Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, has called for full disclosure of the 25-year agreement that allowed Ross University School of Medicine to relocate without breaching the agreement.
He said, in a statement, that the people of Dominica have a right to know what are the unmet government obligations under the agreement.
“After 40 years of serving as a major engine of economic activity in Dominica, Ross University decided to leave and the Prime Minister found it impossible to negotiate even a phased withdrawal that would give the country at least 12 months to cushion the devastating blow and prepare for adjustments. What exactly does the agreement provide?” Linton asked.
“The circumstances of the termination allow us to conclude that the prime minister failed to deliver on the investment support and public infrastructure improvements that had to be addressed satisfactorily within the context of the agreement to facilitate the return of Ross,” the UWP leader stated.
He also raised the matter of accreditation as another issue pointing out that under the watch of the Prime Minister who made himself directly responsible for Ross, there has been no determination, for more than 10 years, that accreditation standards in Dominica are comparable to those of the United States.
“This determination of comparability of accreditation standards,” he said, “is an eligibility requirement for foreign medical schools to participate in the US government’s student financial assistance program and is therefore extremely important to the RUSM.”
According to the Opposition leader, “instead of coming clean with the people of Dominica to facilitate learning the lessons that will avert a similar catastrophe in the future, the Prime Minister is busy confusing the issue and creating distractions.”
Prime Minister Skerrit recently called on Dominicans, including his supporters, to “cease and desist from the unwarranted verbal attacks on the Government and Prime Minister of Barbados and by extension on all Barbadians,” after Mottley came under scathing criticism from her own Barbadian people and some across the region, for “poaching” RUSM from Dominica.
Linton put the blame for the criticism of Mia Mottley squarely on the shoulders of Skerrit’s media operatives and Labour Party supporters and credits those he referred to as the prime minister’s Bridgetown advisers for convincing him to call for peace and step up as an advocate for Barbados and the Barbados leader.
“Now, he says, it’s time to move on while he blames his war on others and stands tall as the single biggest impediment to moving on,” the UWP leader declared. “Indeed, Dominica cannot move on successfully from the devastating, sudden exit of Ross University after 40 years, under the leadership of a Prime Minister who persistently elevates personal interests above the national interest and slavishly carries out the orders of self-serving foreign advisors.”
Linton maintained that only Barbados is benefiting from this glaring conflict of interest in which the same political and economic advisers serve masters in Bridgetown and Roseau.
“A Barbadian company was among the first major beneficiaries of Dominica’s devastation by Hurricane Maria with a no-bid contract to build 1000 homes,” he explained. “That same Barbadian is company is among the same major beneficiaries of the location of Ross from Dominica to Barbados with utilization of its previously floundering housing project.”
The Opposition leader insisted that there must be an inquiry into the matter.
“There must be an inquiry… there will be an inquiry into what looms before us as a conspiracy of conflicted advisors making a complete mockery of the Prime Minister and inflicting serious injury on the national interest of Dominica.The chips will fall where the chips have to fall. And the people will get justice,” Linton declared.
The full text of a statement from the UWP on the matter is posted below.