The Commonwealth of Dominica, formerly a democracy located in the East Caribbean, has deteriorated into a strongman dictatorship, where the regime's periodic reelection is guaranteed through the rampant payment of voter bribery, and bringing in expat voters via jet airliner, is fact becoming a high-risk jurisdiction, where any foreign investment, or even the physical presence of foreign managers and staff, is dangerous.
We have previously expounded, at length, upon the sale of hundreds of Dominica diplomatic passports to dodgy foreign nationals (violating United Nations treaty law), and the persecution of Opposition leaders, be they official party members, or simply citizens unhappy with the mismanagement of their nation by obviously corrupt officers, at the highest level. The country's Foreign Minister refuses to disclose the names of the foreign diplomatic passport holders, alleging that they cannot perform their "diplomatic duties" if publicly named. This excuse is not only legally insufficient, it insults the intelligence of all Dominicans. The foreign diplomatic passports holders are not performing any diplomatic duties whatsoever.
The latest news is, frankly, the last straw. Dominica signed a number of agreements with the Peoples' Republic of China, and one in particular is extremely disturbing. It is a three million dollar military aid grant; What's wrong with this picture ?
The Chinese Embassy in Dominica
Dominica has had no standing army since the 1980s; it does have a rather large paramilitary unit, technically the special response team attached to the Dominica Police, known as the Special Service Unit, or SSU. This armed unit, when it turns out, upon the orders of senior government officials, wears battledress camouflage, carries military weaponry, and is not your typical law enforcement SWAT Team. Its training schedule is military in nature, and not limited to crowd control or emergency response. Incidentally, it provides security for the Chinese Embassy, which is extremely large, given that there is virtually no trade or tourism between the two countries.
The SSU already has state-of-the-art equipment and supplies, furnished by the Government of the Peoples' Republic. So why do they need a $3m military grant ? For surveillance equipment, armored vehicles, or aircraft ? We cannot say, but given the fact that the SSU has repeatedly turned out soldiers when any Opposition leaders wish to be heard in public, it may be for increased intimidation power, or if Constitutional rights are limited or terminated.
For all of the above reasons, it is suggested that compliance officers at North American and EU financial institutions that handle Dominican transactions raise Country Risk on Dominica to High.
Chronicles of Monte Friesner - Financial Crime Analyst
Contributed by Kenneth Rijock - Financial Crime Consultant