Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Dominica police say they have uncovered plot to burn down capital

Published:Friday | February 23, 2024 | 11:39 AM
Acting Police Commissioner, Davidson Valerie. - CMC photo.

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – The police in Dominica say they have uncovered a plot to cause unrest in the country during a protest meeting and march being organised by the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) on Sunday.

Acting police commissioner Davidson Valerie said the plot involves “people believed to be associated with the meeting to commit lawlessness and create violence during the meeting.

“Some of the threats are to procure gasolene to burn the city of Roseau. There is also a threat to create an islandwide blackout so as to facilitate the commission of illegal acts against persons, including the Minister of National Security [Rayburn Blackmoore],” the acting police chief said.

Valerie said that in the interest of national security he met with two of the organisers of the meeting, including former opposition leader, Lennox Linton, expressing his concern “regarding the inciteful comments being disseminated on social media by groups of persons believed to be associated with the meeting.

“I want to take this opportunity to state categorically there will be no tolerance of any form of unlawlessness. The Commonwealth of Dominica Police Force is prepared to intervene and deal with anyone who engages in any form of disorder or lawlessness,” he warned.

The UWP is staging the activity one day before Linton is due in a magistrate's court on a charge of incitement stemming from an incident on February 7, 2017, when the party held a meeting in the capital for the resignation of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

Following the meeting, several businesses in the city were vandalised and charges were brought against Linton, former prime minister Edison James, and economist and current UWP leader, Dr Thompson Fontaine.

Charges were also laid against former UWP deputy political leader, Joshua Francis, along with Nicholas George and former UWP legislator now Speaker of the House of Assembly, Joseph Isaac, who were charged with obstruction of justice.

While the matter against James, Francis, George and Isaac has been adjourned sine die, Linton, Fontaine and James are still before the courts.

Last Friday, James was released on EC$50,000 bail after spending an estimated 20 minutes in a holding cell at a magistrate's court after he was committed to stand trial at the High Court on a charge of incitement.

James then urged supporters to attend the march and meeting on Sunday and to come in their numbers.

“I am appealing to Dominicans let us understand where we are. Today it is me. It will be you tomorrow. Stop this thing now. There is a call for people to be out on the 25th ….we don't have six billion [people] in Dominica, but let us get close to that as possible.

“This is not a matter of we fighting down Skerrit …we are fighting for Dominica,” James added.

The prosecution in the cases against the opposition politicians are led by the Trinidad-based criminal attorneys Israel Khan and Keith Scotland.

Blackmoore said that despite the plot being uncovered, permission is being granted to the opposition party to stage its activity in the capital on Sunday.

He said that the Public Order Act provides for the Minister responsible for National Security to exercise “certain authority in the interest of public peace and public order.”

He said the legislation also provides for the minister to prohibit the holding of any public meeting whether in a specific locality or within the entire country.

Blackmoore said he has been briefed by the acting top cop and “I have in my possession certain credible intelligence that speaks to the intention of some who belong to the same political party or eco-system of the United Workers Party.

“I believe that the majority of the supporters of the United Workers Party are good people and do not share the same radical views as those who are seeking to create an environment of lawlessness in this beautiful country.”

Blackmoore said having considered all the ramifications, he does not believe nor is he inclined to invoke the Public Order Act to prohibit the public meeting.

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