Senior Counsel Tony Astaphan has responded to Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, who demanded an explanation for alleged defamation over a much talked about CBS interview on the economic citizenship program in Dominica and Antigua.
Linton had written to Astaphan claiming that he defamed his character and his duty as a Parliamentary constituency representative, adding that he expects a response from Astaphan “forthwith,” as it is his intention to seek legal advice on “this extremely despicable behavior which you have so boldly exhibited …”
But Astaphan is not backing down.
“The man is unpatriotic, is a traitor to the country, he has disqualified himself from public office and as far as I am concerned, he is a disgrace to the country,” he told Kairi FM news. “That is my view and that is my response to his letter.”
Astaphan pointed out that Linton has gone on the world stage accusing the government of selling diplomatic passports without evidence.
“Lennox Linton has gone on the world stage with Huffington Post and the recent one with CBS 60 Minutes and in fact has accused the government of selling diplomatic passports and when he was asked about the diplomatic passport by Huffington Post, he had no answer and no evidence to provide to Huffington Post as to the sale of the diplomatic passports,” he said.
Astaphan also accused Linton of lying, saying that he told CBS that one (Rudolf) King (an alleged Bahamian fugitive) was Dominica’s ambassador to Bahrain.
“He went on CBS and he spoke about a gentleman called King who having diplomatic passport and was appointed ambassador to Bahrain,” he stated. “That was false. King, from what I recall, never had a Dominican passport or a Dominican diplomatic passport and I was never aware of him being appointed ambassador to any specific country.”
Astaphan also spoke of the matter concerning Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Nigerian oil minister, who had a Dominican diplomatic passport and who was reportedly arrested in England on allegations of corruption.
Astaphan only described her as “the Nigerian lady.”
“He said the Nigerian lady was arrested and charged in the United Kingdom, that was also false,” he stated. “That is completely and absolutely false. She was detained by the British authorities and released.”
Transcripts from the CBS interview show that Linton never said Alison-Madueke was charged.
According to Astaphan, it is typical of Linton to never disclose facts.
“Linton never discloses the facts,” he stated.
He went on to say that the Prime Minister has addressed such matters.
“There is today, as I speak, an official statement on the prime minister’s office website or the government’s website on the Nigerian matter,” Astaphan said.
He also said that Linton gave the impression that Dominica’s economic citizenship program is the worst in the world.
He said Linton gave Steve Kroft, the CBS journalist, the impression that Dominica’s economic citizenship program is like a mail order system where passports can just be bought with a credit card.
“The man is a pathological liar,” he stated. “There are rules and regulations on the government’s website, there are registered agents that you must apply through ….There are four due diligence firms retained by the government: two in the United States, one in Canada and one in the United Kingdom and while I cannot disclose the names, every application is processed by some international authority, intelligence authority that advises government of potential threats.”
He said Linton is aware of all this and he “sits there smiling to this guy and to suggest that you can just mail in an order.”