Friday, December 11, 2009

Frank Baron responds to his critics over coruption allegations

Frank Baron

Following the publication of my message to the Dominican people in the last edition of the New Chronicle, I was savaged on radio by the likes of Tony Astaphan and that paragon of patriotism and virtue, Crazy T.

The truth must have struck a nerve since all the King’s Horses and all the King’s Men have been lined up to attack Frank Baron. I will respond to them, one by one. But first, let me repeat why, thirty one years after gaining its independence, Dominica’s integrity as a nation is being destroyed by the very men who profess or pose to be its saviour.

We are a hardworking people. We are a small nation of achievers. We are a proud population of people who have achieved great things on the international stage.

We are a nation which has produced brilliant doctors, lawyers, jurists, professors, businessmen, and even politicians. We are also a nation which has produced writers, teachers, agriculturists and fishermen.

We have been brought up, whether rich or poor, on a central tenet of religion. By the sweat of thy brow thou shall eat bread.

Another version of this teaching which I learnt as a child is: The heights of great men reached and kept, were not attained by sudden fight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling deep through the night!

Riches are the just rewards of hard work. Remember the Parable of the Sowers. Ask any businessman, including Waddy Astaphan.

Ask Sukie, Flossie Joseph, Faoud Issa, Egbert Charles, Rudolph Thomas, the Nassiefs, R.B. Douglas who died standing with a cutlass nearby! Ask Bobby Frederick. Ask them what is the secret of their success!

You succeed because of hard work! This is the message our politicians should be sending to Dominicans. YOU MAKE MONEY THE OLD FASHIONED WAY. YOU EARN IT!!!

Mr. Charles Maynard has indicated that I believe that politicians should be poor. Poor Mr. Maynard. Can someone spare him a dollar? Mr. Maynard, our politicians earn more than the overwhelming majority of their fellow Dominicans. They also get allowances to travel.

They also drive government vehicles. They also get many perks and privileges.They get free tickets to functions that the public has to pay for.

There is therefore no reason to illegally obtain benefits over and beyond what you are duly entitled. Mr. Maynard, how can you possibly suggest that politicians are poor in Dominica? Is that why you implicitly justify corruption in public office?

My friend Dr. Lennox Honychurch has written a pseudo-intellectual piece about “crabs in a barrel.” He presents the PM as a man who is thinking outside the box; one who is gallantly seeking assistance outside of the traditional Western countries.

Persons like myself who raise genuine concerns about financial improprieties in office are dismissed as people trying to bring a good man down, a man who, as Honychurch presents it, is honestly pursuing the national interest.

Nothing can be further from the truth. Dr. Honychurch glosses over the real allegations of corruption in public office. He ignores the clear evidence of megalomania, the clear evidence of self aggrandizement, the granting of diplomatic status to foreign criminals. Dr. Honychurch wonders why I never donated land I acquired legitimately. DR. Honychurch! I did not use my office to acquire these lands!

Many Dominicans have raised legitimate concerns about the fleecing of the treasury, the documented abuse in the Red Clinic, the dalliance with foreign criminals and the declaration of the PM that no constitution or law can stop him from being nominated. Dr. Honychurch thinks that those who have these concerns are all crabs in a barrel.

There are many persons who will be offended by Honychurch’s insult. Please do not be. Remember, historians cannot be expected to always be on the side of truth or objectivity.

There are historians who supported slavery and the slave trade. There are those who supported Apartheid. There are those who supported a philosophy which holds one race superior. There are those who even tried to justify the 1983 massacre in Grenada.

Similarly, there are those who will find nothing wrong in the systematic undermining of Dominica’s institutions by the very man whose sworn duty is to protect them.

Dr. Honychurch, you say that judging from the public’s reaction, my intervention has failed to make an impact. You protest too much methinks!! Sir, if that was the case, you would not be responding.

Neither would those who are pathologically dependent on government. Indeed, Sir, I am sustained and buoyed by the overwhelming support I have received from the public. Your response is nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing.

There is a real concern among scholars about the re-colonization of Third World countries by emergent countries such as China and Venezuela.

China’s support of ruthless regimes in Africa while Venezuela’s attempts to destabilize legitimate governments in South America and to ruthlessly curtail press freedom in his country, have shown conclusively that small, poor, independent nations cannot be content with merely replacing one colonial master for another.

Sir, are you not concerned about Africans in the Sudan or Kenya or small businessmen in Dominica, for that matter?

Doc, someone sent me a recent article about the Chinese in Africa. It says the following: “There has been much public outrage from South Africa, through East Africa to Nigeria and West Africa at the often fatal damage to local textile and consumer goods by floods of cheap Chinese imports.

Miners…in Zambia… and in the Congo’s Katanga have rioted over the appalling safety and slave labour working conditions in Chinese-run mines. People on the streets of Zimbabwe…rail at the takeover of locally owned retail businesses by Chinese entrepreneurs.” Doc, have a little pity on us, nuh, garcon!!!

The scholars who are concerned about this are all wrong! They are all displaying “crab antics.” They all lack Dr. Honychurch’s wisdom and great insight. Those who oppose Skerrit dislike the “little” boy from Vieille Case. Skerrit is now portrayed as a “hero in the crowd.” This is intellectual dishonesty at its worst!

Not surprisingly, Honychurch entirely misses the point in Archie Singham’s book. Singham shows how the cult-like devotion to a leader in Grenada and by extension, other Caribbean islands, have blighted the development in the islands.

Honychurch regards Skerrit as a hero, very much in the mould of Gairy. He notes significantly that “Eric Gairy went too far and absolute power corrupted him.” That is the danger, Dr. Honychurch! Remove the intellectual blinkers from your eyes and you will see the light.

A question has been raised about the source of my wealth. I was fortunate to have a hard working father who was a successful businessman. But like an undeserving son, I neglected my inheritance during a decade in political office in the 1950s.

I rebuilt my business in the 1960s thanks to a loan from Ayoub Dib. I, FRANK BARON, MAKE NO APOLOGIES TO ANYONE FOR REAPING THE FRUITS FROM THE SWEAT OF MY BROW!!

I have employed hundreds of Dominicans in my various businesses since 1945. In my citrus business, my wholesale and retail business, in the Sisserou Hotel which I built from borrowed funds and in my newspaper and printing businesses. I have put money on the table of hundreds of Dominicans.

In an email, someone called Reginald Oliver Severin writes the following: “Suddenly, the giving and receiving of gifts has become a disgraceful or even corrupt thing in Dominica. As a Eucharistic nation, we have always embraced such treasured acts of worship.”

Treasured acts of worship? The receiving of so-called gifts worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is now a “treasured act of worship!” Severin also describes such gifts as “acts of love,” something which I will never understand!

What utter rubbish! I guess this is the NEW GOSPEL according to the Labour party. This is the new SERMON ON THE MORNE. It is a Christian virtue to accept and to gain, by unethical means, wealth over and beyond what you are legally entitled to. Unjust enrichment has now been elevated to a sacrament. Lord Help US!!

In a recent letter, Alix Boyd-Knight writes the following about me: “You and your ilk, simply cannot accept that a poor, young man could step into shoes that you once occupied and grandly surpass all that his predecessors combined (including you, the Knight) accomplished.”

If you did not have so much to gain, Ms. Knight, from what is now going on in Dominica, I would take you seriously. Your newfound dislike of me “and my ilk” has only come about since the last issue of the New Chronicle.

Before that, you had no difficulty with my well known criticism of the former UWP government and my support for the Skerrit-led government.

You maintain the fiction that the blatant acts which are being complained about are merely “unsubstantiated allegations.” Yet you had no such concerns about making similar allegations in 2000 when those on the receiving end were the UWP. Ms. Knight, you speak with a forked tongue!

I wonder how much sympathy and solidarity you have for the poor and working people in your neighbourhood. You said that I am not a “Knight.” You got that right!

Oh! By the Way. Were you not the SPEAKER of the HOUSE; the one whose neutrality and impartiality should be beyond reproach? But then again, you have always had the uncanny ability to DISGRACE YOUR OFFICE with your vulgar partisanship.

I have chosen to reflect on John F. Kennedy’s exhortation: Ask not what your country can do for you: Ask what you can do for your country, rather than on the rantings of someone who is beholden to the government in power for her livelihood.

You run for political office to make your country a better place. To contribute to the respect for law and order. To make your people self reliant and productive. To make them proud and independent.

To ensure that they are better educated. To add value to your natural resources. To set an example that your people can emulate. You do all this because righteousness exalteth a nation.

I have been accused of making or repeating unfounded allegations! What do I have to gain for making them, nobody knows. Let me make some founded allegations which I dare Tony Astaphan to refute. They are:

1. Andre Dopwell did not write the so-called refund letter!! I dare Tony to refute this!

2. Andre Dopwell did not receive a red cent from the sale of the garbage bins! I dare Tony to deny this!

3. Andre Dopwell did not refund a single penny to the Dominican treasury!

4. I dare you to have Andre Dopwell sign an affidavit in the U.S. denying the above.

5. Tony, I dare you to have Guyanese Supriya Singh, state in her own words, under oath in the U.S. that she did not supervise the construction of the PM’s house in Vieille Case and the villas in Savanne Paille!! Or that she received no payment for that specific purpose.


I am merely a businessman and politician who have toiled in the vineyard for 65 years and counting. But I ask: Has Tony Astaphan crossed that line? You be the judge!!

When a person holds a position of public trust, the temptations are many and varied. It is not by coincidence that no one “gave” the PM chunks of land or land below market value, when he was a teacher.

Leaders stay away from Trojan horses because no one gives gifts for nothing. You sacrifice your office who accepts gifts for favours in return. Dominicans understand that. This is why there is a patois saying: Mwen paca pwon diab en sac!!

I have been in the news business for almost 60 years. You can criticize me as much as you choose. But Dominicans should beware of false or crazy prophets or venomous vixens.

Beware of those who, on seeing the snake, shouts “Me e la!!” Beware of those who speak with forked tongues! Beware of those who would destroy your country while lining their pockets with lots of money.

Dominicans! Save your country!!

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This is nothing but the silly rantings of a deluded ninety year old man. Talk all your meandering gibberish to the young who do not know of your bellicose attitude.Stick to the issues that so unnerve you and provide acceptable evidence of misfeasance, malfeasance or non-feasance by the Prime Minister,instead of repeating roadside chatter, then you would not have to write a tome about your own greatness.
Mr. Baron I salute you. I shivered at your words for they are so real. I wanted to respond to Honey Church and the Knight myself. The historian thinks he knows it all and writing an article with so many quotations that one would think he is giving a lecture. We dont need all of that in Dominica at the eve of an election....we need people who stands for justice and equality for all Dominicans. We need people who will speak the truth. We need people who will not tell us it is not our damn business where they getting money from even if it is diabe money. We need people who will answer our genuine questions like the conditions with all the agreements with China and Venezuela. We need people that are objective no matter which party is in power. We dont want the likes of the speaker of the house. She has disgraced her office and one has to wonder whether she is getting something for that. It was better that they had stayed silent instaed of opening their mouth and exposed themselves.We Dominicans are waking up to what is really going on around us and we know if people stay silent when our country is deteriorating with curruption we should run from them.
Frank Baron speaks with forked tongue;he calls Dr Honychurch his friend, then abruptly denounces him as a pseudo-intellectual. This is equivalent to a butcher calling a neuro-surgeon a hack; Frank Baron never completed high school and is not equipped to judge anyone's scholastic propensity.
By the way, Frank, if you accomplished that much during your Dictatorship, how come the island was so backward before LeBlanc. You guys kicked him out of the Dominica Club, remember?
Dear Mr. Baron,
I read your article out aloud and enjoyed every word with gusto. The word resonated truth and tore through the onslaught of the kings horses and men leaving them battered and licking their wounds in the wake of your mighty pen and keyboard. You can give it and you can take it and come back even more fortified, well done! You do have a flair that holds the reader's interest to the very end. Keep writing and I will keep reading. This was a pleasure and only $1.50 I spent for the issue of the New Chronicle. This issue has a place of prominence on my bookshelf.
Corruption is also asking the current government for a salary of $30,000.00/mth,traveling allowances,housing and $5,000.00 in entertainment allowances. Gees its like someone knows where the cash is coming from. "Who the cap fit let them wear it, say I throw me corn me nah cal no fowl"
Frank, you too like everyone else shall leave the earth soon. May The Lord God have mercy on your soul....Forgive him father
Anonymous : December 13, 2009 12:02 AM here you are again, the truth always offense, no one knows the day the time and the hour to depart this world, and by saying that Mr baron and everyone else shall leave the earth soon, i hope that you included yourself as well, you are the person who need forgiveness Mr Chosen One. it's not about Baron, the issue right now, is saving Dominica from Skeritt and people like you. The Island Dominica Is Voice Crying In The Wilderness, Lord Almighty Deliver The Land of My Birth from The Hands Of Skeritt, during that past two elections I rallied my entire family to vote for Skeritt for which i am very disappointed, only to see that Skeritt is the worst PM Dominica ever had, for sure i will not be accepting his offer this year to save him the election, every since i listened to the man saying that Dominican could never get fresh vegetables everyday at the Roseau Market and right now the Haitian are the ones providing Dominica with fresh produces everyday, to be honest that statement itself was and is an insult to Dominican, we Dominicans are hard working people, Haitian criminals leave the USA and other countries where they are not wanted and find Dominica to be their safe Haven, this for sure will not last as soon as the reap everything in the island and cut down all the trees for charcoal they will flee to where i am not sure since they are not wanted in many other countries, this is the reason why skeritt have these people in DA one for the evil that they believe in and also to destroy Dominica and Dominican, i am in Florida and believe me i know Little Haiti and the level of crime that the Haitians are involve in, Skeritt and all the Haitians need to disappear from Dominica
Much Blessing To DA
Just learnt that DR Grell owns one of the villas in Portsmouth. This allegation was made by former PM and leader of the Dominica Labour Party O.J. Seraphine.

O.J. has broken his silence and denounced the PM.....
I read Honeychurch's article. He seems to be implying that people shouldn't oppose the government.
Do these people no longer believe in a democracy?
Is that what comes from associating with the Chinese? He even mentons the 'One China' policy.
Well the Chinese also believe that the most important thing is the absolute power of their leading party. They think this is more important than the constitution and the law. Look at the way they treat their OWN people. We don't need to be taking any lessons from them.

Honeychurch may well refer to himself as a Historian but he does not seem to be able to learn from mistakes of the past. And for others who feel that an 'old man' should have no say in politics, please don't be so ignorant. What is important is wisdom and knowledge and past experience counts for a lot.
How does anyone forget the days of Frank Baron? It amazes me that people have forgotten the resentment with which he left politics after being soundly whipped by E.O. LeBlanc. He could not stand the "little man" then, and he will destroy this one now.
Does anyone remember the relentless atacks against Edison James by the Chronicle in the "Nabes" columns? It almost drove the man insane with its scurrilous attacks. Frank Baron is an egotistic old man who did not make any significant contribution to Dominica that did notbenefit himself. It's "I I I I"
i am a dominican who lives in canada and im discusted by this kind of practice by the dlp quite frankly i think that skerritt should be put in prison. can use tax payers money to bribe people into returning home to vote him when clearly dominica is struggling financially this is no democraacy
Dr. Honychurch's championship of leaders who dare to think "outside the box" must be lauded. Indeed, the example quoted by him, Eric Gairy of Grenada was so visionary that he saw UFO's and in 1977 managed to persuade the U.N. to put it on their General Assembly's agenda.All the other Caribbean leaders mentioned by him deserve due credit for raising their people's awareness and promoting social justice and who quibles if they themselves prospered in the process. The fact that Bradshaw of St. Kitts was popularly known as "finny hand Bradshaw" is merely amusing. However objection must be made to putting our own venerable LeBlanc right next to Bird of Antigua.Our man simply is not in the same league when it comes to nepotism, international skulduggery and alleged corruption against which background the "Bird" resigned in 1994. Like the good doctor I too recommend the public to peruse literature for self education and in this case they will find "A Small Place" by the celebrated Antiguan author Jamaica Kincaid very informative. I genuinely cheer the man, or woman, who manages to climb from humble beginnings, who's deeds and achievements are, forever recorded in the history books and here, for the sake of that same history and erudition we should not omit the likes of Pol Pot or Hitler who also sought to take their people to a "Next Level". The "all accounting civil service methods" based on long practice and experience become objectionable only when they are "colonially instituted" and therefore must be rejected on that ground alone. Very clever argument, dear doctor! There is an English adage, no doubt colonial too, which describes such thinking as "throwing out the baby with the bath water!". I must take issue though with the doctor's satement that "traditional donors" are no longer interested in us and point out that both our P.M. and mr. Lambert, in May of this year expressed, in public their gratitude to the E.U., yes tax payers' money from Europe,for being the largest single contributor to Dominica with funds provided in excess of E.C.$. 300 million since 1999, of which E.C.180 million to our banana industry alone! I know, I know they can hardly be referred to as "brothers" and certainly not revolutionaries.Besides, who could claim the credit for this? There is nothing wrong in aquiring property and any enterprising person is free to do so, in a free economy, backed by loans or mortgages, as long as the lenders are satified that the borrower has the capacity to service these financial commitments! And no, I do not think any Dominican would feel comfortable with the idea of the people's representative living in a back room in Vielle Case. So why raise it in the first place!? Rating the "bobols" as and accumulation of stupid errors and ineptitude is a terrible indictment of our P.M. and one wonders about the sages that could have preventended him from soiling not only his own, but the country's image and reputation in the process. Nonetheless, I am sure he, the man with the ultimate decision is also man enough to accept the ultimate responsibility! It is always a hazardous thing to use existing publications to reinforce one's arguments as Dr. Honychurch does when he makes reference to Alec Waughs' "Typical Dominica". To keep the playing field level I shall quote from the same publication in direct reference to my beloved isle. The first one asserts that there is a Dominica legend in the Caribbean that says:"Everyone goes crazy there"! And then Mr. Waugh's final conclusion that all of Dominica is in the comment:"It is enough to be beautiful; there is no need to bear fruit as well"!
Last but not least, when attempts are made to bestow respectability on conduct or policy by having learned people expounding them we should always remember Dr. Duvalier of Haiti and the ultimate Dr. Faust!

Tony don't answer any of Baron's questions until Baron tells us if it is true that he is presently fighting Mamo’s Scholarship foundation for the land on which his printery is located. He claims that he bought the land from Mamo but no receipt or bill of sale has ever surfaced. Baron, show us the youth of Dominica full proof that you paid for that land or leave the land so we can get a chance to go to school!
Stick to the issues and avoid the character asasinations.

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