Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dominican Patriots: We need a better Dominica now

By Gabriel Christian

Gabriel Christian
Gabrriel Christian Esq is a distinguished US attorney and national of Dominica.

To Matt Peltier: Thanks for allowing Dr. Sam Christian on your program on March 31, 2009. Thanks for standing up for freedom and democracy in our occupied country; one which is ruled by puppets of the money changers, fly by nights, those who come bearing gifts but who harbor designs on our land, water and other natural resources; those who give comfort to crooks.

Thanks for standing up for law and order in our increasingly lawless country, where the Government is so saddled with scandal it cannot even ensure the law courts do right by bringing justice to brazen murderers.

Where Integrity in Public Office legislation is written to cover up misdeeds in office - not uncover them. Where, but for Lennox Linton and intrepid reporters like yourself, our people would be blinded to the misconduct of our leaders, or the law suit in Tortola. Thanks for strengthening the tradition of a free press in Dominica, and may it be ever so.

We are Natural Resource Nationalists:

We have heard it said we are sour because we insist that our geothermal resources should be owned by and for Dominicans - not foreign concerns who disregard our national interest. We have never asked for contract for ourselves.

At all times we requested a national option; one where the Government and people of the Commonwealth of Dominica were primary in control of said resources and where our nation and people would reap the primary benefit.

We are natural resource nationalists and proud of it. We, of A Better Dominica, believe that the resources of Dominica should be owned by the people of Dominica for the benefit of the people of Dominica.

When we look at the actions of this Government re aggregate, geothermal and business ownership control it is clear that they do not believe as we do, and are patriotic only with words.

Their conduct benefit themselves and the few who can pay them. In eight years where is the new Dominican business ownership class or captains of industry? All we see is a blatant pattern of hand-outs to make our people beggars and minions; fit only to do the bidding of those who seek to perpetuate themselves in political power. We cannot build a country based on the ideology of beggarism.

We believe in Dominica first, and natural resource nationalism. We welcome guests, and assistance, but all must be premised on mutual respect and mutual interest: we do not believe in secret or one sided deals. We believe in good and transparent governance and our people controlling the commanding heights of our economy. Our every effort to put business ownership into the hands of local people have been met with lies, treachery and obstacles.

You speak of independence and spent millions on independence celebration, while – by stealth – the country is falling into foreign hands. Who are you fooling, Sir? To this bankrupt regime we say: By your actions you shall be known.

As with Washway, Dr. Shillingford, Severin McKenzie, Dr. Sam and others at home and abroad, we shall place our record of civic duty alongside all others to show we have meant well for our people not our selfish interest.

We are prepared to put our record of service to our country alongside anyone else; and challenge them to find that "sour grapes" is part of our legacy. The list of achievements and contribution by the Dominica Diaspora in Europe, N. America and within the region is long and covers many decades. As example see list of achievements small and large of the Dominica Academy of Arts & Sciences

When they attack me, personally as one government agent did on March 31, 2009, I respond not with idle words but a legacy of deeds which favored the freedom and prosperity of our people:

1. in 1975-1976 - Organized work crew for the Didier Lane Community Center. Today, it is still standing.

2. Deputy Headboy at DGS who organized classrooms for Rosie Douglas to found the Dominica Cuba Friendship Society in 1976. Our legacy is still standing.

3. President of the Dominica Federation of Students and Headboy at Sixth Form College who led the students to Grandbay to vote in Pierre Charles as NYC President in 1977. That legacy is still standing.

4. In 1978, alongside Pierre Charles, led the student portion of the delegates to the 11th World Festival of Youth and Students to Havana and so opened the way for relations which allowed for hundreds of Dominicans to study in Cuba up to this day. We were detained and searched by Patrick John's Government on our return, even though we had sent his wife Desiree to Cuba for medical assistance. That legacy is still standing

5. In 1982 founded Frontline Cooperative Bookstore with Eddie "Izzar" Toulon and others and became the Cooperative's first President. Having difficulties, but Frontline Bookstore is still standing.

6. From 1982-1999 - Served in various positions with the Dominica Association of Washington DC, to include being its President, during the years of the Freedom Party's and UWP rule--yet worked unceasingly with other Dominicans of different political views to include Prime Minister Eugenia Charles to send thousands of dollars in food aid, books, medical supplies and promote tourism for Dominica - to include a $50,000 grant for AIDS from the Bill Gates Foundation education during the UWP in collaboration with Minister Doreen Paul.

7. In 1992 co- founded Pont Casse Press with Judge Irving Andre and authored and co-authored five books on Dominica's history and literature - and facilitated the publication of 1/2 dozen more books by other Dominican authors.

8. Co-founded the Dominica Academy of Arts and Sciences with brother Raglan Riviere now under the leadership of Dr. Clayton Shillingford and other brilliant patriots who love Dominica and render much financial and material assistance to our homeland.

9. I mention our efforts to revive of the Dominica Cadet Corps . It continues to grow and serve our youth

10. Co-founded the Dominica Sustainable Energy Corporation with Bevin Etienne, Dexter Newton, Dr. Fontaine, Gilbert Prevost, Jerome Austrie, Ginel Prevost, Mahala Shillingford, Washway Douglas, and others and brought down the first modern wind turbine during 2002 for Operation Energy Emancipation.

We also did the first modern wind study for a wind farm and the government did not work with us to make that a reality.

I have to mention these facts because some seek to dismiss our own sons and daughters of the soil in favor of crooked foreign representatives and mislead those who do not know the truth.

Dominicans: We Are Not Alone: The Diaspora is Rising

The Diaspora is rising to the defense of the homeland. We shall do our duty for A Better Dominica. Let none say, we deserted the country at this hour of need. All Dominicans, we ask you to rally to A Better Dominica. Spread the word, sound the call! We shall not be moved. We shall not turn back in this cause!

We are not alone. Many in the Diaspora have similar records of achievement and have assisted our country. We have not betrayed our country by going away to study. We have labored tirelessly to promote the homeland’s best interest.

We mean well, have presented by example a better international image for our country in culture, the professions and will uphold the dignity of the homeland and raise high its banner in victory.

The Dominica we desire is not one where we are dogs, serfs, slaves, peons or spectators in our own land; dispossessed such as the Tibetans and others have been. We are a small people but we have pride in what is ours and we shall fight to preserve it!

Where is the China MOU Mr. Prime Minister? Make it public! What is the CMC Plan for Portsmouth Mr. Prime Minister? Make it public! Where is the geothermal contract Mr. Prime Minister? Make it public! Where is the Diaspora Policy Document, Mr. Prime Minister?

You have refused to even acknowledge it! Utter disrespect to your own brothers and sisters, yet you have time to respond to e-mails from those who have you and our country enmeshed in scandal and law suits. Why Sir? This behavior was not necessary. You know we tried our best to work with you, and your Cabinet, at all times until you abandoned good sense and patriotic commitment.

Let us never betray good sense or the homeland. These times demand proud, boys, girls, men and women who will hold all our leaders in and out of power accountable - especially those we elect. They are our servants not our masters. And this rude, arrogant, dishonest, dismissive and secretive manner of rule must come to an end.

We Worked with All Governments where the National Interest is Concerned

So now we are attacked and maligned for standing for truth and supporting the national interest of our denied people. Despite the position of Ms. Charles on Cuba and those who were left wing, we worked with her government on matters of national development.

Despite the fact we were not supporters of the UWP, we worked with Prime Minister James and Ron Green on matters of national development. We never turned our back on Dominica. Today, because we seek truth and A Better Dominica, some agents of the regime attack us.

However, our record of working with Dominicans of all political stripes and colors to promote local control of our natural resources, respect for our national culture, dignity and identity is beyond reproach. We are conscious that we desire nothing more than a just and better destiny for our country; our consciences are clear. Can our present leaders say the same?

Together with our grassroots people, all our lives have been one of the pursuit for A BETTER DOMINICA which began when we were teenagers. We are not self serving political grasshoppers, clowns, traitors to our country's best hopes or political acrobats.

Dominicans deserve better than that; for while we may be poor in means it is only so because we have failed to do better. As an intelligent and God fearing people, patriotic and wise, we can and must do better because we deserve better - those of us who are born of the brave Kalinago and African warriors - commingled with the blood of brave social democrats of European hue such as Phyllis Shand Alfrey.

Inspired by the leadership of Jaco, Balla, Congoree, Rawle, Loblack, LeBlanc, Rosie, Pierro - and yes Ms. Charles too - because she had dignity too! Yes, we shall rise and take our rightful place as defenders and builders of our homeland.

We mean what we say and we do what we mean. We have never believed in lying to the masses or bribing them with trinkets such as some of our ancestors did who sold us into slavery. All our lives we have struggled for a free, just and prosperous country and we shall do so till our dying breathe.

Dominican Patriots, arise! E-mail to a friend

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Venezuela cited for drugs Dominica implicated

Ramon Rodriguez Chacin (left) accused of assisting narcotics trafficking from Columbia.

The U.S. State Department has accused senior Venezuelan officials, including a close aide to President Hugo Chavez, of assisting narcotics trafficking from Colombia in an annual report that describes Venezuela as a "major drug-transit country."

President Hugo Chavez adamantly denied the allegation telling the National Assembly that President Obama should "go clean up that dirt."

"The biggest support for narco-trafficking comes from the nation of the north," Mr. Chavez told lawmakers also accusing Mr. Obama of continuing the hostile policies of the Bush administration.

According to the State Department’ s 2009 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, "Venezuela remains a major drug-transit country with high-levels of corruption and a weak judicial system. Growing illicit drug transshipments through Venezuela are enabled by Venezuela’s lack of international counter narcotics cooperation."

The report however does not accuse Mr. Chavez of direct involvement in the drug trade, but it names three senior Venezuelan officials as "Tier II Kingpins" for material assisting the narcotics trafficking activities of FARC," the main Marxist rebel movement in neighboring Colombia. The officials include Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, a top aide to Mr. Chavez, who has served as justice and interior minister.

According to the report, "Narcotics trafficking in Venezuela has increased fivefold since 2002, from 50 [metric tons] to 250 [metric tons] in 2007." The report claims that Venezuela now serves as the main outlet into the U.S. and Europe for cocaine and heroin produced in Colombia.

It details the arrest of Venezuelan traffickers in Dominica, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, St. Lucia, and several West African countries, including Ghana and Guinea. According to the report these countries now serve as a bridge for drugs entering Europe.

The issue of Venezuelan drug traffickers in Dominica came into sharp focus in 2008 when a Venezuelan vessel was seized by the Dominican coastguard. Police in Dominica arrested eight Venezuelan men in waters just outside of Grand Bay. The boat was shadowed for several hours by the Dominica coast guard before it was boarded and the arrest effected. Over a million dollars in cash was found onboard. The men were charged with trying to enter the country illegally and for failing to declare the cash in their possession. They appeared in a local court in Roseau represented by Dominica’s ambassador to Venezuela Lennox Lawrence, and were subsequently fined and released.

Other officials named in the scathing five-page section about Venezuela include Hugo Armando Carvajal Barrios and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, who head key anti-narcotics and intelligence units.

"Counter narcotics successes in Colombia have forced traffickers to shift routes through neighboring Venezuela," says the State Department, which accuses key units of Venezuela's security services, including the Special Anti-Narcotics Units of the National Guard and the Federal Investigative Police, of being complicit in the drug trade.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has said that the report is "plagued with lies," claiming that drug seizures and arrests have increased in Venezuela during the past year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sampling in Dominica confirms geothermal reservoir

The West Indies Power (Dominica) Ltd (WIPD) has indicated that initial studies to determine the geothermal origin of gases emanating from the Sulfur Springs in Soufriere have all been positive.

The tests were conducted in December of 2008, in which a survey was done to determine if the gases and waters were of geothermal origin or just rainwater that had been heated by the underlying hot rocks. The samples were later analyzed at the University of Rochester in the United States and at the California State University, San Bernadino, USA.

The survey which was conducted by geologists, Joe LaFleur, Mike Krahmer, and Makeda Warner, along with West Indies Power (Dominica) Ltd’s field Managers Paul Toulon and Alan Toussaint focused on gases and waters from the geothermal features in the Soufriere area.

Kerry McDonald, CEO of West Indies Power (Dominica), stated: “The results of this sampling scientifically proves that there is a geothermal reservoir underlying the Soufriere area. West Indies Power (Dominica) Ltd. next step is to locate and drill sites so that it can determine the size and quality of the geothermal reservoir here in Soufriere”.

In July 2008, the government of Dominica granted a license to the Russian owned WIPD to conduct geothermal exploration and development work in the Southern part of Dominica. At the time, Gregory de Gannes, Chairman of West Indies Power Holdings BV, the parent company of WIPD observed that “the geothermal resources of Dominica will now be developed by a Caribbean company which is committed to generating reliable, low cost electricity, from a renewable resource to the people of Dominica and in a timely manner."

The company says that the surveys will be followed by geophysical work all of which will allow WIPD to pin point the sites where it should drill to confirm and evaluate the geothermal resources in the Soufriere region.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dominica cruise accident victims recovering

Victims of the accident that took place in Dominica almost one week ago continue to recover from their injuries.

Of the sixteen tourists, fourteen were airlifted a day after the accident by two chartered aircraft to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. Two left the same day of the accident with the cruise ship. The driver of the truck, Gerard James remained in Dominica and has since been released from hospital.

Spokesperson for the Miami hospital Lorraine Nelson says that five of the 14 passengers that were brought to the facility have now been discharged. Two remain in critical condition. Of the others, one is in serious condition, four are good, and two are fair.

Police charge three in death of Dominican youth

Police in Antigua have arrested and charged three Antiguan youths in the murder of Dominican Steve Mingo.

The three; Antonio Smith and Trevor Boston, both 20 and a 15-year-old made their first appearance before a local magistrate in Antigua on Friday. They stood silently as the charges of murder and conspiracy to murder were read by the magistrate. They were advised that they do not have to enter a plea to the indictable charges at this stage, and the proceedings were adjourned.

Police say that the men shot Mingo in his bed after he had earlier reported them to police for breaking into his home and stealing his personal belongings. After he was shot several times, Mingo managed to get up and run outside of his house, where he died in the middle of the road.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Injured visitors to Dominica airlifted to Miami

Eleven of the sixteen most seriously injured tourists involved in a road accident on Monday February 24, were airlifted to hospital in Miami on Tuesday after treatment at the main hospital in Roseau, the Princess Margaret Hospital. The visitors arrived on a visiting cruise liner, the Celebrity Summit.

The visitors were taking part in a Caribbean Cooking Adventure shore excursion, in which they joined local cooking experts to learn how to prepare traditional local Creole dishes.

Following their cooking classes, the visitors then embarked on a scenic tour of the island, taking them to the Emerald pool, the Trafalgar falls and other destinations. They were approaching the end of the tour when the driver of the truck they were driving in suddenly lost control and the truck careened into a wall dislodging most of the passengers in the process. They sustained injuries including broken bones, bumps, bruises and lacerations.

Ambulances and private vehicles worked their way through thousands of revelers to get the victims to the Island’s main hospital about twenty minutes from the scene of the accident.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dominican youth murdered in Antigua

A Dominican youth, Steve Mingo was murdered in Antigua over the weekend. According to police reports out of that country, Mingo was shot four times before collapsing and dying on the road.

The home of the 25-year-old had earlier been burglarized and jewelry and clothing items stolen. Mingo is believed to have seen another youth wearing his clothing and reported it to the police.

The same day of the report, he was confronted by two youths and shot at point blank range. Police later picked up the two men for questioning. The men, brothers, one aged 22-years-old and the other in his teens, remain in police custody assisting with the investigations into the incident.

Family members describe Mingo as very friendly and quiet and a young man who generally kept to himself. Mingo is just one of thousands of Dominicans who have migrated to Antigua in search of better job opportunities.
This is the fifth murder in Antigua for 2009.