Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Mysteries of the E.O. Leblanc Highway

Twelve years have gone by yet the infamous memorandum of understanding (MOU) remains a mystery. The contents of the MOU that are partially known become even more riveting as time unravels the mysteries therein. The continuing discussion about the secret arrangement between Roosevelt Skerrit and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is not about conspiracy, as the government apologists would like us to think; it is about the distrust in Roosevelt Skerrit and his government, their propensity to do what is good for their own personal interest. Nevertheless in a democracy, the people have a right to demand transparency and accountability from those who are elected to govern and because we at MiTC will not be subdued by a dictatorship regime, we shall continue to dig through the rubbles of deception to expose the criminality of the Roosevelt Skerrit government, the lies, the secrecy and the clandestine operations.
We have in our possession, a copy of the draft agreement between a Chinese contractor Henan Provincial Communications, Planning, Survey and Design Institute (HPCPSD) and the Roosevelt Skerrit government. In this agreement there is evidence that the government of Dominica utilized a long term, interest free loan for the rehabilitation of the West Coast Road. Remember that Roosevelt Skerrit told us that the rehabilitation of the West Coast Road was strictly a grant from the Chinese.
The government of Dominica entered into a design service contract with the Chinese company Henan Provincial Communications, Planning, Survey and Design Institute (HPCPSD). Under Article 8 of the contract agreement, it was stipulated that 8% of the total construction contract, shall be paid to HPCPSD for the surveys and design work. Article 8 states, “After signing the project construction contract, the Chinese Party (HPCPSD) shall figure out total design cost as per this cost rate for design…” Based on the declared construction cost of the West Coast Road rehabilitation project ($100 million) it stands to reason that HPCPSD received $8 Million for the design contract. 
Here is where it gets more interesting. Under Article 9 entitled- Settlement of Contract Price, the agreement states “the payments of remuneration under this Contract Item 8 should be made by the long term interest free loan under the exchange letters on December 7, 2006 between the government of P.R.C and the Government of Dominica.”  Essentially the government of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit would be tapping into monies from a long term, interest free loan to pay for design and surveys.  If the said project was packaged under the $100 million grant, why is it that the government was utilizing the long term interest free loan to supplement the procurement cost?   
In Article 6 of the agreement, HPCPSD noted that the design and survey works would be completed in 6 months. It is intriguing that 6 months of design work on a road rehabilitation project would cost $8 million. We spoke to experienced professionals in the field of construction engineering and management and they were all wide-eyed by the revelation. The common response from all the professionals that we spoke to is that, the road alignment or realignment surveys could have easily been done by the government survey department. In fact there was only a very small section of the roadway that was realigned and that is the section at Tareau.  It was also noted that the government engineering department had been designing and building our roads for many years and could have done the same design at very little cost to the tax payers. Not only was the $8 million charge exorbitant, it was also wasteful spending and seemingly a well-crafted scheme for money laundering.
Because we are talking about road construction, it is quite fitting at this juncture, to revisit the suspicious correlation between the now decimated Public Works Department and the secretive affairs between the Chinese interest and Roosevelt Skerrit. We are fully aware that under the Skerrit model, Dominica has no use for the Public Works department. It is also no secret that the government, Roosevelt Skerrit, has not denied the allegations that the Public Works site had been sold to a Chinese operative for another hotel development. In order to justify giving away capital projects to the Chinese and other friends, Roosevelt Skerrit has denigrated and even annihilated the Public Works department. The Public Works Department had to be painted and presented as a government liability. How can we forget the phrase “putting money in Public Works Department is like throwing money down the ravine”?  As a side note, the police inspector, known as “Inspector Tiff”, would prefer the phrase “conveniently sweeping the money into the office garbage box.” Sak we volere la!!!
In the agreement between the government Roosevelt Skerrit and the HPCPSD, articles 8 and 9  indicate that at some point, the West coast road rehabilitation project or part of the project was funded through an interest free, long term loan.

Already there is a great deal of skepticism on the $100 million tab for the West Coast road rehabilitation. In the interest of accountability Mr. Skerrit, please provide clarifications on this long term loan that was utilized on the same West Coast road rehabilitation project.
Until we receive clarification (when cock grow teeth)  we are left to wonder why in the midst of a comatose economy and mass unemployment, Roosevelt Skerrit again decided to sideline the citizens of Dominica by assigning the people’s passport money to a Chinese company for capital projects. We are going to keep asking questions so that those who are awake won’t fall asleep and those who are pretending to be asleep will find their conscience. Was this $100 million tranche really part of the long term loan package that facilitated the construction of the state house, the college and the grammar school etc?
The abhorrent decision to assign $41 million of our passport revenues to a Chinese firm for road repair work is very disturbing. Of course the Skerrit mercenaries will argue that the Chinese gave us, so why not give the Chinese the jobs instead of the struggling and unemployed people of Dominica. But these types of Labour Party arguments are really meant to perpetuate mental and economic slavery. In conjunction with questions regarding the validity of the $41 million repair estimate, it is certainly appropriate to wonder whether we are witnessing an insidious scheme to move money around – hoping to hide their deceitful operations. Brother Nasio Fontaine puts it nicely in song - “The truth shall reveal”.
Contrary to the rancor by the Agouti senior counsel, PM Roosevelt Skerrit owes us honesty and accountability. We have had enough of the chicaneries and the deception. As part of our effort to promote freedom of information, we have attached a copy of the agreement between government Roosevelt Skerrit and Henan Provincial Communications, Planning, Survey and Design Institute (HPCPSD). We expect the usual spins and distortion but there is longevity and beauty in the truth. The lies don't teach nor fix anything; it only enhances poverty, ignorance and tunnel vision- much of that we have seen under a very corrupt Roosevelt Skerrit administration.

As soon as they are done spinning their wheels of deception on this document, another document will emerge and the spinning monkeys will forever be chasing their tails or tales. 

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