By Rupert Sorhaindo
The “regime change” plot in Dominica believed to have been inspired by the secretary-general of the Organization of American States (OAS) has thickened with the filing of an application for an injunction filed by operatives of the United Workers Party (UWP), seeking to have the December 6, general elections postponed.
The plot, which seems to have been conceived after one of the smallest member states of the hemispheric organization, Dominica, stood in stout defense of the sovereignty of Venezuela after the naked attempt of the OAS secretary-general, Luis Almagro and other right-wing elements of that organization at having the legitimate president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro replaced by opposition legislator Juan Guaido.
Dominica and several other CARICOM member states, notably St Vincent and the Grenadines and Antigua and Barbuda have continued to be critical of the autocratic manner in which Almagro has been driving the agenda of conservative forces in the hemisphere, purportedly in “defense of democracy” in our region.
In the middle of the Venezuelan crisis that erupted earlier this year, when the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and then-National Security Adviser John Bolton sought to bully Caribbean countries into supporting the US efforts at doing what crippling sanctions were not able to do – the forceful overthrow of Maduro from office, the secretary-general of the OAS seemed happy to announce in a tweet that he had entertained former Dominican ambassador to the United Nations, Crispin Gregoire in his office in Washington, when concerns about “free and fair elections in Dominica” were discussed. That breach of protocol provoked stern responses from the government of Dominica and other CARICOM leaders.
The “regime change” plot continued to gestate and reached a critical stage when the government of Dominica invited a Joint Mission that included the OAS, which seems to have been the dominant entity, to assist in moving the electoral reform process in Dominica forward. That process had been stalled by opposition forces that had staged numerous demonstrations and protests, some of which had been punctuated with violence.
Fears of a “regime change” maneuver arose when the recommendations presented in the Mission’s Report were analyzed to have been such that if accepted, would have exacerbated the already tense and sensitive situation existing in the country, without resolving the fundamental reform issues of cleansing of the register of electors and the issue of ID cards to eligible voters. The concern of bias raised its head when there was no mention made in the report, of the efforts of the government towards effecting the necessary reforms by the drafting of relevant legislation, or of the roadblocks placed in the way by opposition forces.
It seemed obvious then that the stage was being set for the delegitimization of the Skerrit led government that had no choice but to reject the untenable recommendations. Violent protests which ensued led to the predictable reaction from the OAS secretary-general and the US ambassador to the OAS, suggesting that there would be no free and fair elections without the reform measures recommended by the Joint Mission.
Matters came to a head when the prime minister made the decision not to invite the OAS to observe the December 6, poll, with the OAS secretary-general and US ambassador to that organization suggesting that without the OAS participation, the elections were not likely to be free and fair. And when the Dominican minister for foreign affairs documented in minute detail the chronology of events relating to the government’s efforts at effecting reforms and the opposition’s stonewalling; and confronted the secretary-general frontally of his bias, at a special meeting of the OAS, Almagro and his US colleague continue in their arrogance presenting the OAS as the guardian of democracy in our hemisphere.
Meanwhile, the forces on the right began to churn out stories stirring up fears of Chinese threats to the security of the United States of America.
Convicted and self – confessed money launderer Kenneth Rijock in his discredited blog wrote about tanks being shipped from China to Dominica to prop up a dictator in Dominica. Greg Copley, an acquaintance of Gabriel Christian an attorney-at-law resident in the US, joined the regime change chorus writing: “The PRC Embassy outside the main capital Roseau is …. disproportionately large, clearly a base for regional operations…” He continued: “The result of the PRC’s engagement has been, over the [past 15 years that the DLP ] has been in office; and has become the hub of a large network of illegal activities which have funded the suppression of anything like democracy on the island”.
Copley describes the opposition UWP/Team Dominica as a conservative movement. That commentary which was published in a blog www.dominicapatriot.com on November 20, around the time that opposition elements were “battling” with the police in an attempt to get to the president’s residence.
It is very apparent that the stage was being set for the delegitimization of the Roosevelt Skerrit “regime” on the basis of anticipated “electoral fraud”, as has been offered by the OAS secretary-general and his allies, in Venezuela and Bolivia among other countries in the region, as an excuse for regime change.
Meanwhile, another ingredient was been concocted to add to the volatile mixture; corruption. And here comes the Al Jazeera documentary which the opposition anticipated with much glee and fanfare. The trap was set with the reemergence of decade-old stories of sale of diplomatic passports by the Skerrit led government, and which have been the subject of many King Dice’s catchy calypsos; corruption.
But lo and behold, as fate would have it, the scheme “backfired” when in the dying moments of the documentary the leader of the opposition was snared in the trap meant for prime minister Skerrit. In a stunning revelation, Linton’s signature appeared on a MOU promising a diplomatic posting to someone, in exchange for campaign funds – within 28 days of his being sworn in as prime minister. The saying that “the Lord works in mysterious ways” is being echoed from one end of Dominica to the other.
The final stage of gestation of the regime change plot is apparently now at hand. An application for an injunction has been filed by opposition operatives, seeking the December 6, election date postponed.
Efforts to have the matter delayed in the courts by an application to have the judge assigned to the case recuse herself have not been successful – although at least one day has been wasted in bringing the matter to a resolution. Is this the scenario that the OAS secretary-general and his conservative allies had been scripting all along; to have one of their “friends” installed as leader of our Nature Isle, two years after hurricane Maria?
A disturbing thought indeed.