New housing option revealed as controversy over CBI funds rages

PM Skerrit, Opposition Leader Linton

As the controversy rages over the call by Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton, for the proper accounting of funds generated by Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, the emergence of an additional  access option is adding fuel to the fire.

During his budget response in parliament on July 30, Linton pointed out that the 226 million dollars in revenue from the CBI Programme for the 2018-2019 financial year which was reported in the 2019-2020 budget, fell far short of the 1.291 billion dollars, which, by his calculation, should have been earned – a difference of 1.065 billion dollars.

“How did we end up with only $226.0 million, over one billion dollars less?” the Opposition Leader asked.

Linton was immediately hit by a barrage of criticism from Dominica Labour Party (DLP) operatives, government ministers, Prime Minister Skerrit himself and even private developer of CBI-funded Jungle Bay Resort, Sam Raphael, who all contended that the premise of US$50,000.00 per passport on which the Leader of the Opposition based his calculation, was grossly inaccurate. The calculations from some of his critics put the cost per application, as low as US$8,750 because of the family package deals offered under the real estate option.

Linton’s response was that this argument gives the impression that everyone who applied for Dominican citizenship in 2018-2019, did so under the real estate option through a family package deal and that no single persons purchased US$100,000 passports under the Economic Diversification Fund (EDF) option during that period.

To qualify for citizenship under the EDF option of the Dominica Citizenship by Investment programme, the required contribution amounts range from USD 100,000 to USD 200,000, depending on the number of dependants included in the application. To qualify for citizenship under the real estate option, an applicant must purchase authorized real estate to the minimum value of USD 200,000. Under this option, other applicable fees range from USD 25,000 for the main applicant, to a maximum of USD 70,000, depending on the number of dependants.

In a radio interview on Thursday August 8, 2019, Prime minister Skerrit brought an unexpected perspective to the debate when he revealed that most of the CBI funds during the period in question, were obtained under another component of the CBI programme called the housing option which he said, operates “somewhat like the Fund [EDF] option.” This option was introduced in 2016 following the devastation caused in Petite Savanne, by  Tropical Storm Erika the year before.

“In respect to the housing, there was a special dispensation. So, it is not under the real estate. It is treated somewhat like the Fund option. So, the fees applicable to the housing are the fees applicable if you were to invest in the government’s direct monetary option,” the prime minister explained. “We do not have the human resources required to implement that project so we were introduced to this developer [Montreal Management Consultants]… and we felt as a government, that this would be in the interest of the country.”

He went on to say that the housing programme is now Dominica’s premier CBI option and indicated that it is more popular than the EDF (direct cash) option..

“If we did not have the housing programme and if we only had the range and the Mariott [projects under the real estate option], you would see a dramatic number in terms of revenue for the government because now, the housing programme is doing better than the Fund [EDF] option,” the prime minister explained. “If we did not have this project and we had this agent [Montreal Management Consultants] selling for Dominica, all this money would have been part of revenue in the Consolidated Fund but what you have where the real estate and the housing is concerned, these monies go into the development. Therefore, it cannot be part of revenue”

Skerrit further explained that without the specially-dispensed housing programme, all of the CBI revenue would go to the State and would therefore, form part of the estimates on the Public Sector Investment Programme.

“And you do not see provisions made for any of the housing. Had we included this in the estimates, the budget would not be $1 billion dollars; it would be about 2 billion dollars, 2.2 billion dollars.” the prime minister revealed.

Linton was quick to point out that this budget amount which Skerrit mentioned, corresponds with his own assertion that over a billion dollars of CBI revenue have not been accounted for.

“The prime minister has admitted that he…made a decision that kept out of the public revenue, over one billion dollars of monies that came in from the Citizenship by Investment Programme through the housing option that he has created,” Linton points out.” We have no accounting for this money. We do not know what amount of that money was spent on housing and how much of it remains, if any at all.”

He said Dominicans need to have that accounting and added that the fact that the prime minister has kept that money outside of the Treasury and the Consolidated Fund, has to be a cause of concern for the people of Dominica “because it appears that it is the prime minister and the developer that he chose for those housing projects, that are spending that money.”

Linton says he does not believe that the housing option funds are put into an escrow account as indicated by Prime Minister Skerrit, and maintains that escrow accounts are only applicable for the real estate option where applicants are required to invest in real estate projects such as hotels.

“So, I’m saying that if you’re building houses for the state with money coming from the sale of Dominican citizenship which is public money, there is no rhyme or reason why that money should not be in the Consolidated Fund and is spent from the Consolidated Fund on what we commonly refer to as the Public Sector Investment Project [Programme],” he declared.

“Why are these homes being built in Bellevue and elsewhere by Anthony Haiden of Montreal Management Company outside the Public Sector Investment Programme? Why?” Linton asked, adding, “The only reason for that is because it is a clever way of keeping public funds under the private control of Mr. Skerrit. That is corruption 101 and we have to deal with it.”

It is unclear what proportion of the CBI funds generated under the Dominica CBI housing option, goes to the developer (MMCE) and what proportion to the state.

MMCE’s CEO Anthony Haiden has told the Investment Migration Insider that he is contractually unable to disclose the particulars, but that he can confirm that the distributions exceed MMCE’s cost of construction.

Aerial view of Bellevue Chopin Housing Development with Anthony Haiden (inset)

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62 Comments

  1. the enablers
    August 16, 2019

    These people who following Skerrit love what he can do for them. They don’t love the man. When you love someone you tell them when they are going wrong.

  2. Lennox for PM
    August 16, 2019

    There’s no reason why anybody in Dominica should be poor when our country has that kind of money! It hurts! :cry:
    Under UWP that will not happen.

  3. Lin clown
    August 15, 2019

    VIEWSEXPRESS there was a town hall meeting in Mahaut.MATT FAKE NEWS PELTIER told the people,they should ask the Prime Minister about the missing 1 billion dollars There were UWP supporters in the meeting including LOFTUS DURAND.Not one person asked the question.Because they believe LINTON is LYING as usual,and the Prime Minister is telling the TRUTH.LINTON is still paying for Lying.This guy has a history of lying

  4. Manyways
    August 15, 2019

    “How did we end up with only $226.0 million, over one billion dollars less?” the Opposition Leader asked.
    Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, on Tuesday July 30, 2019, presented the 2019-2020 national budget of $1.02 billion dollars to the Dominica parliament.
    “The prime minister has admitted that he…made a decision that kept out of the Public revenue, over one billion dollars of monies that came in from the Citizenship by Investment Programme through the housing option that he has created,”

  5. Skerrit, you're out!
    August 15, 2019

    My people. Skerrit knows he’s on his way out! Alex confirmed it, then the prophet. Rejoice, but only for a day. We have not yet won. The victory is coming our way but only because we are fighting, fighting for our liberty, so we cannot stop now. We cannot let our guards down, neither can we get complacent at this crucial time. Roosevelt will throw everything he has at us, every trick in the book to try and stay in the game, he will try it, we must be ready to counter them. Our mission is to expose him and his team for the corrupted bunch of renegades they are!

  6. eyes are opening
    August 15, 2019

    Many, particularly the youth, are coming to the realization the what Lennox has been saying all along about Roosevelt Skerrit and his “friends” has been the truth.

  7. RandyX
    August 15, 2019

    This is a nice plot by Skerrit. The money for each passport goes to MMCE and they than distribute the proceeds after having deducted their massive fees. Then they built a few sub-standard houses houses which Skerrit uses to gain an election advantage. Then a few dollars are paid to the treasury and of course a considerable share also goes into off shore accounts of Skerrit and his henchman in DA. This is a nice plot and explains why the crimeminister spends so much time in Dubai. It also explains the missing CBI money and Skerrits lifestyle.

  8. Albert Mahaut
    August 14, 2019

    It is obvious that u will not be swayed by logic or fact. Why is the government keeping this info from the people. Had Linton not have a questioning attitude would we have known about the additional funds?. Let’s put DA first not party affiliation

  9. x poto labourite
    August 14, 2019

    So Skerrit admits that Linton is correct and over a billion dollars is missing from CBI funds, however it’s in a special account and is being used to finance homes for Dominicans. The big question is are we spending over a billion dollars on homes for Dominicans? how much was spent in Bellevue, Portsmouth, Castle Bruce, Grand fond, La Plaine, and San Sauveur. Please be transparent.

  10. KID ON THE BLOCK
    August 14, 2019

    WE VOTING LABOR AGAIN!
    Whether THUNDER, LIGHTNING, SUN or RAIN!
    We voting LABOR again.
    Somebody tell Matt that for US please! His distraction cannot change us. We have our PM back. Forward WE go with Labor.
    He seem to forget the monies THEY gave him sometime aback for the disabled man when he was in the U S. Today he on Q asking, where the money.
    Matt, Lennox and Chrispin hide the money in the Sahara dessert. So check Lennox if you looking for a cool out!

    • Waste of time
      August 15, 2019

      No point in arguing with labourites. Their level of ignorance is too high.

  11. NKRUMAH KWAME
    August 14, 2019

    I am not a fan of LL, but he is right about the missing monies. After all the attacks on his persona especially from the traitor J I, the prime minister now agrees with LL? I am waiting to see the response of ALL DOMINICANS at home.
    Always told you all that the PM was “playing smart with (chupidness) :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    hotep!

  12. AP George
    August 14, 2019

    Does anyone know how much the Prime Minister of Dominica is paid in annual salary by the government? The last figure I can see was from 2005 at $58000 from Wikipedia. [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_salaries_of_heads_of_state_and_government ]
    Just wondering how he’s able to afford the lifestyle…

    • Joseph John
      August 14, 2019

      A more reliable source of information would be the Dominica Annual Estimates which was recently passed in the House of Assembly with resounding “the eyes have it”

    • jackarie
      August 15, 2019

      Afford what type of lifestyle?

    • Casio
      August 15, 2019

      AMEN!!! that man and his wife needs to be audited regularly!

  13. Man bites dogs
    August 14, 2019

    Linton even if the government shows you facts and figures you still would not know what you’re looking at stop pretending as if you know. You been conning your way through out, Now it beginning to catch up with you every one can see right though you what you really are a liar and money grabber any which way you can.

  14. foreign observer
    August 14, 2019

    Let me see if I understand this. Passports which state “property of the Commonwealth of Dominica” are handed over, by the case-full, to a third party for sale, under a previously unknown CBI “program”. The third party sells the passports but the revenues from these sales are not returned to the Treasury, but kept separately (and secretly as MMCE has clearly stated), and seemingly used to build housing. And even the third party, MMCE, admits that the cost of building said apartments is less than the revenue generated under this mysterious “program”. So where’s the rest of the money? And have the parties who bought into this “program” been Gazetted? And why is the PM/Finance Minister only NOW identifying this “program” while claiming it has been in existence since 2016? It is not even identified on the MMCE web site:
    https://www.mmce.ca/en/citizenship-programs/dominica-citizenship/dominica-investment-options/#RealEstate
    “What tangled webs we weave when we practice to…

    • %
      August 14, 2019

      You are correct!

    • Joseph John
      August 14, 2019

      As a foreign observer you certainly will not understand the gimmicks of the uwp. Simple put they are masters of duplicity and manipulation. They are like 5 graders caught making “too back”

    • Man bites dogs
      August 15, 2019

      @Foreign crap talking above Lennox Linton, is much more smarter than anyone of you his followers he is a conman bluffing his way through and he also knows spitting in his followers tea cups☕ they will swallow it easy as that no questions asked!!

  15. dirty tricks
    August 14, 2019

    Why wasn’t the Housing Option included on the CBI website? Is it because it would raise a red flag for International Anti- corruption and Anti- money laundering agencies?

  16. marcel dockers
    August 14, 2019

    Lenox raises some good questions. The ppl aught to know the cost of the project they will be indebted to pay. How long will the country be indebted to Haiden est 20 years, 30 years or Donkey years? If Haiden never receives the cost and profit of his investment will the home owners lose their investment. because its clear Haiden is in the business of profit making not charity work nor is he in the business of credit. Which is to say such a huge venture comes at an expense. Simply put if the passport business can be used for such a grand scale investment it begs the question why isn’t this source of capital not publicized.

  17. Lin clown
    August 14, 2019

    Linton simply told his uneducated,lazy,lying supporters,multiply 3,961 by 50,000 Linton got 1 billion dollars.Everyone of them got 1 billion dollars.Now they realized Linton is making them look like fools.One of Linton IDIOTS start talking about $ 200,000 and $ 1000,000.These fools are yet to say how they arrived at 1 billion dollars missing.Now they talking BS about HOUSING COMTROVERSY.UWP just do not learn

    • Interpreter Found
      August 16, 2019

      Math seems difficult for you, so lets go

      US $50,000 * 3,750 (I will use smaller more manageable numbers for you)

      US $187,500,000 * 2.67 (US to ECD)

      ECD $500,625,000 (now this was for 5 months)

      ECD $100,125,000 (for one month)

      ECD $1,201,500,000

      Next time, do the math yourself, so you don’t look like an …..

  18. Agirl
    August 14, 2019

    Unbelievable. I am at a loss for words…if people want to act like this doesn’t rub them the wrong way, even if you love the PM and DLP, then I officially give up on Dominicans.

    • Joseph John
      August 15, 2019

      Bye, good radiant . Do not let the door hit you on your way out. while you are at it take some of the minority 5th graders with you. Take the gang of four leaders first.

  19. August 14, 2019

    Hello and good afternoon my people. First I must say that I don’t vote in Dominica therefore I don’t take political sides. I have always said that the Prime Minister regardless of political party shouldn’t be the Finance Minister because that arrangement creates conflict of interest which leads to curruption. The Prime Minister should norminate someone who would have to be question by the elected officials to determine if that person is qualify to hold that position. They can’t call the Prime Minister to parliament to question him as the Finance Minister because he will mix up his position as Prime minister with that as finance
    “minister . At the end we won’t know how our government is spending or investing our treasury money.

  20. We must protest
    August 14, 2019

    Every other country is doing everything they can to stamp out corruption in their government. We cannot be the exception. We cannot embrace wrongdoing even if we ” love 💘 our peeyem”. We must peacefully protest Roosevelt Skerrit’s misuse of state funds! It must be done now.

  21. bam bam
    August 14, 2019

    Has anyone try to find out how long since that MMCE have been formed or if they really do exist?

    ADMIN: They have a website:https://www.mmce.org/en/

  22. Jonathan Y St Jean
    August 14, 2019

    Why all this cocomaquake with the revenue of the country? I smell a rat. Had LL not brought up the the shortfall in revenue then Skerritt and Melissa would just go about spending money like water running out of an open pipe. Montreal management is a convenient facilitator of the shenanigans. No wonder the double doctorate dude took the Housing ministry. Dominicans, not even his surrogates knew of this largesse. How much accounting and auditing does Clarence Christian know if he couldn’t figure this out? We demand that this money stop being put in Skerritt’s circus and be put back in the treasury where Parliament can give an overview of the people’s money and not only Skerritt and”No bid” Montreal management. This is skullduggery.

  23. Faceup
    August 14, 2019

    Skerro with technology today, there is never a perfect crime..🤔😎😎

  24. %
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit said each housing unit at Bellevue Chopin costs EC$350 000.00.. Was that figure out of his lazy head or is it a fact? I never believe anything that this man says! One thing is sure though, neither he nor his spinners are able to extricate him!

    • RandyX
      August 15, 2019

      It’s more like EC$35,000 because this is not quality building. But because everything is in MMCE hands including the distribution of money it will be impossible to prove much because we will never get access to their accounts. The only thing we can ever complain about is the fact that the treasury only gets a fraction of what we should get from each passport. MMCE will keep the rest and give Skerrit his share but say the money was used for houses that cost $350k each but in reality only cost $150k each. We would never get access to MMCE accounts, so this is an almost perfect scam. Everybody is a winner apart from the state of DA and subsequently its citizens. The same thing happened to the Venezuelan money but this time the middle man was PetroCaribe.

  25. Rat Race
    August 14, 2019

    Uncle!!! where de money???
    Call the elections we ready to vote you out

  26. Skerrit the magician
    August 14, 2019

    So Skerrit pulls out the “housing option” out of his hat 🎩 just like the magician pulls out the bunny rabbit 🐇
    Are we supposed to be impressed with this hocus pocus?!
    Skerrit, make our money 💸 reappear! Abracadabra!

  27. ArAb
    August 14, 2019

    Honestly that is an intelligent way of not accounting for moneys that may go missing. I am not saying that money is missing but if any is it will be very hard to find out. If allowed to scan through all resources I would take a week and do it for free to ensure that my country is not being taken for a ride.

  28. FBI Agent
    August 14, 2019

    It’s clear that the tenure of Roosevelt as PM is over. What is not clear is in which dark room will he call home since he has so many options? Some believe he will opt to go to stockfarm. While some say the US might have a better package for him with good old friends like NG Lap Seng waiting to welcome him home. But some of his friends are telling me that we should not rule out France, Canada, Spain, Britain and even Nigeria might have an offer for him to come visit Diezani Maxueke.

  29. REAL!!!!
    August 14, 2019

    No legit business that worth it salt would ever go into a non contractual , gentleman shake hand verbal agreement with a PM or GOVT and use its own money upfront to purchase 44 acres of land and build house for the GOVT, then receive it first check one year later.

    This makes absolute NO SENSE for the magnitude of the project.

    What if Skerrit was to pass on, then MMCE has no leg to stand and could loose all its money…in the range $100MM for construction and land.

    Our PM is telling more lies. Please tell us where is our 1.2Billion dollars

  30. iprotest
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit is so desperate to win another election
    Self earned millionaires don’t stoop so low
    A Zebra can’t erase its stripes eh
    By man works see and know dem
    Skerrit can’t seem to hide his treacherous intentions….he is a liar!!!!

    now look what happens to someone after he sells his soul!!!!

  31. Alibaba & His Forty Thieves
    August 14, 2019

    Beautiful article but with or without this article I had already concluded that Roosevelt Skerrit had made the cabinet a DEN OF THIEVES. More teefing than working

  32. dissident
    August 14, 2019

    see what greed does
    biggest failure of Skerrit administration is de absence of a government press.
    our press secretary extraordinaire Sean Douglas was unceremoniously discredited now spinners doing more damage than damage control.
    DLP BOAT HAS SUNK!!!!
    Every time Skerrit go to defend himself he end up revealing truths that exposes himself as a stranger to the truth and CORRUPT TO DE BONE!

    none of de spinners can put humpty dumpty back together again

    we poor people outside here will be dragged to jail for stealing a pair of batteries in a store….with high class people controlling de court let me see which member of the judiciary will stand up and drag Skerrit to de court in hand cuffs
    poor people outside here looking in
    see what people doing in our name…..no wonder we so poor while they all have fat necks!
    this too shall pass skerrit….we on de winning side
    Skerrit is a traitor to our Watukubuli!

    May de spirits of our New Mawon ancestors inspire us to save…

  33. Bring back the kidnapped Dominican parrots
    August 14, 2019

    There needs to be an investigation by INTERPOL in London and the United Nations to see what yours truly the self appointed “minister of finance” has done with the Dominican peoples money and the Treasury money and the monies from the C B I program and all those millions donated to the Dominican people by the world community after hurricane Maria, where is the money. Is it in some overseas personal bank account or is it in the Treasury like it is supposed to be? How is yours truly constructing a big beautiful mansion/house on just a government salary? Where is he getting the money? The Dominican voters should demand an accounting of their money from the “minister of finance”.

  34. LifeandDeath
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit, just come clean bro..y’all do Dominica too much already. SMH!!..
    Lies, Lies, Lies..WHY!!
    With that kind of money, every Dominican could have been much better off if this Gov’t had only done things fairly and above board. Instead of pretending to be helping a few for political support.
    These guys don’t care much about the country or advancement as a nation..

  35. We want our money?!
    August 14, 2019

    MMCE must Go!
    Skerrit must Go!
    DLP must Go!

  36. Where's the money?!
    August 14, 2019

    Hayiyiy. Mr. Anthony Haiden, CEO of MMCE. I know you have people reading DNO. You and Skerrit have some explaining to do. He is not going to get away with this and neither will you!

    • AP
      August 14, 2019

      This mace or whatever they call themselves could never get away with all this bobol and thieving in Canada, their butts would be in court, under investigation, loss of license, negligence for those poorly constructed homes and the list goes on and on of the rules and regulations they would have to answer for. But hey guess they know Dominicans don’t mind mediocre/will settle for crap from the foreigners especially when the fake grin in their faces so they have nothing to be really concerned about. Dominicans happy in their good times tan!!

  37. %
    August 14, 2019

    So why didn’t we know of this Housing Option? Why was it hidden from us?
    Was that the reason why you took up the position of Housing Minister?
    You need to answer the question where is the missing money? 1.291 billion is still unaccounted for?
    Where is the money?
    Dominicans need answers!!!!

  38. Gouvelma
    August 14, 2019

    Nothing long today. I hope on wining the elections Linton bring in the Trinidad commissioner and his serious crimes unit to investigate labor. His future victory lies on how much answers we get and how many of the rogues and vagabonds are brought to trial for their crimes Gainst the state.

  39. ??????????????????
    August 14, 2019

    So Linton now is an Accountant? Zor par Feb! He needs to show the public his own accounts of his party!

    • KaliNeg
      August 14, 2019

      :?: :?: :?: You really seems to be question marks! The Honourable Parliamentary Opposition Leader is not asking labar party about their money, he’s asking for an account of the State’s resources, put the in your question mark brain! :?: :?: :?:

    • jamie
      August 14, 2019

      This is why we need opposition,Skerrit is a thief,ask him where de money gone?

  40. jamie
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit Lennox is on too you,so here you go coming up with a new excuse,Lies,Lies,and Lennox caught you and your corrupt boys once again with you all pants down,all will catch up in due time.

  41. Blaze
    August 14, 2019

    Huge cause for concerns….

    “MMCE’s CEO Anthony Haiden tells Investment Migration Insider that he is contractually unable to disclose the particulars, but that he can confirm the distributions exceed MMCE’s cost of construction.”

    So if the distribution exceed the cost of construction – Where did the excess go….? where is the Money.

  42. Zandoli
    August 14, 2019

    I have always known that where there is confusion, there is corruption. How can the prime minister possibly be funneling money in a separate account outside of the treasury to spend as he pleases?
    All monies that come to the government MUST go through the treasury and THEN disbursed for various projects after. You cannot bypass the treasury. Should UWP form the next government, there ought to be a full investigation and if there are monies missing Skerrit and his band must be locked up.

  43. Watch Dog
    August 14, 2019

    The „minister of finance“ does not even no the MOST BASIC principles of book keeping? Not that we didn‘t know it, did we? What about the „prime minister“? Does he have a clue of what his minister of finance is doing? :-D :-D :-D Mister Finance minister and mister minister of prime should resign both. We need somebody at the head of Dominica who knows at least basic math, i.e. addition and multiplication.

  44. Original
    August 14, 2019

    Skerrit should learn the definition of revenue. How is it a finance minister for so many years does not know the meaning of revenue..smh..this is sad!

  45. Legion
    August 14, 2019

    So Skerrit boldfacedly admits his corrupt practices and the sheep people of Dominica gonna let him off Scott free.

    • Time's up
      August 14, 2019

      Skerrit will not get away with this!

  46. Ti Garcon
    August 14, 2019

    DNO props on a well written article. However you all can’t just be writing this quality once in a blue moon, it has to be weekly.
    And be investigative, the Financial secretary find now is the best time to go take leave? Go find her at her home and get answers!

    ADMIN: Thank you. We would if that were possible. With the resources and research required, often a week is too little time to do a thorough article.

  47. Mike
    August 14, 2019

    The ordinary Dominican have no idea or simply does not understand what going on, Dominicans feathers is being plucked and with a little cool out Dominicans are good. UWP will be a one term party if no one is held accountable, it painful to swallow the blatant corruption

  48. RandyX
    August 14, 2019

    You see, I knew all along as soon as one smoke screen had half way dispersed Skerrit would put up another one. Now he claims the housing program through Montreal cost all that money. If that was the case, why did the PM give away all this ‘expensive’ houses rather then renting them out. Furthermore, all those substandard houses by Montreal still would not have the same value as the missing houses. Skerrit has to go, he is a liar and a fraud!

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