Minister responsible for National Security Charles Savarin is under heavy criticism after making some controversial statements on a radio talk show recently.
On a radio program hosted by Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphans with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit joining in via the telephone, Savarin called on Dominicans to “boycott” Jerry Brisbane’s business, Brizees Mart.
The minister’s comments came in response to Brisbane’s publication of two letters he (Brisbane) sent to donor countries and organisations raising concern over what he said was government’s decision to take a $27 million loan to build an “unnecessary” new luxury State House during times of financial crisis. Another of these letters spoke against “poor tendering practices” by the government on important infrastructural projects.
Brisbane’s letters were first published in response to a previous statement from the prime minister who had accused some Dominicans of writing to donor countries asking them to stop providing funds for developmental projects around the country.
Brisbane had sought to clear his name by posting the two letters. The businessman stated that none of the letters stated that donor countries should withdraw monetary assistance from Dominica.
However, Savarin told Dominicans over the airwaves not to use their hard-earned salaries to support Brisbane’s business.
“When the EU gives budgetary assistance it pays civil servants. So no civil servant can take the European Union money that is paid to government as budgetary assistance and go and bring it for Jerry Brisbane at Brizees Mart. They cannot do that. Nobody working on a Chinese-funded project can take their wages and their salaries and go and bring it for Jerry Brisbane at Brizees Mart… whether it is at Petro Caribe…west coast on the Soufriere road [or] anywhere else…” he stated.
“And I believe that the people of Dominica must understand and do not respond. Here he is standing against those who are seeking to help us to develop this country. The people individually and collectively have to respond by boycotting OD Brisbane and Sons. That is my firm recommendation…” Savarin said.
He added: “I am firmly of the view that, I mean personally, nobody from my house will go to Brizees Mart and do any purchases even if the goods required are to be found only in Brizees Mart. That is a firm position where my household is concerned and that is my recommendation to the rest of Dominica.”
Members of the public have been demanding an apology and or calling for his resignation.