Sunday, August 18, 2019


There is no doubt that with the missing 1.2 Billion dollars from the budget report,   more Dominicans at home and in the diaspora are beginning to realize that Dominica deserve better. Dominicans are now willing to face the realities of rampant government corruption and the consequential poverty. No longer are people willing to settle for Anthony “Epstein” Astaphan’s lies and the legal antics that he employs just to keep Dominicans gaslighted and enslaved by a "kleptocratic" ruler in Roosevelt Skerrit.

With the people willing to be more introspective it is the opportune moment to reintroduce the phenomenon of the Panama Papers and to view the Panama Papers as a possible clue to some of Dominica’s stolen money.

The Panama Papers are leaked documents that came from the now-defunct Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The documents leaked exposed disguised offshore holdings by a number of wealthy individuals, public officials, corrupt politicians, celebrities, business people and other rich individuals. With the help of illicit actors particularly the crooked lawyers at Mossack Fonseca, these wealthy individuals set up shell corporations or in local terms “bogus companies”  for illegal purposes  including the concealment of proceeds from crime gangs, squirreling of public funds by corrupt thieving politicians , tax evasion , sanction busting drugs and  human trafficking etc.

While Most of the services provided by the offshore industry are legal, the leaked documents show that banks, law firms and other offshore players have consistently facilitated clients involved in criminal enterprises, tax evasion or political corruption
The leaked documents in the Panama Papers shows that an offshore account had been setup in Panama under a corporation named the National Bank of Dominica (NBC). The details of that NBD account are as follow.

In the year 2009 a NBD entity was incorporated in Barbados by a law firm owned by George Walton Payne of Barbados. (Hold on to that name)
The mailing address for the NBD Panama is that of George Payne’s law firm in Barbados and the NBD’s Hillsborough Street address in Dominica.

 The directors listed are:
  •   Minister of Tourism Robert T.M Tong ,
  •   Dr.Valda Henry,
  •   Dermot Southwell (deceased),
  •  Patrick Pemberton,
  • Phillip Roll ,
  • Mervin Riviere
  • Birmingham Ackroyd
As a note of caution the various persons listed as directors of NBD Panama are all Dominicans however they may or may not have been aware of this offshore sham and so it is up to them  (with the exception of the deceased Dermot Southwell) to clarify their position- are they involved or innocent  in this money laundering scheme.

So who is George Walton Payne?
What we have learned is that Shell companies require the expensive services of tax lawyers and more often than not middlemen are needed to manipulate official records, protect clients and conceal suspected transactions

George Walton Payne is a lawyer and politician, and an associate of PM Skerrit’s creepy advisor Hartley Henry. In fact George Payne is a current minister in the Barbados Labor Party government .The legal services provided by George Payne’s law firm include international business and financial services (Wink wink Peek A Boo!!). George Payne has had his fair share of controversies - many accusations of corruption and alleged misrepresentation or falsification of his credentials.  The name Thornhill Andrew is also shown in the NBC organization chart- Thornhill is the law partner in the law firm of George Walton Payne.

At the time the corporation was registered in Barbados all of the Dominicans listed as directors of the corporation were serving on the board of directors for the National Commercial Bank of Dominica. Very interestingly the notorious Steven Isidore who was also a board member at the time was conveniently not listed. Also left out of the directors list is the enigmatic and mysterious managing director at the time Grenadian Gregory De Gannes.
Did Steven Isidore and Gregory De Gannes have any knowledge of the Panama account?  
Who Is the Notorious Steven Isidore? Evidence shows that at the time of NBD’s Panama account setup, Steven Isidore had been PM Skerrit’s personal lawyer and accountant and handling millions of dollars illicitly acquired by Roosevelt Skerrit. Existing paper trails show Steven Isidore coordinating financial activities for the construction of PM Skerrit’s 8 Villas in Savanne Pailles. Documents also show that Steven Isidore had been paying service providers at the behest of PM Skerrit. Renneth “Bubbles” Alexis who falsely claimed ownership of the villas was one of the service providers who had received several payments from Steven Isidore for service provided during the construction of the villas. Steven Isidore had also been named as being part of a conspiracy to firebomb the home of his partner decease GON Emmanuel so as to destroy evidence of fraud and money laundering .In November of 2010 Steven Isidore was brought before the courts by his partner GON Emmanuel on 42 criminal counts. The charges included fraud, theft, and falsification of accounts, criminal breach of trust, misrepresentation and obtaining money by deception.   
Now the Enigmatic Gregory De Gannes?
In 2005 when PM Skerrit mysteriously installed the Grenadian Gregory De Gannes as Managing Director of The National Bank of Dominica many were amazed. At the time people were wondering why the Dominican born Bank Manager at the time, Vance Leblanc was unceremoniously being replaced by a Grenadian with a track record of mismanagement.

Prior to his appointment in Dominica Gregory De Gannes was engaged with a business operation in Barbados doing what is referred to as loan brokerage. De Gannes together with his business partners would package loan applications to banks on behalf of their clients and in return they would receive huge commissions on these loan applications. It is alleged that former bank operatives Milton Lawrence and Lambert Lewis, both Dominicans, were all part of the business operation and were all instrumental in bringing De Gannes to Dominica. We also learned that Barbadian Hartley Henry was allegedly part of De Gannes circle and was mainly responsible for bringing De Gannes to Dominica.

Gregory De Gannes stint at the National Bank of Dominica went as expected. Under his stewardship the National Bank of Dominica issued millions of dollars in bad and suspicious loans. There were also allegations that as managing director, Gregory De Gannes had fired former National Bank manager Michel Williams because Williams refused to act on a $2.5 Million loan application that De Gannes made out for himself.

When De Gannes was eventually removed from the National Bank of Dominica PM Skerrit brought him back as chairman of the West Indies Power (Dominica) Ltd (WIPD) and provided De Gannes and his WPD with $3.5 Million to do geothermal exploratory work in the Soufriere area. 

The government and people of Dominica own more than 50 percent of the NCB and at this juncture All Dominicans should be incensed and should be asking why the indigenous bank of Dominica had been named in the Panama papers? The bank records show no legitimate investments in Panama yet the leaked documents confirm that the NBD does have an offshore account in Panama.

·        So what is happening Mr. Prime Minister and Minister of finance?

·        Should we seek answers from your lawyer and accountant Steven Isidore?

·        Should we contact your former Managing Director Gregory De Gannes.?

·        Should we call Hartley Henry and or George Payne for some answers?

The National commercial Bank of Dominica was created by act No. 27 of 1976. Mr. Prime Minister why did you and the crooks around conspire to shift  the NCB operation from the confines of the Banking Act to that of the Companies Act where there is no oversight , regulations and real accountability?

Was this offshore account in Panama all part of a scheme where money from the NBD could be laundered under the guise of company privileges?

Living with integrity means: Not settling for less than what you deserve in your everyday endeavors; asking for what you want and need from others; speaking your truth even though it might create conflict or tension; Behaving in ways that are in harmony with your personal values; making choices on what you believe and not what others want you to believe (Barbara De Angelis)

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