Devastating consequences foreseen from UK visa restrictions
By Gabriel J. Christian
UK visa restrictions
Visa restrictions imposed by the United Kingdom on the Commonwealth of Dominica on July 19th, 2023, are set to have profound and far-reaching consequences. This essay aims to explore and highlight the devastating effects of these restrictions on Dominica and its people.
Despite the protestations of Roosevelt Skerrit that his government engaged in robust vetting of passport sales applicants, the UK government disagreed. In a blistering condemnation of the Skerrit regime, the UK government accused it of a "clear and evident abuse of the CBI program."
Hence, the UK government ended a long-standing arrangement that allowed holders of Dominican passports to enter the UK without obtaining a visa. The prior arrangement allowed Dominicans to enter the UK as visitors for business or pleasure and to study. Now, Dominicans will be subjected to rigorous vetting and qualification processes to obtain a UK visa.
Indeed, democracy activists have been warning for at least a decade or more of the rogues, scalawags see, scoundrels, mafia elements, money launderers and assorted criminals arrested while in the position of "Dominican diplomats." Skerrit has failed to come clean with an independent commission of inquiry into that catastrophic series of diplomatic appointments and embarrassment and why (and how such a sordid group of undesirables) [in heaven's name such crooks] came to hold such exalted positions as diplomats of Dominica.
See 2011 warning of visa sanctions here - The Looming Threat of Visa Restrictions - The Need to Rebrand Dominica | Caribbean News, Sports & Entertainment (caribdirect.com)
The enormous damage to Dominica's reputation cannot be denied. Truly, the action of the United Kingdom government was fully expected, and others may follow in imposing sanctions on our nation. This was unnecessary as Skerrit was warned about his misconduct in office for many years and took no heed to cease and desist from his behaviour. The only consolation we have as a nation is that none of those arrested were Dominicans. The entire lineup of arrested diplomats is foreign associates of Skerrit who got diplomatic passports under his watch and not without his specific approval.
Who are these people? Here is a small sampling of a few of those arrested (pseudo-Dominican) diplomats.
● Ng Lap Seng - A Chinese mobster and money launderer. Arrested by the FBI, convicted and jailed.
● Francesco Corallo was appointed as Ambassador of Dominica to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization- An Italian mobster, tax evader, and money launderer. Arrested by Italian police.
● Allison Madueke, the disgraced Nigerian Minister of Oil, defrauded her nation of an estimated 9 billion dollars. A money launderer. Arrested by Scotland Yard.
● Theobald Beosingh- A Belgian neo-Nazi appointed as Ambassador to Ireland. Ireland rejected his appointment.
● The Iranian spy, UN sanctions buster and money launderer Alireza Monfared. Arrested by Interpol. Jailed and awaiting possible execution by Iran for larceny and other criminal acts.
What are the consequences of such irresponsible behaviour by the Skerrit government?
The UK's imposition of visa restrictions severely limits Dominicans' ability to travel, study, work, or establish business connections in the UK. This restriction will hamper economic growth and opportunities, as individuals can no longer easily access the UK market to seek employment or establish business ventures. Dominica's industries, such as tourism and services, will suffer as potential investors, tourists, and students are deterred by the added complications of obtaining a visa.
Education and skills drain
The UK has always been a prime destination for Dominican students seeking higher education. Visa restrictions will limit their ability to pursue educational opportunities in the UK, resulting in skills drain and hindering the development of a highly educated workforce. Consequently, Dominica's ability to compete in an increasingly globalized and knowledge-based economy will be compromised, negatively impacting long-term growth and development.
Visa restrictions from the UK strain the diplomatic relations between the two nations. This may lead to a deterioration of diplomatic ties, reduced cooperation, and strained bilateral negotiations. The perception of a strained relationship can also negatively impact Dominica's standing among other international partners, potentially affecting international aid, trade, and investment opportunities. I must also mention that the outlaw behaviour of the Skerrit regime has strained relations with its Caricom neighbours – especially those whose governments also sell passports. For those nations that do not sell passports, such as Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana, my discussions with their diplomats reveal that they are highly offended that Dominica has been selling passports with a Caricom seal on its cover. The idea of CARICOM was to enhance the bonds of countries with a similar cultural background and commonality in democratic traditions, institutions, and aspirations. The sale of passports not only threatens the security architecture of the non-passport-selling Caricom member states. Such a reckless policy offers freedom of movement and benefits to persons not part of the CARICOM family nor owe any allegiance to the other member states they now have free entry into.
Social and cultural isolation
Visa restrictions create a sense of isolation for Dominicans who have family and cultural ties to the UK. The inability to visit loved ones, attend important events, or connect with the diaspora community in the UK carries significant emotional and psychological impacts. Furthermore, it limits cultural exchange, collaboration, and mutual understanding between the two nations, hindering the development of solid people-to-people connections.
Global reputation and perception
The imposition of visa restrictions by the UK casts a shadow over Dominica's reputation globally. It may be misconstrued as a reflection of the country's security concerns or immigration issues, leading to negative perceptions among other nations and potential investors. The stigma associated with visa restrictions can hinder foreign direct investment, tourism, and collaborations, impacting Dominica's overall economic prospects.
Collective negative impact
The imposition of visa restrictions by the United Kingdom on the Commonwealth of Dominica on July 19th, 2023, presents devastating consequences for the island nation. The economic setbacks, education and skills drain, strained diplomatic relations, social and cultural isolation, and negative global reputation are profound impacts that will hinder Dominica's growth and development. It is essential for the UK and Dominica governments to engage in dialogue and find solutions that balance security concerns with the necessity of fostering global connections, mutual prosperity, and shared opportunities.
It is clear that Roosevelt Skerrit lacks the capacity to deal with any responsible foreign democratic government. Despite his closeness to Baroness Patricia Scotland, secretary general of the Commonwealth of Nations, and former Attorney General of England, he was unable to shield Dominica from United Kingdom sanctions. Given Skerrit's lack of credible leadership, he should choose the moral and honourable course and resign now. With his resignation, a transitional government should be installed to oversee new elections to allow for the restoration of the rule of law and democracy in Dominica.
A law-abiding and democratic government may be able to restore better relations with the United Kingdom and other democracies. Skerrit has had almost twenty years at the helm and has been found wanting. He has overseen a pattern of bankrupt diplomacy, diminished rule of law and abysmal performance in agriculture and industry in Dominica. The imposition of sanctions by the United Kingdom was the last straw. Please do our country a favour and go now!