Government to review economic citizenship programme

PM Skerrit

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – The Dominica government says it will review its economic citizenship programme after Britain said it was contemplating imposing visa restrictions on citizens.

London said it would enter a six-month period of detailed dialogue with the governments of St. Lucia and Dominica to examine what actions will be taken to address the concerns and mitigate the need for the introduction of a visa regime.

But Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that his administration has already taken steps to have the indiscriminate sale of Dominican passports curtailed in an effort to deal with the problem.

“We should pay closer attention and demand more information from persons applying for Dominican citizenship. Over the last several months we have been very strict in respect to the granting of citizenship to persons who applied,” he said.

Skerrit warned further that “it is going to be very difficult for persons to obtain citizenship.

“Certainly we have to put a greater premium on our citizenship in Dominica. The whole economic citizenship is going to be reviewed,” the Prime Minister said, adding that he had already written to the proper authority suggesting that “there be a comprehensive review on the economic citizenship programme”.

The United Kingdom Home Office said that during the six-month period, St. Lucia and Dominica will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to put into effect credible and realistic plans, with clear timetables, to reduce the risks to the UK, and begin implementing these plans by the end of the dialogue period.

Skerrit also called on nationals to play their part in addressing the problem after the British High Commissioner for the Eastern Caribbean, Paul Brummel, said that immigration breaches and abuses by St. Lucians and Dominicans had led to new position by London.

“You cannot leave Dominica, go to the UK with the intention of working and pretend that you are going to visit friends and relatives. This kind of action on the part of our citizens can cause unnecessary headache for the government and we need to be mindful of those things.”

“Therefore, it’s a matter that the government of Dominica is taking very seriously and we will be asking the government of the UK to provide us with the names of persons who find themselves in difficulty with British officials and to see how we can deal with them from the Dominica standpoint,” he said.

Meanwhile, former attorney general Bernard Wiltshire has called on the government to go further and scrap the economic citizenship programme.

“We have been selling our passports to persons who are not genuine Dominicans and who may want to use these passports for reasons which these big countries want to prevent.

“We must stop this thing now and we must review all those people who hold our passports because a passport is a very valuable thing to Dominicans and because of what we are doing we have reduced the value of it,” Wiltshire said.

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36 Comments

  1. April 12, 2010

    The Prime Minister of Dominica is saying that Dominicans are the cause of the Visa which the Uk will be implementing for Dominicans to travel to the UK, his words are Dominican make false declaration on immigration travel documents, i would like to know if he is referring to native Dominicans or those he is selling the Dominican passport to, when you have Iranian, Afghanistan, Russians, Nigerians, Mexicans, Haitians, Chinese etc paying money to obtain Dominicans passport what does the prime minister expect, what he should be in mind these individuals are not Dominica by birth and care less about the island, all they concern is to get the piece of document which they cannot get in their country and travel to other countries, I hope he knows that there are Haitians in Canada who are filing for Refugee Claimant with Dominica’s passport, news travel mr PM, whenever the PM is speaking he always mention God is Good, God is Great we all know, yes God is Good mr PM , he is also seeing all the corruption … There are countries where Dominicans have to submit their Birth Certificate if applying to stay in those countries, and when a Chinese, Iranian, Nigerian, Haitian and the rest filing up immigration documents and country of birth is Dominica and these criminals cannot speak English what do you expect Mr PM, so we need clarification, by you saying that Dominican make false declarations on Immigration Travel Documents, PM always remember that what goes up must come down, enjoy it while it last, i am a Dominican and when I applied for British Status everything that was written on my Immigration Application was nothing but the truth, you need to insult the Haitians and the rest of your associates for the VISA, i do hope you know that other countries will do the same, don’t be surprise if sooner or later some Caribbean Countries do the same

  2. Manchat!
    April 9, 2010

    Oh Boy,out of all the Dogs out there, the Govt. of Dominica had to go and sleep with the Biggest One..THE Iranian Govt…and you know what they say about when you sleep with dogs…….
    Who is going to suffer?..DOMINICA and its People…….
    The Government of Dominica and their …. and …. practices….Greed is a hell of a thing …Oh my! …When are you People going to wake up and open up your eyes?….Look here..THE SOVEREIGNTY OF A COUNTRY SHOULD NEVER BE COMPROMISED,NOR SOLD FOR PERSONAL AND SELFISH GAINES BY ITS GOVERNMENT OR ANY OF ITS CITIZENS….That’s a breech of National Security and is tantamount to Treason!……..Public attention must be focus upon the gaping hiatus between what is and what might be….I cannot emphasize that enough Think through issues without partiality.
    May God help us all……

  3. Cesare Bonventre
    April 8, 2010

    Thanks largely to the privately owned Bank of England, Britain is coming unglued

    As Britain (and America) falls apart, you can expect more of their finger-pointing & subterfuge: An attempt on Britain’s part to smoke-cloud their own internal problems, bankruptcy & civil unrest. In fact, the government of America has built over 800 FEMA concentration camps to house victims of coming civil unrest!

    Dominica should not “react” to Britain (or America); rather, take the politicing of Britain for what it is: Subterfuge for their own internal problems. Don’t let their problems affect the policy making of Dominica’s leadership.

    Economic Citizenship will bring in assets, money & technology from industrialized nations! At this very moment an Ex-pat from America is writing plans to bring in a manufacturing plant from Austria & developing an extraordinary & enormously comprehensive programme to train ALL the construction workers of Dominica to build using technologies that withstands hurricanes, seismic events & even more importantly – to protect & enhance Dominica’s pristine & all-natural environment!

    There are some extraordinary people from Britain & America who see the bankruptcy & revolution around the corner; and, are willing to bring new hope, technology & solutions to the people of Dominica

    Dominica’s hope for the future is in fact entirely dependent upon opening its arms to dedicated Brits & Americans who come solely to ENHANCE the face & quality of life of Dominica – And through this end the continual drain of Dominica’s talent to foreign lands in order to make a living.

    Remember: Many capable Dominican’s are forced by circumstance to live in foreign lands for opportunities they can’t find in Dominica. Gifted ex-pat’s from Britain and America will be the solution to make Dominica prosperous enough to bring her own great people back home again.

    In summary, gifted ex-pats replete with extraordinary new technologies from Britain and America are going to provide prosperity, pride & protection to the extraordinary people of Dominica.

    The Dominican government’s role is to assure it is judicious in its function in granting economic citizenship. To achieve the selection of outstanding ex-pat’s into the citizenship programme, it must base it’s decisions of acceptance NOT solely upon a fistful of dollars, but rather upon the commitment of ex-pat’s to devote their entire lives to improving the quality of life on Dominica!

    Ending economic citizenship would spell the end of opportunity to enhance Dominica’s future.

    However, simply relying on “money” as the sole-measure for citizenship is likely just as bad as having no citizenship programme at all.

    A smart Economic citizenship programme would grant acceptance based upon the applicants commitment and ability to serve the people of Dominica over the long-haul; and, not simply on a fist full of dollars!

  4. Honesty the best policy
    April 8, 2010

    The Economic Citizenship Programme has brought more problems into Dominica, but riches to a few. The labour party and its supporters all now still want to crucify people like Lennox Linton and opposition who conducted a comprehensive investigation into that programme…

    Many people spoke out against indiscriminate selling of our passports which end up in the hands of all kinds of persons. The Gov’t never listened, but instead went on to even further sell more passports. Nobody knows how much money those people amass from those sales or how many passports are sold or how much the country obtains. Skerritt was part of govt then… No transparency.

    Accountability is lacking. When PM made deal with Iranian/American Dr. Badi of East West Consulting LLC for selling passports for persons who want second citizenship, Dominicans did not know about it. If Skerritt now talks of reviewing programme, tell him long time Dominicans are enraged with the nonsense going on with that selling of passports. Shelve,stop that stupidity that is going on. Skerritt blame yourself and your Govt for what Dominicans are going through.

    But strangely, Skerritt mentions glibly about reviewing a programme that has brought more and more problems, but refuses to review the election process to make it free and fair in the future. What double standards. But the PM knows the nature of Dominicans and will attempt to use all kinds of tricks or make outlandish statements to mask the real cause of our problems which the politicians themselves have caused. It is all about greed. Dollars come first for those guys not true decent economic development so that the masses of people can get out of the hole they are in.

    Skerritt you can fool some Dominicans sometimes but can never succeed in fooling all of the people all of the time. But we haven’t hear anything yet. Is behind that have. What we do not hear about or know bigger than that

  5. Grand Bayrian
    April 8, 2010

    The Prime Minister misses the point. He should acknowledged that Government has failed or his Government was not being honest when it says that it had taken action in dealing with the economic citizenship program and the offshore program years ago. Not months. I think we should scrap that program all together. Prior to the economic citizenship program, we were not put under the microscope. When Freedom Party introduced that Program, in opposition, The Dominica Labour party were against it, the UWP were against it, both political parties talked loudly about how it would affect our citizens. Well today the chicken has come home to roost.

    … Former Canadian Minister for the America’s Mr. David Kilgour met with late Prime Minister Rosie Douglas, to discuss Canadian concerns in regards to the program. Chinese showing up in Toronto, and can’t name the capital of Dominica. Kilgour again met with the late Prime Minister Pierre Charles and Dominica had began making some changes, in regards to curtailing the Offshore banking and the citizenship program.

    We all know after death of the late Prime minister ,Pierre Charles, a new sheriff in town, and everyone looking out for themselves. The sad thing is that the poor people paying for the ruthless and good for nothing politicians actions. We want to play in big leagues, yet we don’t follow the rules. You can’t just give away your citizenship to any jack rabbit. That defines you as a nation, that is priceless, it must stand for something.

  6. Songre
    April 8, 2010

    Hi All, You read all these comments and they are so baseless it’s ridiculous, that does not mean in any way I support the economic citizenship program because I simply don’t have all the facts. The Government needs to launch a very serious investigation into the Passport Issue and the (ECP) by an independent body and submit the report to Governement with special terms of references that they should investigate. I may be wrong but I am confident it is the citizenry that may causing most of the problem. I can’t understand why the Government would be selling passport to Individual who do not reside in Dominica but purchase the passport under the disguise of moving to another country? nonsense, that must not be allowed.
    I believe temporary documents should be given whilst they are being investigated and they must reside in the land for at least 3 years whilst making a significant contribution to the Economy and the Country and still after that they will still be monitored as to where they go and take the passports. These are are just a few measures that can be put in place to deal with the above. Citizens please stop making comments without merit until u have all the facts, I wrote earlier about the UK situation and was stunned to find out later Dominicans were actually going to Britain and altering documents, overstaying among other things, stunned to say the least.
    Mr. Prime Minister this is serious and this could have a Global and Domino effect on us who lived outside and especially the name of our proud Country Dominica , we need answers A.S.A.P. Countries are getting very serious especially with the financial crisis that has taken over the world in the past couple of years and they are fighting back by blaming migrants for bloating their sectors and they want them out. I urge the Dominican nationals to please be conscious about this and do the right things everytime. I mentioned earlier about the crimes that were being committed and I just pray to God these will be in the past. Guys come on let’s be serious and proud and protect the name of our Land. One love my fellow Dominicans God bless you all and our fair land. Thanks DNO for the space.

  7. LionPaw
    April 8, 2010

    The nerve of politicians. That’s on you Mr.Skerrit. You’ve been PM for 6 years plus. So any abuse of, or deficiency in the program is occurring under your watch. In other words…YOU FAIL!!

    But let us not fool ourselves. Don’t matter how these economic citizenship programs are amended or sanitized, they are still essentially the prostitution of the country’s passport for a few US dollars.

  8. April 8, 2010

    What does the PM thinks? Which Dominican will travel to a foreign
    Country on vacation get work to do and refuse it when there’s no employment in d/ca?create jobs then u can run your mouth.

  9. April 8, 2010

    We all know that Dominica is being used as a back door for everyone. We the true born Domincans that are being targeted for those who have Dominican passport are committing crimes. It is only in Dominica that they are getting passport and citizenship so easy. In America you have to wait so long before you get a piece of paper. It has people in America over 25 yrs without papers and is not even close to obtaining a piece of paper.
    I am glad that the Government is taking a stand is rectifying that citizenship program.
    We all know that the people who are coming to Dominica has no good intentions but only to get the passport and move on.
    My Supervisor who is African told me that her brother who in Africa wants to go to Dominica and then to Barbados to obtain a visa to come to the U.S I asked her why Dominica, she said her brother told her that his friends did it and that they are presently in Barbados. They are all using the citizenship program in Dominca to move on to other bigger countries. The Haitains are using Dominica to move on to St.Martin, Guadeloupe and other countries.
    WAKE UP DOMINICANS and clean your eyes for we and our country will go down the drain.
    Dominica seems to be the free port of entry in the Caribbean.
    I love my country and I would not like the innocent to be branded as criminals for no fault of their own.
    Mr. Skerritt stop talking and take action where necessary. It has nothing to do with some one working while on vacation. No one can falsify documents like Haitians and Africans.

  10. Homeboy
    April 8, 2010

    I am not into the “politricks” of any of the parties on the island. As a neutral observer, I say stop the sale of passports! Why? A passport is a Country’s most Important asset besides it’s human capital and revenue- generating ventures.
    To put a price on such an important piece of document, whereby anybody can afford to have it
    devalues the country’s worth. It makes external interests question the legitimacy of the Nationals of this country. Market Dominica for what it is, and build on its natural resources.

    With all the years of this economic citizenship, it has not significantly contributed to the GDP or in helping to reduce the external debt!

    Mr Wiltshire is right, stop the program outright!

  11. Advancement
    April 8, 2010

    The Economic Citizenship Programme is valuable to the Dominican Economy in that it does help curtail some of the country’s debts. What the current administration could look into is a system similar to that of the UK where investors are put through rigorous commitment measures for a number of years and there should be also and increase in the funds being invested into the economy and what they can invest in. To those who are not aware the UK and America does have a citizenship programme but it is not as cheap and accessible as it is with Dominica and as such the case being that some of the beneficiaries of the services have taken it for granted not bothering at all to the major impact their activities will have on the commonwealth of Dominica.

    I do believe that we should keep the programme but the measures that are in place needs to be revisited and updated so that Dominica benefits on the longerterm and not just the clients who purchase the status.

  12. Anonymous
    April 8, 2010

    Dont blame this PM, blame Mamo she started it, then blame Eddison, Pm just continue what he find. . But Dominica need some rules and regulations as to who can be a Dominican. If u nah live on Island, u duh born on island u momma or papa, not born on island how u can be holding passport nuh.

    • lola
      April 9, 2010

      i dont think all those chinese who have bought there where a long time after miss charles and eddison

  13. de caribbean change
    April 8, 2010

    No big deal, Mr. PM. We always were and still are British Subjects.

  14. nash andrew
    April 8, 2010

    the government of dominica need to get its act together, by insuring that the people who apply for dominican citizenship are genuine and not using our passport to commit criminal activities overseas.

  15. STRATEGIC VIEW
    April 8, 2010

    There are more questions than answers!

    Desperate men do desperate things to full their pockets and not thinking of the ramificationsl and negative impact to Dominica and native Dominicans! Were there any undercover deals?

    We need transparency!!!!

    We need to know:-

    How many passports were sold?

    Have all these monies from the sale of Dominica passports been credited to the contingency funds at the government treasury?

    Too little too late!! Dominica is already in serious trouble and the indiscriminate act of selling our passports should not have been carried out in the first place.

    When desperate men want money to line their pockets they take desperate, irrational action!!!!

    A concerned Dominica!

  16. Domerican
    April 8, 2010

    “WE WILL BE ASKING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UK TO PROVIDE US WITH THE NAMES OF PERSONS WHO FIND THEMSELVES IN DIFFICULTY WITH BRITISH OFFICIALS AND TO SEE HOW WE CAN DEAL WITH THEM FROM THE DOMINICA STANDPOINT,” he said. Wow some strong words. Shouldn’t the people who are also giving away Dominican passports to anyone who presents them with some money also be dealt with, Mr. PM?

  17. Mac-Arthur Haughton
    April 8, 2010

    Who started this program?
    How long has it been running?
    Can anyone tell us what the economic benefit has been to the country under this program?
    How many jobs and new businesses were created?
    How much extra money has it generated and circulated in the Dominican economy?
    How was this extra revenue used?
    How many people are we talking about?
    Which countries are they from?
    Do they have criminal records and how were they checked?
    Where are they now?

    Why don’t the opposition drag their sorry backsides to parliament to get answers to these questions?

    • April 9, 2010

      Mac-Arthur Haughton

      Dominica is only ~75 miles from the military base on Bird Island/avis Island. where as it is ~400 miles from Caracas.
      Avis Island cannot accommodate an airport nor fuel storage.

      have there been instances where Judges are bought?
      How much Money is at stake on the june case?

      was a magistrate was gunned down in St. Lucia.

      Is the law swayed by such intimidation?
      who will protect the Judge in Dominica?
      Was the police chief legally appointed?

      Has the Caribbean now entered the Nuclear Arms race?

      “We are not going to build the atomic bomb but we will develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We have to prepare for the post-petroleum era,” Chavez said on Thursday.
      While Dominica and other Caricom nations are kept in the Dark by media that do not wish to offend the high $ clients Do We have a new arms race starting in the Caribbean sea?

      Has Dominica facilitated this led by a Prime minister whose allegiance is in the OECS supreme /high court?
      How? Venezuela has built strategic fuel storage and installed lights at the Melville hall airport. To date civilian aircraft have yet to use it as it is alleged that it does not meet civilian aircraft safety requirements.
      Why strategic? Dominica is only ~75 miles from the military base on Bird Island/avis Island. where as it is ~400 miles from Caracas.
      Avis Island cannot accommodate an airport nor fuel storage.
      No one in Dominica is privy to the ALBA agreement.
      If Bird island becomes recognized internationally as an island (as Venezuelan women are being flown there from Dominica to give birth)
      then many other nuclear powers who have territorial waters in the Caribbean may/will more than likely face a drastic reduction in territorial waters. British, US, Dutch, French…and other Caribbean nations.
      Will this also pose a threat to Trinidad and Guyana who also have territorial disputes with Venezuela?
      Chavez said Moscow and Caracas would strengthen security ties to “continue increasing Venezuela’s defense capability” and move ahead with cooperation on nuclear energy.

      “We are not going to build the atomic bomb but we will develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. We have to prepare for the post-petroleum era,” Chavez said on Thursday.

      http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE63115A20100402

      http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62U3CX20100331

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/02/AR2010040200893.html

      http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aYL.Fr09ZgO0&pos=9

    • alasss..
      April 9, 2010

      Mac-Arthur Haughton….why dont the opposition drag their sorry behinds to parliament?….how naive can u be??? in ur rite mind, u believe skerrit n his GOONS gan answer ppl n put their own heads under the Guillotine?..skerrit soul already done sell….de man already done tell ALl U go to hell.

      bread of decit is sweet to man..but later his mouth shall be filled with gravel……

  18. Fairplay
    April 8, 2010

    I think that we should ban the economic citizen program entirely and we should not issue any passports to Haitians.

  19. Here
    April 8, 2010

    Dominica, i am sorry for you. Now that the party is over and the hammer is coming down, what are you going to do?!!! Where are you going to run?!!!!

    Mr. Willshire, besides stopping the program promptly, the government needs to revoke those citizenships that were given to persons not risiding in DA, period. This is what greed and the love of money will do to individuals. Politicians have sold and continue to sell their souls in order to build wealth. Don’t they realize that “naked we come and naked we shall return”? It all stays right here. Now, who is going to suffer for this?

    There are so-called Dominicans all over the world who do not know jack about DA. See how long you have to struggle in Tortola on a work permit (having to renew every year) before they will even give you a “belonger status”. Not citizenship, “belonger”. Your only right being that you no longer have to apply for the work permit. And, before you get that, they have to be all up in your business! But not in DA; they come with their fake names, fake certificates, fake stories, fake families, fake smiles, fake manerism, and bride a fake government.

    NOW THE WORLD WILL TURN IT’S BACK ON DA!!!

    Politicians, it is time to reimburse these individuals their money. Keep your hands clean. Give Dominica back it’s good name.

    THERE IS NOTHING TO REVIEW, BE PRO-ACTIVE AND STOP IT NOW!

  20. Jepter
    April 8, 2010

    Did it have to take the Uk Threatening to impose visa restriction on Dominicans for the Government officials to get more strict as it relates to the issuing of Economic Citizenship? Has this not been for quite some time now an area of much concern?

  21. MY TAKE
    April 8, 2010

    Too many crooks and criminals are holders of our passports,but lets be real people the economic base of this country has been largely forgotten by this govt.so we have virtually no agriculture in the country,displaced farmers who are adding to the unemployment list, a hopeless social services programme,a high level of youth unemployment etc.The govt can only get money by dealing with these crooks and criminals and their answer to us is “we are going to the next level.”

  22. April 8, 2010

    Blah,blah…….,only now, let the citizens know what’s going on.

  23. concerned
    April 8, 2010

    The people of Dominica are the ones sufferring now because of The Government’s indiscriminate giving of citizenship. No citizenship!!!!!! How long do these people live in Dominica to try to improve the country. They are just passers- by and you all knew that from the start. It is about time. No Citizenship.

  24. BE truthful PM
    April 8, 2010

    So why is it that you keep trying to blame honest domincan born citizens when you know is the economic citizens….more lies

  25. April 8, 2010

    More talk blah blah blah , enough already Mr . PM PLEASE stop the hoopla we all know where you stand flip flop be honest and stand up like a man and do the right thing let Dominica be counted.

  26. DA MAN IN BOSTON
    April 8, 2010

    idon’t get it , are there any persons that can be identify with our passport, that have brought any genuine business to dominica? do the Pm in his right mind belived that people overstaying to work in britan is an issue or do you think you would leave your country and not try to make some money if possible while on vacation.The problem is the greedy politicians that open this flood gate to pocket money selling our passports to every bandit that bring them the fast money.i even hear bin laden have a dominica passport (ihope this is not ture and i don’t want to belive that.)Mr PM if you want dominicaans to be transparent to britan why don’t you practice what you preach.

  27. Under The Mango- Vieille Case
    April 8, 2010

    Better Late than never. Mr Skerrit this should have been done long time ago. It should not have taken threats from the UK to have us consider revision of the Econimic Citizenship Program.

    It has become too easy for non nationals to become citizens of Dominica and obtain Dominican passports. Many of those persons do not genuinely have Dominica’s interest at heart. The currrent state of the EC program is like selling our sovereignty for some dollars. We are worth more than that.

    Also I suggest that there be a specific office to manage the program and that individuals should not be allowed to “sell” Dominican citizenship and passports. There should be special board set up to review applications for citizenship.

    I also suggest that the immigration authorities limit the time given to persons entering our country so that people don’t stay in Dominica for extended periods and then be involved in activities which they did not enter here for.

    • Jepter
      April 8, 2010

      I must say that i agree with your point my fellow Itassian.

    • April 8, 2010

      WHEN you were born on june8th an obtained citizenship june 9th in gwada anything is possible in Dominica. how stupid can we be.

  28. Observer
    April 8, 2010

    It is about time. But I do hope that you people will do it right. And by so doing, it means getting rid of it entirely.

    Come on Mr.PM, show us what you got. No more economic program. It has been a cancer for Dominica.

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