In a big expose, Florida based newspaper Associates Times revealed how Dominica opposition, the United Workers Party (UWP) is using its workers to attempt to extort and intimidate developers in the country.
The US-based media house broke the news with an audio recording of UWP worker Trevor Tossy Johnson and WhatsApp chats that cemented the claims.
Associates Times reported that the UWP, with the help of their volunteer, Tossy Johnson lobbied journalists in the Guardian and Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) – both internationally renowned organisations.
In the audio and WhatsApp chats retrieved by the Associates Times, Trevor “Tossy” Johnson of the United Workers Party Dominica has admitted to buying journalists and flaunting his influence on international media platforms. Below is the audio of Trevor Tossy Johnson.
He admitted to influencing the OCCRP and Guardian journalist on behalf of UWP to spread their party’s propaganda against the developer Anthony Haiden, CEO of MMCE, and the citizenship by investment programme (CBI) in particular.
It was reported that in the viral chats and audio obtained by them, Trevor “Tossy” Johnson can be heard confirming that he was intimidating and trying to extort this developer over the past five years. The developer is building major infrastructural projects in the country such as climate-resilient houses, healthcare centres, hospitals, and the new international airport.
Johnson admitted to spreading false news to tarnish the image of citizenship by investment programme of Dominica, which is considered the bread and butter of the national economy.
Notably, the CBI Programme is the major revenue resource for Dominica and some other OECS countries. The allegations on the programme can lead to severe consequences to the country’s socio-economic growth.
After this significant reveal, Writeups 24 spoke with an international developer to understand the consequences of such actions and to discuss the significance of the CBI programme. They also explored how these allegations and this act of defamation might impact the country. On condition of anonymity, the developer agreed to speak to our journalist:
Question 1: What are the key sectors in Dominica that have benefited from the investments generated through the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme?
Answer: Dominica’s CBI programme is crucial for the island’s development. It has had a positive impact on the infrastructure, tourism, agriculture sectors as well as the cultural projects, and the improvement in climate resilient housing, health centres, hospitals, and schools.
Question 2: How has Dominica addressed concerns about the CBI industry and the due diligence processes?
Answer: Dominica has responded to concerns by implementing rigorous due diligence processes. Before 2015, the due diligence was commissioned by the applicant ‘s agents, not by the government. The programme underwent restructuring to keep with international best practice. They started collaborating directly with top global due diligence providers to ensure thorough online and on-the-ground background checks were implemented. There is a very low tolerance for anyone but legitimate honest people getting the citizenship.
Question 3: Can you elaborate on any recent changes made to enhance the due diligence processes in Dominica’s CBI programme?
Answer: Many changes have been introduced including Dominica being the first to implement a thorough interviewing process, which provides a double layer of checking. Also the processing has become so strict with a number of dependants that were previously allowed to apply are not able to apply anymore. I heard there were more internal changes too.
Question 4: There was rumour that Dominica revoked some citizenship earlier this year – is this true?
Dominica wrote to several economic citizens in February cancelling their passports and revoking citizenship because of information that revealed that the applicants lied on their application forms. I
Question 5: How does Dominica monitor the successful CBI applicants?
Answer: Dominica recognizes the importance of ongoing monitoring of successful CBI applicants. Regular audits are conducted on both applicants and their dependents. If anything changes that could lead to disrepute, the government will revoke the citizenship and seize passports.
The revelations by Associates Times about the manipulative tactics of the United Workers Party (UWP) in Dominica and their worker, Trevor “Tossy” Johnson, are both shocking and concerning.
Such attempts to malign foreign developers and tarnish the reputation of critical national economic programs, such as the Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programme, can have far-reaching implications.
Not only do these acts of deceit undermine the credibility and reputation of the island nation, but they also jeopardize the critical financial resources that are channelled into vital sectors like infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
As detailed by the international developer, the CBI programme has been instrumental in driving Dominica’s development, with its rigorous due diligence processes ensuring the credibility of its beneficiaries.
It is paramount that such programmes, which are critical to Dominica’s socio-economic fabric, are protected from unfounded allegations and malicious propaganda.
The country’s swift and transparent handling of any allegations, coupled with continuous improvements to its CBI processes, will be pivotal in ensuring the long-term success and integrity of the programme and the nation’s broader economic aspirations.