I often receive questions about Dominica's attorney-kingmaker, Anthony Astaphan, said to be the power behind the throne, the country's Mad Monk Rasputin, always pulling the strings behind the scenes in government.
The most popular query I receive: Why is he not serving in Dominica's House of Assembly, (what the country calls its Parliament) and why is he not a minister in Prime Minister Skerrit's Cabinet ?
To answer that, we must first review a bit of the Astaphan family history. Tony's father, Waddy (d. 2016), arrived in Dominica from Surinam, as a Dutch citizen, as that country was still a colony of the Netherlands. Tony's sister, Genevieve M. Astaphan, is the holder of a Dutch passport, as Waddy's daughter, and has admitted as such to a number of Dominican friends and acquaintances. We must assume that Tony, who was also so entitled by Dutch law, has one as well, as they allow the holder visa-free travel to the United States.
Does he also have Dominican citizenship, and what problems does that create ?
Dutch law prohibits dual citizenship, and individuals in that situation forfeit their Dutch status, and the benefits that it brings, and should Tony actually be holding that Dominican passport that he repeatedly refuses to confirm, without disclosing it to the Dutch authorities, he would be in violation of a number of laws of the Netherlands, which I understand is considered a serious matter.
You may recall that Tony Astaphan was, while he resided in Dominica, the Honorary Consul for the Netherlands, which position was taken by his sister, Genevieve, when he moved to Florida.
While an individual may serve as a Member of Dominica's House of Assembly with dual nationality, such nationality must be held in another British Commonwealth nation, or he or she cannot stand as a member. Tony's Dutch citizenship precludes his service in the Assembly, which provides us with the answer to that nagging question about why he, or any sibling, is not in government in Dominica.
No wonder Tony* refuses to answer when anyone from Dominica asks him if he holds a diplomatic passport issued by Dominica. We know he has one identifying him as Dutch Consul General, which further connects him to his Dutch passport and nationality. He produced it at the US Embassy in Barbados, and it reportedly created a problem for him. There is no Dutch Consulate in Roseau.
* In our next article, we shall detail the facts surrounding Tony Astaphan's profitable, and arguably illegal under Dutch law, active role in the Dominica CBI program.