Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton, has written to Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit demanding that he resigns within 30 days in light of a still unfolding bribery scandal at the United Nations (UN).
The letter, dated October 30, Linton demanded that the Parliamentary Advisory Group on National Reconstruction, formed after the passage of Tropical Storm Erika, meet by November 6, and among other things, an agreement that Skerrit step aside aside for 30 days while the FBI completes its probe in the UN matter.
The Prime Minister’s legal team is not taking the matter lightly with Senior Counsel, Anthony Astaphan, describing the letter as disrespectful and malicious.
“That is the reason why Mr. Lennox Lawrence, on instructions of the Prime Minister, wrote him indicating that his letter was defamatory and out of place and that the Prime Minister intends to sue him,” Astaphans told privately-owned Kairi FM.
The matter began recently when Chinese billionaire, Ng Lap Seng, was arrested in New York and a federal prosecutor charged him with playing a central role in a $1.3 million bribery scheme to corrupt a former president of the United Nations General Assembly. Former Antiguan diplomat, John Ashe, and Francis Lorenzo, a diplomat from the Dominican Republic, were also ensnared in the matter.
Members of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) have been asking questions since the Prime Minister was seen in a photograph, taken before the arrests, with the men in Macau.
In his letter to Skerrit, Linton said, after TS Erika, Dominica “has been plunged by your dangerous affiliation with an alleged ‘Macau Crime Lord’ now charged for international racketeering, money laundering and other crimes …”
He wrote since the last time the Parliamentary Advisory Group met on September 21, 2015, “continuing revelation from a probe into corrupt practices at the United Nations by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the US has severely tarnished the integrity on Dominica’s leadership and its capacity for good governance.”
“As members of Parliament elected to serve the public interest ‘without fear or favor of ill-will,’ we are duty bound to demand prompt resolution of this unfortunate state of affairs,” Linton wrote.
Further down in the letter Linton wrote, “In the civilized world, leaders in similar situations, take the honourable course of action and resign to clear themselves as fit and proper for leadership responsibility. Dominica deserves and therefore should demand no less.”
But Astaphan said the letter was the most disrespectful and malicious accusation one could make against a sitting Prime Minister, especially as Linton tries to tie them to investigation and charges that have been filed against those accused by the FBI.
He said the FBI’s investigation has been going on for five years and an affividavit made public by the FBI did not mention Dominica nor the Prime Minister.
“The affidavit has been circulated publicly, 37 pages longs, 53 paragraphs of detailed analysis of emails and evidence and not the slightest mention of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit or Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica,” Astaphan noted.
He stated the matter has to do with politics.
“We think it is absurd and outrageous that a man could put pen to paper like that to try to bring the country into disrepute simply as part of his own political gain …” he said.
He went on to say that is the reason why Linton was written to, indicating the defamatory nature of the letter and the Prime Minister intends to sue him.
Linton also asked Skerrit to disclose all information of any agreement signed in Macau on August 26, 2015.