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Linton calls for police investigation into alleged sale of Dominica’s diplomatic passports

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Linton speaking at a UWP meeting

Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, is demanding a police investigation into the alleged sale of Dominica’s diplomatic passports as reported in a documentary produced by an international TV news network.

The first part of the documentary, called Diplomats for Sale which names Dominica as one of the countries involved in that practice of selling immunity to foreigners, aired on Qatar-owned Al Jazeera, earlier this week.

Part of the documentary focused on former Dominican diplomat, Alireza Monfared, who was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison in Iran for defrauding the Iranian government.  He now owes US$1.3 billion to the state of Iran that Iran claims he stole from them.

Linton was also mentioned in that report in relation to allegations that his lawyer, David Bruney, spoke on his behalf to receive campaign funds in exchange for a diplomatic passport. However, Both Linton and Bruney have denied those allegations.

The Opposition Leader said that if his party wins, it will be the first government in the history of the Caribbean, “within the first 100 days of our administration,” to enact in parliament, an act to prevent the sale of diplomatic immunity.

“The police need to get involved, and I am calling on Commissioner of Police Daniel Carbon this evening, to launch an immediate investigation…,” he said while speaking to party supporters at a meeting at Trafalgar on Wednesday.

He stated that Monfared gave a number of gifts including gold bars, watches each worth over US$15,000, allegedly to DLP government ministers and officials.

“You heard about US$100,000 for spending money in China, but it is now being established that this money that Monfared was using is part of the $1.3 billion that he stole from Iran,” Linton remarked.

He added, “We call again on Mr. Carbon this evening, to ask some questions and to investigate what crimes were committed.”

Linton also called on the President of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin for a full-scale commission of enquiry.

Austrie addressing DLP meeting

 

However, the Dominica Labour is insisting that tables have turned on the United Workers Party (UWP) after the airing of the Al Jazeera documentary.

Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie has said at a zonal meeting in Warner that tables have turned on the United Workers Party (UWP) in what he described as “their failed attempt of writing false information about the Dominica Labour Party (DLP)over the years to discredit the country in the eyes of the international community.”

Austrie said the UWP were the ones who started working with Al Jazeera and have colluded with a bunch of international criminals which has brought both his party and country in disrepute adding that it has been ten years since the UWP has been falsely attacking Dominica’s prime minister and accusing him of all sorts of immoral and criminal activities.

“Lennox Linton went to the United States and told the American government that Roosevelt Skerrit is guilty of selling passports to criminals hoping that the United States would issue an embargo on this country [that] would bring our economy to its knees,” he claimed.

The Deputy Prime Minister maintained that the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Program is maybe Dominica’s only source of income as other sectors such as agriculture is not sufficient enough to sustain the county’s economy.

He said it is because of the funds gained from the CBI Program that the government has been able to continue to develop the country and create a new economy through new hotels and other businesses.

The Al Jazeera programme featured Manoj Bhullar, who ran the Malaysian-based company of Dominican diplomat Ali Reza Monfared, My Dominica Trade House. He confirmed that Monfared received a diplomatic passport from Dominica, something that the prime minister himself had previously revealed.

Bhullar also said that Monfared provided expensive gifts, including watches, jewellery and gold bars to government ministers and officials whom he had invited to Malaysia.

Prime Minister Skerrit, like his deputy, has blamed Linton for instigating the Al Jazeera documentary. However, he has not commented publicly on the statements made by Manoj Bhullar in the programme.





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COVID-19 Global Update (29 March 2020): Spain’s daily death toll rises again; Italy expects peak in a week

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(Corononavirus liveup) Spain has joined Italy and France in demanding Europe do more to help as it reported another record single-day increase in coronavirus deaths and moved to further tighten its already strict national lockdown.

Spanish authorities said on Sunday 838 people had died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s death toll to 6,528, with 78,797 confirmed cases. All non-essential workers are to be ordered to stay at home for two weeks from Monday.

Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s centre for health emergencies, said the situation was stabilising but “the main problem is making sure intensive care units aren’t overloaded”. ICUs in six of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions were at full capacity.

Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, taking its total to 10,779. The rate slowed for a second day, while new confirmed cases rose by 5.6% to 3,815. This was the lowest increase of the epidemic so far, offering some hope it may be nearing its peak there.

Spain and Italy account for more than half of the world’s death toll from Covid-19 and are each still seeing hundreds of deaths a day. According to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, the virus has now infected more than 680,000 people and killed more than 32,000 around the world.

Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sànchez, described the crisis as “the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation” and said the 27-member bloc had to be “ready to rise to the challenge … It’s Europe’s time to act. Europe is at risk.”

Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, late on Saturday also urged Europe to show it was capable of responding. “I will fight to the last drop of sweat, the last gram of energy, to obtain a strong, vigorous, cohesive European response,” Conte said.

The country’s deputy health minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, told the BBC he expected the country to hit its infection peak in a week or 10 days “at most”, while France’s Europe minister, Amélie de Montchalin, said bloc’s “credibility and usefulness” rested on its collective response to the health crisis.

Spain, Italy and France have six others have asked the EU to issue “coronabonds” – a collective debt instrument – to help finance countries’ response to the pandemic, but the Netherlands, Austria and Germany have so far rejected the idea.

Several European countries have turned to China, where the epidemic originated but is now easing, for much-needed medical supplies such as protective masks and testing kits.

But after Spain on Friday withdrew 58,000 Chinese-made coronavirus testing kits after discovering they had an accuracy rate of just 30%, the Netherlands – which has recorded 771 deaths, with more than 10,000 confirmed cases – on Sunday recalled 600,000 Chinese face masks when they, too, were found to be defective.

France, which has reported 37,575 confirmed cases and a death toll of 2,314, excluding fatalities in its 7,000 retirement homes, evacuated 36 more patients from the hard-hit east to western areas on Sunday, hoping to free up intensive care units.

Two high-speed trains carried patients from Mulhouse and Nancy toward hospitals along France’s western coast, where the outbreak has been limited so far. “We have to free up beds, it’s absolutely crucial that we air out these intensive care units,” said Francois Brun, the head of emergency services at the regional hospital in nearby Metz.

A German military plane was also used to carry patients from Alsace to hospitals in Stuttgart and Ulm. Nearly 4,300 patients are in intensive care in France, which is racing to treble its ICU bed capacity from about 5,000 before the outbreak began.

In other developments:

  • Patrick Devedjian, a former French cabinet minister and prominent local politician, died in hospital after being tested positive. He was 75.
  • Thomas Schaefer, the finance minister of Germany’s Hesse state, took his own life apparently after becoming “deeply worried” about how to cope with the economic fallout from the epidemic.
  • The main opposition candidate in Polish presidential elections called for the vote to be boycotted if the government insists on going ahead with it on 10 May.
  • Pope Francis called for a ceasefire in all conflicts around the globe to focus on the “fight of our lives” against Covid-19.
  • Egypt shut its beaches as cases in the Middle East surpassed 50,000.
  • Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, announced further restrictions including limiting public gatherings to just two people.
  • All travellers entering South Korea will face two weeks of mandatory quarantine starting at midnight next Wednesday.
  • Tokyo confirmed 68 new coronavirus cases, another record daily increase.
  • China continued to relax restrictions, with flights from Hubei province and tube and bus services in Wuhan city, the centre of the outbreak, resuming this weekend.

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Sunday that the “new way of life” in Iran was likely to be prolonged, as the country’s death toll rose to 2,640 and its number of officially confirmed cases to 38,309. “We must prepare to live with this virus until a treatment or vaccine is discovered,” he said.

In the US, which has reported nearly 125,000 cases and where the death toll has more than doubled in three days, Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious diseases expert, said it could expect more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections.

Donald Trump backtracked on a threat to quarantine New York and neighbouring states, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning against all non-essential travel in the region.

“Due to extensive community transmission of Covid-19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately,” the warning said.

View the latest COVID-19 numbers.





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COVID-19: NCCU revises business hours and provision of services

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The NCCU Ltd., in keeping with one of our co-operative principles, “concern for the community” and in light of the current situation with COVID 19, is revising its business hours.

Our concern remains the well-being of our staff and members and it is against this background, that effective March 28, 2020, the following is being implemented:

(a) Members requiring services which are not available through the CU Online Services and at the ATMs are required to schedule an appointment.

(b) To schedule an appointment or make an enquiry, please contact us by calling the respective NCCU LTD offices and Branches as follows:

i. Head Office: 255-2172

ii. Roseau: 255-2195

iii. La Salette: 255-2227, 255-2230

iv. St. Paul: 255-2213, 255-2215, 255-2218

v. Vieille Case: 255-2241

vi. St. David’s: 255-2256

vii. Castle Bruce: 255-2264, 255-2263

We also encourage our members to utilize our digital services – CU Online Services and the use of their International Debit Card. Members who currently do not possess an ATM card NCCU Ltd will be happy to assist you in obtaining one by calling 255-2126 to schedule an appointment.

NCCU is committed to assisting members through this difficult time by providing a safer way to minimize the spread of the coronavirus.

Members and the general public are asked to take note and be guided accordingly.





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BREAKING NEWS: Dominica imposes curfew as it tightens measures to fight coronavirus

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As the Dominica government increases measures to combat the dreaded COVID-19, Minister for Health, Wellness and  New Health Investments, Dr. Irving McIntyre has announced that curfew will go into effect from 10:00 o’clock this evening (Saturday 28th March 2020).

MacIntyre made the announcement in a live media statement a short while ago.

He said that the curfew will be in effect from Saturday 28th March, 2020 to Tuesday 31st March, 2020.

More details to come.





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