Astaphan says PM Skerrit got green light for Silver Lake fire site clearance

The site was cleared hours after the fire

Senior Counsel Tony Astaphan has sought to dismiss claims that the site of a massive fire in Silver Lake was ordered cleared by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit before a proper investigation on its cause was completed.

The site was cleared hours after the Boxing Day blaze, which left 60 people homeless, for the construction of new apartments and there have been concerns that such action will compromise the investigation, which is being carried out by the Fire Services and the police.

But Astaphan said the Prime Minister got the green light to give permission to clear the site by those in charge of the investigation.

“The Prime Minister will tell you that he spoke to the Deputy Fire Commissioner and the Inspector in charge of the CID (Criminal Investigation Department), …. the Inspector on duty at the time of the fire, who after discussions and doing what it is what they had to do, gave the green light for the clearing of the place so that reconstruction, and whatever have you as promised by the Prime Minister, can take place,” he told state-owned DBS Radio.

According to Astaphan, this whole issue has to do with members of the United Workers Party who did not expect a prompt response from Skerrit on the fire.

“I think what the problem really is, is that during the night of the fire, it is being said that the Leader of the Opposition and that the United Workers Party, Thomson Fontaine, in particular, did not expect a prompt response from the Prime Minister and had planned some form of telethon or PayPal set up,” he stated. “Now they are being denied that by the prompt action of the government and to divert attention away from the Prime Minister’s very early and positive statements on the situation is to talk about covering up of a crime scene.”

Astaphan described the issue as “extraordinary mischief making.”

“If any of them have evidence of a crime and this was, in fact, a crime scene, they have an obligation to come forward and say so and identify the specific crime that was committed by whom and how,” he said, adding that personnel from the Fire Services and CID were on the scene.

He said the prompt response by the Prime Minister was in the best interest of the victims of the fire.

“The people of Dominica have to make a judgement call, whether the Prime Minister did the right thing by making the statement for prompt assistance that he made and sought the green light because he spoke to them, from the fire division and the CID, who gave him he green light to continue,” he noted.

He remarked that “another lie” and “another smoke screen” are being hatched by the UWP without specific details.

“I can tell you for a fact the Prime Minister spoke to the Deputy Fire Commissioner and the Inspector in charge of CID who gave the green light to clear the scene,” he stated, pointing out that there were officers on the scene investigating what had really happened at Silver Lake.

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  1. December 31, 2016

    Tony Astaphan is the Prime Minister?

  2. Tony, in all fairness you must admit that this is a first in Dominica. How many fires we’ve had in Dominica over the years, and within a matter of hours after the blaze, perhaps while the ash was still smothering, the area was cleaned; level to the ground?

    Something is highly unprecedented about that!

    Whereas they say there would be an investigation into the fire, one would anticipate that it would take a little bit longer to search the burnt out buildings for evidence of arson. How can there be an investigation, when visible, and forensic evidence might have deliberately bulldozed away?

    A Kindergarten kid with commonsense will be suspicious of such actions, I am suspicious that someone knows how the fire got started, and fear evidence could link them to the fire, hence they ensured the evidence is covered up!

    That is very suspicious, a very suspicious omen indeed!

      December 30, 2016

      Francisco! Are you o.k?

  3. john doe
    December 29, 2016

    Mr should go bury his head in the soil and never put it back up!

  4. The Thinker
    December 29, 2016

    The fire was a disaster for the people,however we have a disaster coordinator on the island.When were they involved?
    Instant handing out cash to all?no coordination with any other organisation.
    Instant clearing of site?one can smell the stench of corruption.If plans replacement housing can be taken of the shelf who is involved.
    The Wotton Waven road is a death trap and has been for years,PM has said cash was in budgets for years never any major work.Lets see him take these plans of the shelf NOW

  5. Looking in
    December 29, 2016

    Scare-ro doesn’t give a rat’s a what people think, say or do. He has everyone by their balls already and an opportunity to get some more showed up…so he capitalized.
    What can Dominicans do? Absolutely nothing. They just have to shut up, put their tales between their legs and go home. Sorry mama Dominica…but your children are afraid to defend you from scare-ro et al.

  6. Who leak IPO info?
    December 29, 2016

    Who compromised the investigation into that disastrous fire at Silver Lake?

    Who ordered a Bacoe to immediately clear the debris in the area?

    Was that Bacoe waiting for such a call to begin work?

    Why did that person, instead of allowing the CID and the Fire Dept from conducting their investigation, quickly, ordered that Bacoe to begin work to clear any evidence that would be found to assist in the investigation?

    Are we left to speculate and be suspicious about criminal acts?

    The speed with which the bacoe got rid of evidence by clearing the area, before investigation, the mere idea that Skerritt mentioned that no need for radio-thon, pay-pal or bank account, the talk of building even before Planning Division permission and input, smells suspicious behaviour.

    When will the people of Dominica realize that many of those suspicious, criminal activities are too rampant. Be forewarned or perish. That person who interfered with the investigation must be dealt with. But…

  7. December 29, 2016

    what is the outcome/findings of the investigation?

  8. December 29, 2016

    Dominicans giving Tony to much credit, the guy is empty, blank, nothing of substance to offer

  9. It's my damn business too man!
    December 29, 2016

    Tony trying his best to make me burst a laugh but sadly this is not something I can laugh at. Tony you just answered all of my questions as you opened your mouth to removed all my doubts. The only questions that remained unanswered are: 1. Was this Skerrit’s personal property for investors to hand him the green light to bulldoze the area less than a day after such a massive fire? 2. Are the investigators owned by or working for Skerrit to give him a green light to bulldoze so fast? Just asking OK dno

  10. JO
    December 29, 2016

    Why are you guys so naiive? Open your eyes and ears. the apartments were already promised to the residents. So the fire will now speed up the process… long awaited…thaaaaaa

  11. Dominica
    December 29, 2016

    Incredibly credible!!! I guess the investigators investigated while the fire was simmering. Lets just leave it at that. Lets pray that Mr. Astaphans. Truth crushed to earth will rise again.

  12. Doc. Love
    December 29, 2016

    In an effort to protect the Prime Minister, Tony is doing more damage to him than he realizes. Tony is wearing two caps, a political cap and a legal cap. According to my Granny, two professionals she does not trust are politicians and lawyers. One might say, Tony isn’t a registered politician, because he is involved in active politics, in my opinion, that makes him a politician. For example, he has been on a political platform, he talks more politics then the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition put together. He is the main political advisor to the Prime Minister. He is on radio discussing the Prime Minister’s business more then his Press Secretary. The political power he exhibits, no other Minister of Government has it. So, that is why he believes he has the right to be involved in anything political surrounding the Prime Minister. Therefore when he tells a lie in the PM defense, in his mind that is no big thing, all politicians do that.

  13. Real!!!!!
    December 29, 2016

    Where is the empathy to the people in Silver lake who lost everything to provide closure on what cause the fire?

    Instead the GOVT just bulldoze the location like the folks did not matter to start building….something is wrong with the behavior of Skerrit and his henchmen.

    Therefore it calls into question suspicious GOVT behavior and fire at the location.

  14. jonathan st jean
    December 29, 2016

    Tony Astaphan,we know that you are an educated mind,but you continue to believe that you are the only educated mind and the rest of us are dumb, children of slaves.As a defense lawyer in a case where the scene was tampered with so soon after the fire before all the evidence is gathered and processed,and the scene is tampered with you would use that as a part of your defense in court representing your client.Now you want to see the so called stupid children of slaves accept that the deputy fire chief and the head of CID gave the PM permission to call in heavy equipment and affect the evidence.If this is true that the PM was given permission then these men are incompetent and abused their authority,so should be removed from their jobs.The PM should know better than move with such haste.Was something wrong going on?If it moves like a duck and quacks like a duck then it’s a duck.

  15. Lena
    December 29, 2016

    Who ask Tony anything.. man when people can’t handle their business at their home is use any other thing as a distraction. Skerrit is the elected PM of Dominica and ONLY SKerrit and the elected officials are expected to address Dominicans. The firefighters and police who were on the scene are stating to people they were not through not even nearly halfway into investigations, and the PM wasn’t given any green light to ask for “backhoe”. He did it for showmanship or other reasons, and then they are forced to just say yes they told him go ahead and bulldoze but that damn good for Farley, all your years of dedicated works now is blown away as ashes because who you bed is now tangled in public work. SKerrit is sick and twisted! When Tony ready for you that Roosevelt there you will get it and drag what you can’t carry behind you.

  16. Wonder
    December 29, 2016

    Why is any political party making mileage out of this incident, have they no shame? Come on man! When are Dominicans going to wake up and smell what is around them. The occupants of the apartments lost all that they possessed and does anyone think that preying on their vulnerability will make them God.

    Where is Tony AStaphan? is he the GIS, this man wants for nothing, he calls Dominicans all sorts of derogatory names and yet they refuse to hear or see what is going on. He goes over the radio as an empty barrel, making noise, to hide his shame

    Listen up you all of you the day of reckoning will soon come and the tables will be…

  17. Shaka Zulu
    December 29, 2016

    This place is really down the drain. House burn investigation as to cause of fire ain’t start but place cleaned up. Why is the PM the one giving final say on when to clean site and why is Tony speaking on his behalf blaming inspector of police. Thier are procedures in place that have to be followed. Is skerrit making the rules as the day goes by.? What a bloody mess. One blind mouse leading a whole bunch of death, dumb and blind mice.

  18. Da
    December 29, 2016

    I am calling on the Leader of the Opposition to hold emergency meetings with the masses and demand resignation of the P.M for destroying evidence at a potential crime scene.
    This is very serious matters going on in Dominica and I want all Dominicans to condemn this acts by the P.M and come out to force these guy out of office.

    • December 29, 2016

      I agree with your comments but remember we are speaking about Dominicans they like to talk but without any actions, The Opposition would call for every one to come out but they wouldn’t because the love corruption and all the lies and nastiness going on within the administration , and the only persons suffering are the people , the children the elderly , the lonely etc . Look what’s happening at Silver Lake
      a fire that left families holding their heads because they will never know who tried to blow there up, and why the PM is moving so quickly to hide whatever the finding might be something is not right and the people should not accept that at all
      . And how did the Pm came up the all the things that will be needed at Silver Lake something is missing do we have stuff left over from Ericka that’s he’s going to pass on to those people, reporters never ask the PM the hard questions and he get’s away with it.

  19. Mouth Open!
    December 29, 2016

    The cracks are opening up !! And I knew they will. People are now fighting over who set the fire in Silver Lake. A lot of mess is going on in Da and this one no different.
    Time for demonstration in Roseau so that this craziness will STOP ! I will be there . These guys are taking us for fools , giving us hand outs and expecting us to shut up! No way .
    The Back-ho was brought in too fast ! This was an attempted cover-up. But people are talking .

  20. Dominican Passports
    December 29, 2016

    If you think skerrit started the fire you’re an idiot. Nothing more nothing less… Looking like Skerrit dumbing down the populace affect UWP supporters too, anyways we got bigger fish to fry. :roll:

    • viewsexpressed
      December 29, 2016

      The issue is not if Skerrit started a fire or not, the issue before us is the Protocal dictating to our emergency services what is to be done in the event of a fire and NOT a politician, albeit, inept Skerrit or outlandish Astaphan to dictate conclude what is to be done.
      There are too many hocus pocus corrupt practices going on within this corrupt labour government. Dominica is now a failed state. Skerrit is a very big disappointment

      • Dominican Passports
        December 30, 2016

        Just thought I would put that out there because a lot of UWP people think that Skerrit had something to play with the fire, that’s why he was so quick to have the site cleared. Anyway, this honestly isn’t a big deal, UWP should be focusing on more important issues and stop neat picking.

  21. Curious me
    December 29, 2016

    Is this not the same Anthony Astaphan who lashed out at Mr. G. O. N. Emanuel for getting his burnt out vehicle out of his garage, many days after the Christmas morning fire at his residence? He cited “evidence” then…………..

  22. Marcus Hill
    December 29, 2016

    I thought the guy would have take a break from politics to mourn the loss of his dad.

  23. Lenovo
    December 29, 2016

    I’m not arguing whether he called the Police Chief and the Fire Commissioner…I’m arguing whether Tony Astaphans REALLY believed that either one of the above mentioned would stand in the way of Roosevelt “The bulldozer” Skerritt when he wants to score political points.

    Now seriously, do you expect ANY of them to come out and say Skerritt lie??

    Get real

    December 29, 2016

    When political and economic power is captured by weak elites, they undermine the institutions necessary for a fair and unbiased society. Critically, the rapid rise of extreme economic inequality stands in the way of eliminating poverty: locally, regionally and internationally.

  25. edris
    December 29, 2016

    i eating my skippey peanut buter just like that. Skerrit dont want dominicans to eat there peanut butter just like that. Skerrit sounding tireddddddddddddddd. exit time

  26. December 29, 2016

    Why won’t this Senior shut up his dam——b mouth and stick to his constitutional law books; let me educate my friend and inform him that when a report of such magnitude is made to the police on their arrival the area must be treated as a Crime Scene ( basic police SOP) and the area cordoned off; until such time that the contrary is proved it must remain as such. I am however bothered that the focus of blame is on the Punjab PhD who himself is no better than Tony in dealing with such matters. The question must be asked what is the role if any of the Police and Fire Department.; irrespective of the instructions given by the PM or anyone else, that evening the duty of the investigators was to ensure that no shovel far less a back-hoe interfere with the crime scene until they are satisfied that the probe of the scene is thorough and complete and anyone not complying or co-operating should be forcefully removed from the area and even arrested. The lack of leadership is clear.

    • Neverson st jean
      December 29, 2016

      Well said brother these are the correct procedures

    • Shameless
      December 29, 2016

      One day I have to see Carbon and his political acolytes held accountable for abusing their power. Yes I say one day……

      Always Assertive! :twisted:

  27. %
    December 29, 2016

    In Dominica,the police force (with the exception of few good men) is a failed institution…Let’s wait and listen to their response…Who dictated to the police that they should immediately go find out who is/was Josh Shaw? Not Joshua you know! JOSH SHAW!
    Happy New Year to two victims of attempted murderGON and Grett Emmanuel…l

  28. dee
    December 29, 2016

    Oh oh, Tony at it again

    Common Tony careful now .

  29. Academic
    December 29, 2016

    Only in this fool’s paradise does such ridiculous things happen. In the haste for political expediency, corruption and greed, nothing is wrong as long as we benefit personally. And unfortunately, the most idiot set of people in this place (Dominicans) as blind as they are, will defend such rubbish to their last breath. God is not a police!!!

  30. Malgraysa
    December 29, 2016

    We should take mr. Astaphan’s splutterings with a generous ladle of salt. Some years ago I heard him condemning those who were selling our citizenship and questioning their morals. Matt Peltier recently replayed a recording of his comments on his radio show.
    However, today his own family are agents for this programme operating under the name of Caribbean Citizenship Inc., located at Hibiscus Ridge, Roseau – does this address sound familiar to you mr. Senior Counsel? They are on the official Govt. list of authorised agents ( and were one of the sponsors of the International Migration Summit, which took place in Bejing, China from 26-28 Oct. of this year, with Senior Counsel’s own sister listed as a director of this company as an official speaker at the event. See; (International Migration
    Summit oct. 26-28 2016 Bejing). It appears mr. Astaphan has a habit of going with the wind, wherever it flies…

    • Mosquito 1
      December 29, 2016

      Malgraysa ,you rat bags like dishing out crap but when Mr Astaphan speaking the truth and common sense you lots can’t handle it do you? Just because you all workers supporters are stupid brainless cannot think for your selfs, This is why your party will never be in government again in Dominica.

      • Music Producer
        December 29, 2016

        Mosquito 1, you is sure stupiD

      • Tjebe fort
        December 29, 2016

        the truth is the truth Mosquito it sting more than than a mosquito bite and lasts for ever. You can not trust someone who says one thing and does exactly the opposite like Tony and them.

      • Tjebe fort
        December 30, 2016

        Listen you little maligwan. I don’t really care too much whether UWP come in power or not. It is not about party but Dominica. So Skerrit must go because he is bad medicine for our little country and take Tony with him because he is not a true patriot, his ego is in the way. I know plenty of labour supporters that want to see the back of Skerrit too, so we have a a common goal. tout moun assam to get rid of this nightmare that is turning our little paradise into a twou labou for greedy pigs.

  31. SN
    December 29, 2016

    What a quick investigation! I understand the need to restore the victims to normalcy as quickly as possible, but could a thorough investigation have been completed in so short a space of time? I would like to think architectural drawings and approvals will take a some time if proper structures are to be constructed, so why couldn’t the clean up be done a few days later to conduct a proper investigation? Or is this a recognition the Fire Service lack the proper investigation skills to diagnose the cause of the fire?

  32. viewsexpressed
    December 29, 2016

    “According to Astaphan, this whole issue has to do with members of the United Workers Party who did not expect a prompt response from Skerrit on the fire.”
    We must ask this AStaphan, whether he is a legal liar, qualified in untruths, or at all costs feeds on the weakness of Skerrit, the Police Commissioner and our police force appears to scared of “Scare rit”….who is obviously scared of this “Phan” of us.
    Tony Astaphan, do you want us to believe this open face lie coming from a blind, loyalists like you just to get at the UWP? Well, it is we the people saying so with the UWP. tot your rubbish, you cannot and will not win us over. You and your politics are disgusting. Go to Hell….Go to Hell…Go to hell.

    Prompt response my foot. Skerrit cannot talk for himself. This visit was a stage managed affair to promote his young acolyte to run for Labour in the area. But, I tell you, like Ambrose, we the people will dump him. That young boy should run fast & stay away from PM…

  33. troll
    December 29, 2016

    pm all the way :lol: :lol: I agree

    • viewsexpressed
      December 29, 2016

      PM is a big joke and maybe seen as a weak in the eyes of the public. How silly can a man in this position as head of government be ….or rather head of a corrupt failed corrupt labour Government.
      These people are make fool of Skerrit…..and we and they are all laughing as the sun sets……idiot.

      • Jon Jones
        December 29, 2016

        The real joke is amongst the other Caricom heads of state.

        Our dude brings another guy in to tell us we don’t need an international airport, then that dude goes to the same people who were to supply us with said international airport and gets the deal for his island.

        If ever there was a better case for the term “country bookie” then let me know.


  34. John Jay
    December 29, 2016

    I hope you know what you are saying senior counsel, every day you are digging a bigger hole on behalf of the PM. Look today you are involving the deputy fire chief and the inspector incharge of C.I.D. and he or she CANNOT give the o.k to anyone the files must go to the commissioner of police first. So more problems for this people.

  35. Oh
    December 29, 2016

    Is Tony Astaphan the Press Secretary?

    • Me
      December 29, 2016

      No, he is Skerrit’s mouthpiece and factotum.

    • viewsexpressed
      December 29, 2016

      No, ohhh no…he is the loose secretary, one with a wagging tail that resembles a donkey at a derby. He is running the race

    • Frank Talker
      December 29, 2016

      Yes wii. He is the Secretary who does Press people.

  36. %
    December 29, 2016

    This is a long and tortuous piece of nonsense….This again is a clear indication that all our institutions of state are headed by people who are puppets of a corrupt DLP…Now the fire department and the police will just tow the line and agree with what Tony said…This is what you get in the Passport Production Country called Dominica,a failed state of course!!!OOPS.Try as hard as you can,but Roseau South will not vote for corruption!!!!I never knew that losing Roseau South was so hurtful to you all.

  37. hmmm
    December 29, 2016

    So why has the police not published a report on the incident?

  38. James Christopher
    December 29, 2016

    So how many times do they have to pull wool over our eyes?

    • Tjebe fort
      December 31, 2016

      Wool James? Not with Skerrit my boy, is polyester you are getting only, everything artficial.

  39. WeNiceMan
    December 29, 2016

    Why is that the Prime Minister of our country always “lawyers up” whenever is accused of doing something wrong?

    You are the top SERVANT of the people for crying out loud. Address us(the people of Dominica) directly instead of through a lawyer like some accused criminal on the defensive.

    • DA girl
      December 29, 2016

      Whether or not he addresses the nation directly or through another the response will be be the same….he lying. So what again?

  40. December 29, 2016

    Season greetings to you and the Prime minister Sir.
    I am very impressed with the work of the Prime Minister, his prompt response in bringing relief to those affected over the years and of this fire in particular .
    God`s Blessing’s, and guidance to the PM. for the coming years.

    • viewsexpressed
      December 29, 2016

      What relief, you bind supporter of a corrupt PM and Labour Government. …..What relief are you talking about.? Man, woman, Relieve yourself rom this corrupt corrupt labour regime. They are no good…..and a liability to Dominica

  41. Soon it will end.
    December 29, 2016

    So Tony Astafans alone is parliament now? Does he have more power than all the elected parliamentarians from which Skerro should seek permission to act ?
    Parliamentarians should now show Skerrit and Tony who holds the Power.

  42. Tjebe fort
    December 29, 2016

    Tony, grow up. Who is going to argue with that Prime Minister, who is going to deny him when he wants something done? . you are no longer credible Tony, not interested in justice, only winning your case regardless. You are a disgraceful embarrassment to justice in the Caribbean partner.

  43. For Real
    December 29, 2016

    I would like the people of Dominica why is it that they are just standing by and allow one Man Skerrit to rule with impunity and disregard the rule of law in such disrespectful manner.
    This is so sickening and unbelievable how Dominicans have become so silent in the face of blatant disrespect for the law. We are now a country of man but one of Laws.
    It is time for some Policemen who are not in favor of this nonsense to stand up and be counted.

  44. Massacre
    December 29, 2016

    There is a lot of suspicion around this fire! I smelled a rat from day one!
    Remember that it was around this same Christmas time that Gon Emmanuel house was burnt in Goodwill.

    There were many other fires in Dominica and no Gov\’t official went running there handing out money like we are seeing Skerrit doing in Silver lake.
    There is so much to investigate , I hope every one is compiling there evidence so that when the time comes we will have the proof to present.

    • Tjebe fort
      December 29, 2016

      How about that fire in then old transmission tower near Melville Hall bro. You remember that and the same P.M. saying straight away hew knew who did it? Well, I am still waiting for the official police report and prosecution on that one.

    • Driver
      December 29, 2016

      When was the last time an investigation was satisfactorily concluded?

  45. Respecr
    December 29, 2016

    That is setting a bad precedence. A fire is set, the land is cleared immediately with no investigations…

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