The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has come under fire from Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, on the Economic Citizenship Program as he wrapped up debate on the National Budget on Monday night.
During his presentation, some members of the opposition walked out of parliament.
The Prime Minister wasted no time in targeting the opposition of its position on the Economic Citizenship Program, saying it is seeking to destroy Dominica.
“You guys are seeking to destroy the country by giving the impression to the world that our Economic Citizenship Program, Madam Speaker, is badly managed when you know that is not the case, Madam Speaker,” he said
To thunderous applause from the government side, he noted the international community has rated the island’s program as the best-managed in the world.
“They have told you so,” Skerrit said. “Some of you went to the US embassy and at the US embassy they told you that they have every confidence in the Dominica program but yet still you go out there and you write articles seeking to destroy Dominica because you recognize it is an important tool for revenue generation, it is an important tool for job creation, it is an important tool to build hotels and investments and you want to take that away from Dominica.”
He stated that the reality is that Dominica must continue pushing the program.
He also took a snipe at the opposition who has criticized the government for slow rate of project implementation, especially under the Economic Citizenship Program.
“And when they talked about, Madam Speaker, implementation, during the Worker’s time the average implementation rate was about 12, 13 percent,” he remarked. “You see 75 and 80 percent implementation rate here in the government, 90 percent.”
The Prime Minister blamed “external things” for not having a 100 percent implementation rate in his government.
“The European money is late in coming, you have everything in place, the money is late in coming, disbursement from the World Bank might be slow, disbursement by the CDB (Caribbean Development Bank) might be slow,” Skerrit said.
The Prime Minister has taken on the role of the defender-in-chief of his government’s Economic Citizenship Program.
Last month he said that if the program was removed, Dominicans would bear the burden of higher taxes.
Earlier this month he described it as an important economic tool for economic activity in Dominica, describing criticism of it as ‘malicious’ and ‘unfounded.’