April 26, 2000

New prime minister of Dominica to resume passport sales

                  ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) -- Dominica's new government said Wednesday it
                  plans to resume the sale of passports to non-citizens despite earlier criticism of
                  the program by new prime minister Rosie Douglas.

                  Finance Minister Ambrose George said during a radio interview that the program
                  would resume but with changes to ensure that the Caribbean nation's citizenship
                  "does not fall into the hands of criminals." He would not elaborate on the

                  Dominica's Economic Citizenship program, suspended in January, allowed
                  international investors to receive citizenship by paying a $50,000 fee.

                  Such programs have been criticized by other countries. Last year, a U.S. State
                  Department report said Dominica had reportedly sold citizenship to up to 300
                  Russians, "increasing suspicions of Russian money-laundering" on the island.

                  Controversy over the program helped Douglas unseat former Prime Minister
                  Edison James in the January elections.

                  But George said Wednesday the program had brought badly needed income to
                  the country. Dominica benefited from "aspects of the program which targeted
                  funds for certain development projects," he said. Since the Douglas government
                  took office, some housing and road projects have been suspended for lack of