BY: A Local Correspondent
On December 6, 2010, certain sections of Roseau took on the appearance of
an armed camp. Well armed special police officers patrolled the precincts
of the courthouse. A section of the town, from Kennedy Avenue in the
vicinity of Whitchurch's Supermarket to King George V Street to the east was
cordoned off. Some members of the public were barred from venturing too
close to the court house.
Many observers, unaware of the legal drama which was being played out at
the courthouse, looked on in bewilderment. A terrorist on trial? A
notorious convict who had committed some heinous crime? A visiting dignitary of
the likes of President Obama or potentate such as Pope Benedict?
None of the above. The massive and entirely unjustified show of force was
designed to afford the state's "protection" to attorney Mr. Steven Isidore
who had been charged by Mr. Glenworth Emanuel, his erstwhile partner, with
42 criminal offences involving theft and fraudulently depriving his law
firm of hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was also meant to intimidate
the population and send a message to those who question wrongdoing that the
police forces will be used to frustrate the cause of justice if the alleged
wrongdoers walk the corridors of power.
But there are many questions about the state's involvement or
non-involvement in this matter. The prosecution services refused to prosecute the case
despite the fact that a senior judicial officer was satisfied that there
were legal grounds for the laying of the charges. The police authorities
refused to arrest Mr. Isidore despite the existence of a legally issued
warrant for his arrest. The police refused to allow the public access to the
courtroom where the charges against Mr. Isidore were supposed to have been
read despite the public's right to such access. The police authorities
failed to ensure the Court attendance of Mr. Isidore despite summoning an
overwhelming armed presence at the court on December 6, 2010.
But the absence of Mr. Isidore was soon explained. Unbeknownst to Mr.
Emanuel's lawyer, Mr. Isidore's lawyers brought an application in the High
Court, seeking a stay of the proceedings and an application to review the
Senior Magistrate's decision to sanction criminal proceedings against Isidore.
Incredibly, the presiding justice granted this application as Mr. Emanuel
and his counsel waited downstairs in the magistrate's court wondering where
on earth was Mr. Isidore. The learned justice prohibited the magistrate
from hearing the complaint against Mr. Isidore. She granted counsel for Mr.
Isidore leave to file affidavit evidence in support of the application to
review the decision to issue a warrant against Mr. Isidore on or before
December 10, 2010. She ordered that Isidore's counsel should provide notice to
Mr. Emanuel's counsel of all materials relating to the application by that
date or before.
Mr. Emanuel's lawyer complained of being literally ambushed by this
application to stay the proceedings. Mr. Isidore, who could not be located for
service of an arrest warrant, brought an application to halt the proceedings
without giving any notice to Emanuel's lawyer. The court which could not
find an early date to hear serious matters of national concern, such as the
dual citizenship of our Prime Minister and the legality of his candidacy
in the last general elections, suddenly found the time to hear an application
without notice to the opposing side within one week of the warrant being
issued against Mr. Isidore! In so doing, the court allowed itself to be
cynically conscripted to halt legitimate proceedings against Mr. Isidore
while the lawyers on the opposing side were waiting downstairs wondering
about his whereabouts. No wonder that the justice system is on trial in this
Make no mistake. This is a black eye for the criminal justice system. This
case will test the integrity of Dominica's justice system as no other has
done in recent times. What is the position of Dominica's Bar Association on
these charges? What was its position in the allegations of fraud against
attorney Earl Williams? What is its position on the sanctity of trust funds
held by lawyers? What investigatory powers, if any, does it possess? How
does it see its role in protecting the public against the actions of a few
of its members?
More significantly, where have all the dollars gone, which Mr. Glenworth
Emanuel alleges to have been fraudulently requisitioned gone? Is there a
hidden clue to that answer in the accounts which were allegedly raided by
fraudulent requisitions and the looted funds deposited in a private account or
accounts? The National Bank was allegedly defrauded well over half a
million dollars. There has long been allegations of massive fraud at that bank.
It has not registered a profit in the last couple of years. A manager
was fired a few months ago presumably on account of questionable loans to
companies either under his control or where he had a financial interest.
Where has all the money gone? West-Indies Power Holding B.V. is also
alleged to have been defrauded. West-Indies Power (Dominica) Ltd., a
subsidiary of this company which was partly owned by the dismissed former manager of
our National Bank, was given the nod on July 24, 2008, over a local
company partly owned by Adenauer Douglas and attorney Gabriel Christian to
explore Dominica's geothermal potential because it had more money to finance the
expensive exploratory drilling. To date however, the company has hardly
drilled a single exploratory hole in Dominica. A touloulou would have dug
more holes at little or no cost than West-Indies Power Holding and yet this
company was allegedly defrauded the astronomical sum of $1,911,937. Where
have all these dollars gone?
Another alleged victim is Felix Chen. Yes, the same Chen whose $20,000,000
into the Layou River Hotel project disappeared into thin air. Not long
after, the pink villas of Savanne Paille, whose ownership are very much in
dispute, rose majestically out of thin air. Credible estimates suggest that
some $4,000,000 were spent buying the land, preparing architectural
drawings, hiring Supriya Singh, buying materials and commencing the construction
of these buildings before the owner secured a loan to continue the project.
Incredibly, the declared owner, while testifying under oath in a recent
trial, had no clue about the amount of the loan taken, the design of the
buildings or other pertinent information. Where has all this money gone?
ECIC Holdings Ltd. is a private company held by ten indigenous banks in
the region. The company aims to create a modern, competitive services
operation in the region, to enhance the share value of its shareholders and to
promote their competitiveness in the CSME. Some $880,875 was allegedly
diverted from their account and deposited into a private account other than
that of Mr. Emanuel's law firm. In whose pocket or pockets has/have this money
gone? Has the company informed its shareholders that it may have been the
victim of a massive fraud?
What about Aggpit Caribbean Inc., the New Orleans company involved in
dredging or quarrying operations at Bouleau-Coulibistrie, Layou, La Falaise and
Soufriere. What concessions have its owners received to operate in
Dominica and more importantly, what monies, if any, has it paid to operate in
Dominica with virtual impunity? Again, the following question must be raised.
Who has benefitted from the $54,000 which Mr. Glenworth Emanuel has
alleged has been fraudulently withdrawn from this company's account and secreted
into a private account? Where has all this money gone?
The owners of LaFalaise in Pointe Michel have not seen a penny from the
tarrish which is being gouged from their land and exported by a foreign owned
company. Their compensation is supposedly being held by government in an
escrow account on their behalf. Where is the $1,000,000 which government
representatives reported in 2008 was sitting comfortably in this escrow
account on behalf of the owners of LaFalaise?
Mero Beach Development Inc. allegedly "lost" some $482,068.50 on account
of the actions complained about by Mr. Emanuel. What happened to the money?
Who is the ultimate beneficiary of this loot?
These questions may ultimately prove to be beyond the purview of the
criminal charges filed by Mr. Emanuel against Mr. Isidore but they have
relevance in the public interest. Are these huge sums complained about by Mr.
Emanuel, payments in exchange for doing business in Dominica? Simply put, are
The significance of this question cannot be underestimated. Confidential
sources indicate that the alleged theft from the law firm of Mr. Emanuel is
closer to $10,000,000 than $7,000,000. This newspaper has discovered that
on the very same date, July 8, 2010, that Mr. Emanuel received a credit
note from the National Bank indicating that over $400,000 of his firm's trust
funds had been diverted into a private account without his knowledge, Mr.
Isidore requested a loan of $9,000.00 from Mr. Emanuel because he "was in
default of 3 months rent totaling $9,000.00." "Could you help please,"
the note to Mr. Emanuel implored.
More worrisome is evidence of further transactions with financial
institutions about which Mr. Emanuel knew nothing. The banking records of one such
transaction are instructive. It is dated July 2, 2010 and is named
"Advice of Credit." It indicates that the sum of $407,257.41 was credited to the
account of Mr. Emanuel's former partner. I will not give the account
number now but if pressed, I will. The transaction is described as "fee for
preparation and registration of Debenture etc. re. Emile Gaddarkhan & Fils
What is the significance of this astronomical fee ostensibly to prepare
and register a simple Debenture? The amount was credited to a specified
account at the National Bank of Dominica. Where has all this money gone?
Something is rotten in the state of Dominica. The state, I suppose, may
wish to inquire whether or not the public interest has been compromised in
any way by these startling allegations involving many companies on the
government's payroll. It may seek to understand the significance of these
allegations or it may wish to follow the money and see where the trail ends.
It may wish to ascertain whether or not the imperatives of good governance
have been compromised in any way, shape or form, by anyone.
But then again, I am supposing that government is functioning in a manner
which reflects the best traditions of honesty and integrity in governance.
And that our law enforcement institutions are diligently carrying out
their mandate to faithfully serve and protect the interests of the Dominican
"Captain, de ship is sinking!" "Captain, de seas are rough!"
There is time to save us from the ignominy of being dismissed as a failed
state or banana republic. The clergyman who penned the inspiring hymn
"Amazing Grace" was previously the captain of a slave ship.
To whom it may concern. Seek spiritual solace in the words: "I once was
lost, but now I'm found. Was blind but now I see." Do it for Yourself,
Your People, Your Country. Save Your nation, my "comrade," my brethren.