Riot police fire teargas as protestors demand resignation of PM

ROSEAU, Dominica, Feb 7, CMC – Police fired tear gas on Tuesday night to disperse supporters of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) after they set fires across the capital and looted several business places.

The protestors had earlier marched to the Financial Center, where the office of the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is located, demanding his resignation as well as his entire Cabinet.

The police had earlier given the UWP until 3.00 pm (local time) to end the protest march, but UWP leader Lennox Linton had made it clear that they would not be keeping to the police deadline.

digicel shop
Digicel store looted during protest

Linton had during his address to the supporters accused the police of invoking “unlawful authority in their attempt to demand that our meeting should start at a certain time and it should end at a certain time. They have no such legal authority.

“And if we are going to be a rule of law country then the police must learn to live by the rule of law and the rule of law in this country says we do not need permission to have a public meeting,” Linton said, noting that former prime minister Edison James had read the relevant sections of the Constitution.

 “This meeting will finish when it is finished,” he told the cheering crowd, adding “this is the Commonwealth of Dominica, it is not the Commonwealth of Roosevelt Skerrit, it is not the Commonwealth of (Police Commissioner) Daniel Carbon”.

“The police are standing around in battle fatigues, they have their guns ready to do what. You want to shoot people for standing up. You want to shoot people for exercising their right…it is not going to happen,” Linton said.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Colin McIntyre, who was among a number of government ministers calling into the state-owned DBS radio to condemn the action of the UWP supporters, said he wanted to commend the police for ensuring law and order in Dominica.

McIntyre dismissed calls for the government to resign reminding radio listeners that the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) controls 15 of the 21 seats in the Parliament.

“I condemn this action. Lennox Linton and his party must be held responsible for that,’ McIntrye said, adding “’there was always a plan to allow this thing to go into the night,” a reference to the fact that the police had said that the opposition rally should have ended at 3,00 pm (local time).

Education Minister Petter St Jean said that the UWP was aware “it cannot enter the government by the ballot and was trying to use the bullet.

“Even in the worst of the bad situation, God is in control and please do not fight back, we cannot fight fire with fire,” he said.

“The Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Dominica stands firm with the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit,” St. Jean said, adding that the intention was to have a situation similar to 1979 when the then Patrick John government was forced to step down due to unrest in the country. Several people had also been killed during that situation.

“These bandits are trying to cause a lawless state,” said the Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment, Justina Charles.

Charles told radio listeners that if the actions of the protestors were designed to bring down the government” then they have failed, they will not succeed.

“We will ensure there will be peace in the country,” she said, adding “we have to condemn the action against the state of Dominica”.

Last month, Skerrit and the Dominica government denied that the head of government was under investigations in the United States following the arrest of an Iranian national, who had in the past been the holder of a Dominican diplomatic passport.

Social media reports had claimed that an un-named US agency was investigating Skerrit in relation to Iranian Ali Reza Ziba Halat Monfared, who was detained in Iran’s biggest fraud case..

Prime Minister Skerrit has already instructed his lawyers to pursue legal action against Linton over remarks made in regards to the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

Under the CBI, Dominica like several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries offer foreign investors citizenship in exchange for a significant investment in the socio-economic development of the country.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

ROSEAU, Dominica, Feb 7, CMC – Police fired tear gas on Tuesday night to disperse supporters of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) after they set fires across the capital and looted several business places.

The protestors had earlier marched to the Financial Center, where the office of the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is located, demanding his resignation as well as his entire Cabinet.

The police had earlier given the UWP until 3.00 pm (local time) to end the protest march, but UWP leader Lennox Linton had made it clear that they would not be keeping to the police deadline.

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digicel shop
Digicel store looted during protest

Linton had during his address to the supporters accused the police of invoking “unlawful authority in their attempt to demand that our meeting should start at a certain time and it should end at a certain time. They have no such legal authority.

“And if we are going to be a rule of law country then the police must learn to live by the rule of law and the rule of law in this country says we do not need permission to have a public meeting,” Linton said, noting that former prime minister Edison James had read the relevant sections of the Constitution.

 “This meeting will finish when it is finished,” he told the cheering crowd, adding “this is the Commonwealth of Dominica, it is not the Commonwealth of Roosevelt Skerrit, it is not the Commonwealth of (Police Commissioner) Daniel Carbon”.

“The police are standing around in battle fatigues, they have their guns ready to do what. You want to shoot people for standing up. You want to shoot people for exercising their right…it is not going to happen,” Linton said.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Colin McIntyre, who was among a number of government ministers calling into the state-owned DBS radio to condemn the action of the UWP supporters, said he wanted to commend the police for ensuring law and order in Dominica.

McIntyre dismissed calls for the government to resign reminding radio listeners that the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) controls 15 of the 21 seats in the Parliament.

“I condemn this action. Lennox Linton and his party must be held responsible for that,’ McIntrye said, adding “’there was always a plan to allow this thing to go into the night,” a reference to the fact that the police had said that the opposition rally should have ended at 3,00 pm (local time).

Education Minister Petter St Jean said that the UWP was aware “it cannot enter the government by the ballot and was trying to use the bullet.

“Even in the worst of the bad situation, God is in control and please do not fight back, we cannot fight fire with fire,” he said.

“The Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Dominica stands firm with the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit,” St. Jean said, adding that the intention was to have a situation similar to 1979 when the then Patrick John government was forced to step down due to unrest in the country. Several people had also been killed during that situation.

“These bandits are trying to cause a lawless state,” said the Minister for Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment, Justina Charles.

Charles told radio listeners that if the actions of the protestors were designed to bring down the government” then they have failed, they will not succeed.

“We will ensure there will be peace in the country,” she said, adding “we have to condemn the action against the state of Dominica”.

Last month, Skerrit and the Dominica government denied that the head of government was under investigations in the United States following the arrest of an Iranian national, who had in the past been the holder of a Dominican diplomatic passport.

Social media reports had claimed that an un-named US agency was investigating Skerrit in relation to Iranian Ali Reza Ziba Halat Monfared, who was detained in Iran’s biggest fraud case..

Prime Minister Skerrit has already instructed his lawyers to pursue legal action against Linton over remarks made in regards to the controversial Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).

Under the CBI, Dominica like several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries offer foreign investors citizenship in exchange for a significant investment in the socio-economic development of the country.