Global media has yet to cover it, but my review of raw video material, received from Dominica yesterday, showed that armed police (not a normal event in the East Caribbean) used tear gas, and fired their rifles upon, unarmed Dominicans who oppose the flawed diplomatic passport program, currently being managed by the country's Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit. Yesterday, as a massive protest, in the country capital, Roseau, drew a large police response, the Opposition called for the entire government to step down. Riot Police carried M-16 rifles, and fired expired tear gas rounds at demonstrators; these expired gas cannisters have been known to cause additional injuries.
The government's response to the calls for Skerrit's resignation have been to arrest one leading Opposition figure, bring charges against a second, and use attorneys* serving as unofficial, but partisan, spokesmen for the Prime Minister, to attempt to spin the Opposition's efforts to abolish, or at least effectively reform, the hated Diplomatic passport program, and the lucrative Citizenship by Investment (CBI) program, as unpatriotic.
The diplomatic passport program has resulted in clearly unsuitable applicants receiving the prized diplomatic travel documents, which allow artful criminals to evade international customs searches, and can facilitate both transnational crime, and international sanctions evasion. International banks are concerned that bad actors, armed with diplomatic passports, may be using them for money laundering or terrorist financing purposes, especially due to the fact that some have been issued to Iranian nationals.
The issuance of Dominican passports, in 1979, brought down the government in power at that time, and there are fears that the continued, and unnecessary, heavy armed law enforcement presence, will result in injury, or worse, to Dominicans who oppose the allegedly corrupt CBI program.
* These attorneys alleged that this blogger is writing on behalf of the Opposition, but there is absolutely no factual basis for that claim. I have no such affiliation, and am only reporting the news.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock