joe pass and present, before you look at Mr Linton and criticize him you should open up your mind and take a good look at what Mr Linton is fighting for versus all the money this Skerrit party have had all these years. Your life hasn’t gotten better.I think it’s about time you stand up for Dominica and not Skerrit or party stand up for Ma St Joe.Get to know Lennox and don’t let Skerrit tell you who is Lennox Linton.
You full of BS! jonathan
They can’t find out about 1.2 billion dollars, according to you, because that which you and your master talks about does not exist. Stop making up stories and lies. that won’t get you, Lennox and the UWP anywhere.
Blackmore, you are politically Idiotic and out of tune with your Disgusting flabagasted Failed Labour hysterical views.
You’ll are just not sufficiently matured and focused on the matters of Government and Good Governance. Blackmore your political Party is a political mess and you failed b Labour Puppets have failed us Dominicans and has reduced our struggling people and families and farmers and country to poverty, created this devious Red Clinic Bobol which is despicable and degrading treatment just to buy loyalty for fame. Skerrit your Labour Failed incompetent Party is weak and politically idioticly not focused on our struggling people and suffering families while you guys enjoy the failure of politically Immature Skerrit in the role of Prime Minister. Too much RORO inside this failed incompetent Questionable failed Labour Party Leader, Skerrit and his childish leadership and failed management and us Not sufficiently mature intellectual to be Head of Government
A thief will never block the hole he passing.
The FIU is a useless branch of the police. Their track record in Dominica where shady dealings with money is replete is an ‘F’.
Disband that useless branch of the police service!!
Ma Sen Joe – So, wherever matters of concern to the citizens of Dominica are arise, and the leader of the opposition speaks, its a political stunt? So basically you want them to never say anything, because whenever they do speak on a matter, especially about one as serious as the death of our young men in the hands of the police force under Blackmoores ministry, or as serious as money laundering theft and curruption by public officers, the opposition should never say anything? Or is it rather, Lennox Linton should never open his mouth? Wha you should do is shut your mouth, and open your ears when Mr. Linton speaks. Listen objectively instead of trying to ridicule words of reason like a nonsensical school child that only cares about having a good time instead of being diligent about their education. the UWP has continued to be constructive and give the same PM you worshipping many of the ideas he has tried to haphazzardly impliment. For example they have suggested a stimulus package.
Blackmore you first they should lock up you look very corrupt you not righty
You really think you get a job with that unit, which comes under the Minster of finance, if you are good at discovering cash washing. Of course not, you have to be good at covering up the sources of such money.
So during an interview in connection with the laundered money, the acting police officer was quick to say Vielle case house was NOT involved in the money laundering investigation? Boy the word NOT is powerful you know because most times to know the truth we just have to add or remove NOT. That’s exactly what Satan did in the garden when he knew the truth of what God told Adam. He simply played the NOT game. Is that what Mr. Corbet did? If that’s what he did I can understand why Blackmoore only wants FIU to investigate it
It’s a disgrace to have someone like Blackmore as any minister….Only in Dominica this is tolerable. Reggie has exposed him full time!! As far as the FIU is concerned, this is a useless branch of the police force..Are they working for country? What is the FIU track record in Dominica? How many people have been successfully prosecuted? How many forfeitures?..How many imprisonments?
What about investigating governments shady dealings? Those guys in the FIU, should be sent to the street to work.
They are useless to the country!!
Good job Linton at shreading stuttering Blackmore to pieces!!!
What an opportunist are you Lenox Linton! It is shameful, disgraceful and belittling to use the deaths of people for your political stunts. Isn’t there anything constructive that you can do to enhance the standards of living for Dominicans? Rather than running your mouth like the Layou River get a life.
Isn’t it possible that this was a carefully orchestrated plot to achieve two things. One, to show the world that Dominica is doing something about money laundering but at the same time putting that so called confiscated money in the national bank to make it clean. Don’t charge the the money carriers so they don’t have to give evidence in court, just seize the money, put it in the bank and hey presto, it is now clean and the head honcho decides where to spend it. Maybe it was another cash payment for a passport or two all along. Thank you FIU, very clever that.
Blackmore, what do you know? It’s not so much about the capability of the CODPF FIU but rather about their willingness. We all know they do or don’t do what the leader allows them to. That is the issue here and nothing else.
Will the minister for national security tell us why if the FIU is so good, why have they not found out for the Dominican people where the $1.2 billion is? This money is supposed to be put into the consolidated funds of the treasury.