Hotelier Sam Raphael has sought to explain the reason why he decided to go public on alleged diplomatic passport sales by the United Workers Party (UWP).
Raphael, who was a guest on state-owned DBS Radio’s ‘Talking Point’ program on Tuesday, stated that he had a problem when the UWP went on international media with matters concerning Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Program (CBI).
“After this thing broke on 60 Minutes, I did send through a backdoor channel, a clear message that if they continue along that course that I will have some difficulty with that,” Raphael stated, referring to an appearance on that US television show by Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton.
The hotelier noted that if the issue was discussed locally, he would not have a problem with it.
“People can say whatever they want here, but when you take it beyond the boundaries and you take it to the international media and you deliberately damage the reputation, in some ways, permanently of the country and actually based on my knowledge of your background, you were engaged in the same thing that you are accusing the other side of. That’s where I had the difficulty,” he stated.
He added, “I can’t be here … and everything is at risk because of your behavior and I know full well what went down, and I allowed you to continue to go down that path.”
Raphael went on to say that he does not want to sit and wait for the CBI Program to collapse, “because of these things before I speak out.”
“So that is what motivated me,” he stated. “Not a payoff, not vengeance, not anger at anyone else but seeing this going down and seeing the unique position from which I’ve participated and continue now to participate in the CBI Program and promoting jobs and development in Dominica, that this entire approach to development of one side trying to build while the other trying to tear down… I think it is a wrong thing to do for any side, it doesn’t matter what political party.”
Raphael made it clear that if the shoe was reversed, he would have done the same thing.
“It is about Dominica and Dominica’s development and anyone that is in my mind fighting against Dominica’s development, I am going to have a problem with that,” he remarked.
Raphael dropped a bombshell recently saying the UWP is guilty of the very thing it has been accusing the Dominica Labour Party (DLP)-led government of doing, that is, selling diplomatic passports. (The government has denied it is in the business of selling diplomatic passports).
He was subsequently challenged by Linton to produce evidence of his claim.
On Tuesday, July 11, Raphael released a statement which he said contained the evidence that Linton had asked for. He said there were no MOUs of the alleged diplomatic passport sales to six individuals in Switzerland, which he described as an “under the table transaction” however, there were wire transfers and checks which “comprised prominent financial records that cannot be refuted.”
However, the matter has not been laid to rest with former UWP Political Leader, Earl Williams saying Raphael has not established a nexus between any funds which he received on behalf of the party and the sale of diplomatic passports. (The party has already stated that Raphael did in fact receive money on its behalf.)
Linton has said that Raphael is lying through his teeth.