ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — Opposition Leader Lennox Linton Monday denied any involvement in a plot to overthrow the Dominica government and says he fears he could be arrested on trumped up charges to that effect.
In a posting on his Facebook page, Linton said that a number of “Dominican patriots” will be at the police headquarters to “monitor events” surrounding the question of economist Dr Thomas Fontaine, an opposition member of the United Workers Party (UWP) who was detained for several hours by police following his radio show on Sunday.
Linton said that while Fontaine, a former employee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was due to return to the police station on Monday for further questioning, “I am hearing the plan is to have me arrested today.
“I am hearing as well that they are going to arrest me in connection with the bogus story that (Prime Minister Roosevelt) Skerrit told about overthrowing the government of Dominica.
“Now… let me be very clear, I know absolutely nothing about any coup or any attempt to overthrow the government apart from what I heard Roosevelt Skerrit say in his address to the nation.
“It is Roosevelt Skerrit who has this story. It is Roosevelt Skerrit who has the intelligence and so Roosevelt Skerrit is the man that the police must ask questions. He is the one that is supposed to be in police headquarters,’ Linton said in his near 11 minute-broadcast.
Last Wednesday, in a radio and television broadcast following disturbances in the city that resulted in fires being set and business looted, Skerrit said that the leadership of the UWP and the Dominica Freedom party (DFP) had to take the blame for the situation.
The protesters had earlier on Tuesday staged a demonstration on the street of the Financial Centre where Skerrit’s office is housed, with Linton and others defying a police command that their activities be held during the period 11:00 am to 3:00 pm (local time).
“The police had information that the intent of the leadership was to stall the truck in front the Financial Centre and storm the barriers with the intent of entering the building.
“This was the intent of the leadership of the United Workers Party and the Dominica Freedom Party. This is how they intended to seize the seat of power in the country. They would have stormed the Financial Centre Building and seek to occupy the building until their demands were met,” Skerrit said in his broadcast.
Skerrit noted that notwithstanding the agreement to end the meeting at a scheduled time, Linton spoke for an hour and 15 minutes after the agreed time indicating that the meeting would only end when he said so.
“The police repeatedly informed Mr Linton and other members that the meeting should end immediately, but he refused to comply. Fellow Dominicans, friends, and well-wishers, this is where the breakdown of respect for law and order began.
“This is where a clear signal was sent to supporters of the combined United Workers Party and Dominica Freedom Party that the law was not to be respected and that they could do as they please.
“This is when and where the cue was given for persons to do whatever they deemed necessary to forcibly and unlawfully remove a democratically elected government from office,” Skerrit said, adding that the events that later unfolded were “as a direct consequence and a result of the decision by Lennox Linton to say, in effect, ‘to hell with the police, we shall do as we please’.
“There were other aspects of Lennox Linton’s address to the mob that had gathered, that could be construed as inciting lawlessness and acts of antisocial behaviour. But, this is all now part of a police investigation, which I will not speak to at this point as I do not wish to prejudice the matter,” Skerrit said then.
But Linton said that the police had not called in Skerrit for questioning even though he had also indicated that people were paid to loot and vandalise the city.
Linton said that nearly all the 32 people taken in for question had been released and have charged a few “with things like obstruction and things like possession of stolen goods, nothing to do with the violence, nothing to do with the disruption that surfaced on the night of Tuesday.
“This obviously is politically motivated and driven and I am talking here about the pending arrest of Lennox Linton. The detention yesterday of Senator Dr Thomas Fontaine …in so far as it is linked to this plot that only Roosevelt Skerrit knows about and the police seem to be asking him no question about…”Linton said, telling supporters that he had gone to lengths to explain the situation to them “’as there are important matters on the agenda of the government of Dominica”.