Contending that the Roosevelt Skerrit-led administration has not so far properly accounted for CBI funds and the country’s Venezuela debt situation, UWP leader Lennox Linton is insisting that the parliamentary opposition wants full accountability for Citizenship By Investment Funds acquired by Dominica, and what it describes as a US$10- million debt forgiven by Nicolas Maduro’s Venezuela.
“Present complete and truthful post-Maria accounts,” Linton said in a media statement aimed at the Prime Minister.
The amount of funds that were in the CBI account at the National Bank of Dominica when Hurricane Maria struck, how much money has been collected from the programme since September 18th 2017, and how much money from the CBI programme spent since September 18th last year and what specifically the funds were used for, are among the questions Opposition Linton wants to be answered.
The government is also being told that it needs to explain why it has “refused to use funds from the CBI programme to compensate private sector companies which suffered loss of inventory and damage to their properties because of the government’s failure to deal with the breakdown of law and order that erupted after Hurricane Maria.”
On the question of “debt forgiveness from Venezuela”, Linton argues that the people of Dominica have a right to know the following:
“What is the government’s explanation for accepting forgiveness of a debt which the Prime Minister told Parliament – the highest decision-making body in the country – did not exist?
1) Having accepted forgiveness of a debt that government has not been accounting for, on November 21st, 2017, which organization has been holding the money that the debt represents and when will this money be passed to the Government of Dominica?
2) How will the money (that no longer has to be repaid to Venezuela) be used in the climate resilient reconstruction of Dominica?”
According to Linton, it is estimated that between September 18th, 2017 and December 31st, 2017, from the sale of passports and the debt forgiven by Venezuela, the government had at its disposal over one billion EC dollars for relief, recovery and reconstruction responsibilities.
Last November Venezuela said it was writing off Dominica’s outstanding US$100-million PetroCaribe debt in a gesture of solidarity between the two countries in the wake of Hurricane Maria. However, the government had said there was no indebtedness from the PetroCaribe deal.