Dominica: Dr Thomson Fontaine, a former International Monetary Fund (IMF) Economist and presently an international economic advisor to the government of South Sudan in Northeast Africa, was arrested when he arrived at the Douglas-Charles Airport in the Commonwealth of Dominica on the afternoon of Saturday, April 23, 2022.
His arrest is a result of a Bench Warrant that was placed against him by now-retired magistrate Asquith Riviere for failing to attend a court hearing for charges of incitement after a public meeting of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) on February 7, 2017.
At the time of the event, Dr Fontaine was the host of a radio program on the local radio station Q95 and was giving live commentary on the day’s events. However, he was later charged by the police even when the entire population knew that he was nowhere close to the event’s location.
The consequence of a Bench Warrant for someone out of state is immediate arrest at the port of entry upon the offender’s return. Therefore, Dr Fontaine was quite aware that he would be arrested at the airport the minute he dared to return to Dominica.
He was not aware of the brutality of the Government of Dominica, which would deny him the right to have a magistrate hear his case for his release.
On Saturday evening, when Dr Fontaine was placed in the cell in the Police Headquarters in Roseau, a team of lawyers convinced Magistrate Gloria Augustus to hear the case so that Dr Fontaine could be released.
Magistrate Augustus arrived at the police headquarters with the judicial authority to preside over the matter. Then, the most blatant political interference occurred; the trio of repression ordered the police prosecutor, the Prime Minister, the Minister of Security and the Commissioner of Police, not to prosecute the matter, and for want of prosecution Dr Fontaine was denied the possibility of release before Monday, April 25, 2022.
He is forced to spend 48 hours in an unsanitary cell at the police headquarters.
Why was Dr Fontaine targeted? He is the most formidable and creditable threat to the Roosevelt Skerrit regime; after being robbed of the Grand Fond constituency parliamentary seat through manipulation in the 2014 general elections, Dr Fontaine was appointed a Senator in the parliament and became a thorn to the economic policies of the regime.
After he secured his present position with the government of South Sudan, he has continued to be the voice of reason and education for the Dominican masses on his weekly radio program, and he has consistently challenged the government of Dominica.
Whereas the police are within their right to arrest Dr Fontaine as a result of the bench warrant issued by former magistrate Asquith Riviere, the interference of the politicians to deny Magistrate Gloria Augustus the right to perform her duties must be condemned and seen as further deterioration of the rights of Dominicans to justice.
Dr Thomson Fontaine will be freed, and the Commonwealth of Dominica will be liberated from the forces of evil and repression.