Friday, November 18, 2016

Mr. Skerrit and The Truth

Fresh off his world-wind tour of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa selling Dominican citizenship, Roosevelt Skerrit returned to the state armed and ready to wage battle with his detractors. An obviously irritated Skerrit, not known to be forthcoming to the Dominican public, called a hastily-scheduled news conference ostensibly to brief us on his trip. We must point out that this is a rather unusual development; Mr. Skerrit holds us in contempt and is of the belief that he has nothing to disclose to the people who have hired him to do the job he now performs, so deciding to have a press briefing tells us that Mr. Skerrit's objectives were not what the official line was.

No sooner than Mr. Skerrit got into his report that his robe du chambre fell off and his nakedness was on display for all to see. Mr. Skerrit launched into an attack on the segment of his citizenry who take issue with the manner in which he governs. Railing against reports in the media that criticized him for spending upwards of a quarter million dollars on the trip, Mr. Skerrit called that preposterous and ridiculed us for saying such. Speaking almost in the same sentence, Mr. Skerrit declared to the public that his government had spent only US$100,000 on the trip. Pardon our ignorance here but isn't that equivalent to EC $269,000? How far off base are we? Mr. Skerrit must think we're fools.

We reported yesterday that the government was spending in excess of $250,000 on the trip. We came to that approximate amount based on uncertainty in the media as to what was being spent and by whom. The government's own personnel were suggesting that Range Developments was footing the bill; yet another lie. We knew otherwise simply because we not only know how these things work but based on data that we at MiTC have from the organizers of both the Bangkok and Dubai summits, we were able to round off the numbers within a reasonable estimate, hence our EC quarter million dollar estimate.

The people of Dominica must treat every word that comes from Mr. Skerrit's mouth as a lie, pending verification. We've said it before; Mr. Skerrit's propensity to lie is as natural to him as breathing is to us. In his press briefing, Mr. Skerrit sought to engender sympathy, declaring that he left the state sick, in a bad state, but he had to do it because well, that's who he is, a hard worker. What Mr. Skerrit does not say is that he left the state in that condition because he had no choice; his tight travel schedule demanded that. We informed you on Sept. 23rd that Mr. Skerrit was scheduled to speak at both immigration summits, the first of which was due to commence on Nov. 7th, a mere 4 days after our Independence celebrations. Having taken ill with the cold, Mr. Skerrit could not afford to stay back in Dominica to weather his illness, and that is the reason why he left the state feeling sick.

Mr. Skerrit, in an effort to deflect further criticism regarding the expenses incurred by the state, attempted to tug on our heartstrings by presenting artist Michele Henderson, undoubtedly one of our favourite artistes, as a martyr. He sought to present Ms. Henderson as an individual who was being victimized by his political opponents. Mr. Skerrit must understand that we have long been aware that Ms. Henderson is a fervent supporter of his, attempting to fool us on social media that she is non-partisan but when pressed, changes her colours faster than a chameleon. As soon as she has been exposed, she promptly "unfriend's" the individual who exposed her.

Mr. Skerrit attempted to drive home the point that members of his entourage were paid $1,000 each; was that EC or US dollars Mr. Skerrit? We're not going to quibble about that because we believe that payment for their work is appropriate. However, Mr. Skerrit failed to explain to us that the costs of travel and accommodations are in fact compensatory items, so the $1,000 is pocket change. This arrangement is identical to that given to diaspora Dominicans to come home to vote; $500 spending money, airfare paid in full, making the true cost the sum of both expenses. There is no difference between the two other than the amounts spent, and Mr. Skerrit knows it.

Mr. Skerrit spent some time telling us that construction will soon recommence on the mosquito-infested Moroccan Hotel; the money had been secured and that its completion is imminent. Pardon our skepticism but we have been hearing this story for four years. In October 2012 Mr. Skerrit declared that the hotel will be completed "not one day later" than at the end of October 2013. Portsmouth MP Ian Douglas, perhaps heavily intoxicated at the time, blamed the Arab Spring for delays, and said that they were focusing on electrical and plumbing. In November 2014, John Collin McIntyre, Tony Astaphan's nemesis and suspected cherry tree raider, told us that the hotel will be open for business the following year and that they were training staff for the facility. November 2016, Mr. Skerrit comes to us with a story that he has secured financing for the hotel again to ensure its completion. Having already manufactured all types of excuses, we're left to wonder what's the next one.

We know that the hotel is sinking into the swamp, with water settling into its basement, so we're willing to surmise that Mr. Skerrit, in an effort to find some way of bringing the project back to life, may have suggested to the Moroccans that the hotel's swimming pool be placed in the basement, since it is already full of water; kill two birds with one stone.

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