Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Who's picking Whitchurch Cherry Tree?

The talk in Dominica today has been centered around the picking of cherries. The speculation goes that a certain resident of the Roseau Valley has been harvesting at will and with impunity the cherries from a cherry tree that is planted on another individual's property. Recognizing that this was all code words, we inquired and came away with a rather amusing story about a sitting member of parliament and a well-known attorney-at-law.

Using this as a point of reference, we have to inquire; who is picking the cherries from the Whitchurch cherry tree? In presenting his supplemental estimates today in parliament, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit stated that the government of Dominica, one man, had given a half million dollar loan to H.H.V. Whitchurch to help the company finance its operations. This may seem minicule to some but it is a stunning revelation to us.

The government of Dominica is not a bank yet here we have a situation where Mr. Skerrit admits that he has given a significant loan to a commercial entity. What really is the relationship between Mr. Skerrit and the Aird family? As a commercial enterprise, Whitchurch should be able to access capital from local financial institutions; in fact that is the norm. By seeking finance directly from the government, we have to question the reason(s) that may be. Is the company in such dire financial straits that our local banks have refused to lend it any capital? Why didn't the company approach the AID bank for assistance with the government providing assurances instead? Is there a secret relationship between Mr. Skerrit and the Aird family? If so, what is it?

Are we Dominicans really prepared to come to grasp the significance of this? Our government is not a  bank. Mr. Skerrit has taken our tax dollars, lent it to a company that does business with us, which then turned around and proceeds to use our tax money to generate a profit on us. Let that sink in for a while.

We know that we will be taken to task for suggesting that Mr. Skerrit be held responsible for this but the fact is Mr. Skerrit is the Finance Minister as well as head of government. His approval of this transaction was instrumental to its implementation. What is it about Mr. Skerrit and the Airds? Is this another instance of a cherry tree being harvested by a government official? Who's picking whose cherry tree? And how long has this been going on?

Photo courtesy Dominica Vibes News

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