A Dominican businessman has lashed out at the country’s economic citizenship programme while expressing concern that the island’s passports are allegedly being sold to people on the international market who are “not in good standing”.
Businessman, Jerry Brisbane, says he supports calls by a group of US-based Dominican professionals for the programme to be abandoned.
“I support fully the cause and the efforts of Dr Thompson Fontaine (former IMF economist) and all the guys in the diaspora regarding this selling of our birthright … the systemic destruction of our birthright by this present government,” Brisbane told the privately owned Q95 Radio Thursday.
He was referring to calls for a commission of inquiry into the programme by an overseas-based group of “patriots” that includes Dr Fontaine, lawyer/author Gabriel Christian and former Dominican ambassador Crispin Gregoire.
Brisbane said while their critics were suggesting that they wanted to destroy Dominica’s good name, their efforts were intended to save the country from an administration they allege is involved in corrupt practices. “Suspend this programme and come out and account to the people for the monies the passports that are sold … come clean,” Brisbane urged Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s governing Dominica Labour Parrty.
The businessman said the world needed to be informed that “the citizens of Dominica are not in agreement with what’s going on with our leaders and the sale of our passports”.
Prime Minister Skerrit last week described the economic citizenship programme as a very transparent arrangement.
He told Dominica News Online that there was no need for an inquiry because the government had nothing to hide in relation to what critics suggest is the indiscriminate selling of Dominican passports to “unscrupulous” characters on the international market.
“Commission of inquiry into what, what are the irregularities, this is a very transparent arrangement, the procedure is published on our website, the agents are published on our website,” the prime minister responded.
He said all the money raised from the programme is audited by the Director of Audit and submitted to the parliament.
According to the prime minister, every single cent raised under the programme has been accounted for.