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Joshua Francis
Joshua Francis

There is a growing sense and evidence that lies, darkness and trickery in public life have taken a strong- hold in our society and for a long time kept most of us from seeing the "dark money' in circulation. Nonetheless, over the past years, we have heard and seen plentiful corruption particularly in our general elections. We have had showers of dishonesty surrounded by secrecy and deception in the governance of the Commonwealth of Dominica; for those of us who care, such perception has been based on objective truth. Sadly, but truthfully, many Dominicans have overlooked such dishonesty or permit a culture in which honesty and truth are not placed at the top of the values pyramid, we say, that too is coming to pass.

As an example, some of us have allowed mouth pieces of the Dominica led government to spin and execute lies, half-truth, selective truth, and self-truth, which have put many of our less enlightened citizens into an intellectual and political trance. We have had many of these deceivers on the mountain tops attempting to murder truth, but truth has not been murdered, and placed in the tomb, it is alive, though not celebrated in its kingly character, but it is on the rise in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

In respect with the above, in recent weeks, we have had mountains of deception crumbling in the Commonwealth of Dominica. We are learning that the Dominica Labour Party and some of our government operators' unexplained wealth may have been financed by international criminal suspects-this is no lie! or untruth, but a-fact- that a number of wealthy persons associated with the Prime Minster of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit have either been arrested or detained for questioning in connection with money laundering, fraud and embezzlement of billions of dollars.

We have had a number of such characters inclusive, Diezani Allison Madueke, Francesco Corallo and NG Lap Seng-all of whom were at one time holders of diplomatic passports issued by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica, But the most damaging of the international criminal suspects is Alireza Zibahalat Monfared, and Iranian fugitive who is accused of involvement in Iran's biggest-ever corruption. The said Monfared sought and received protection in Dominica while being pursued by his native land, Iran, on suspicion of committing a major oil and money scandal. The one Alireza Zibahalat Monfared resided in walking distance from his friend and associate Roosevelt Skerrit at Morne Daniel in the Commonwealth of Dominica while he was evading the Iran Government.

A million-question descends into our thoughts, but for the purpose of brevity, I respectfully ask, would it be that these named international criminal suspects did in fact provided millions of dollars to the Dominica Labour Party and its leadership? We have had direct evidence that the Dominica Labour Party has been involved in day light importation of voters, delivery of bribes, and hosted many internationally acclaimed concerts to feed the ordinary and barefoot Dominicans in its quest to simply buy general elections. In other words, the Dominica Labour Party leadership has used its financial prowess to maintain the status quo. But what is most alarming in the situation is that the government of the commonwealth of Dominica has dirty hands, for it has used state agencies and institutions to machinate the web of under-table revenues for the sole use and benefit of the Dominica Labour Party, and certain individuals and operators.

And the allegation that the government of Dominica is involved in the sale of diplomatic passport has not been successfully refuted except for our Prime Minister's public denial and the lame explanations given by weak mouth pieces of the Commonwealth of Dominica, simply, there is no evidence on public record to negative the bold assertion that the government of Dominica has sold diplomatic passports. The onus is on the government of Dominica, as the servant of the people to come clean, provide us with the documents showing that due diligence were conducted on the named international suspects and that it was an innocent error on the part of leadership.

We reject the notion that our government has been innocent in all of these international diplomatic schemes and muddle. In the most recent national address on February 24, 2017 by our Prime Minster of the Commonwealth of Dominica, we heard some implied remorse for the indiscretion and corruption by the government of Dominica, but this is not enough to stop the demand for a change of government on the Nature Isle. Further, I firmly hold that we must raise the call for accountability and transparency in our governance and elections in the Commonwealth of Dominica and the Caribbean by extension.

The Dominica Labour Party has had unexplained millions of dollars for its campaign, such that in our last general election, it is alleged that they used over XCD$30, 000,000.00 (thirty million dollars) in election campaign. It is for reasons like that, we propose campaign finance regulation as a necessity in such a system where there is no law to force political parties to make public disclosures of their donors. One does not have to do rocket science to know that with such monies mean sweetheart deals and under-table favours or paybacks to the donors. For even in the absence of campaign finance regulations, the present legal framework to challenge an ordinary citizen to account for his/her unexplained wealth should equally be applied against our political parties if we are to stop the dying integrity and fairness in our election process and to safeguard our democracy.

The campaign finance abuse, dysfunctions and distortion in our governance must be abated. The "truth" is that if we are to limit corruption from the head-down, we must legislate laws to force disclosures and accountability in governance and campaign finance to name a few. Election finance may be considered to be the main driver of "black money," and undeclared cash income into our country. But we also need to overhaul our Citizenship by Investment program to squeeze out any money laundering and irregularities which may be used to drive "dark money" into our country.

It is time for us to take hold of ourselves, for the attempt to murder truth can only hurt us, let us stand for truth, let us keep fighting for accountability and transparency in government.

Hon. Joshua Francis Roseau South MP