According to a “pretty” well-known, angry sounding DLP radio and Facebook propagandist, the contributors to the DominicaPatriot.com have “chosen to waste time writing long, flip flopping diatribes that make absolutely no sense.” As usual, Mr. Christian could not resist commenting on our articles. Unfortunately for him, he proceeded with his habitual blind attack on any source known to be critical of DLP’s policies and conduct. Presumably, without having read the contents of the article, he unwittingly agreed and regurgitated its contents.
Mr. Christian affirmed with further explanation that;
- The Constitution of Dominica gives the Parliament per Section 41, the sole authority to enact laws for the peace, order and good government [efficient running!!!] of Dominica”
- Per Section 51 of the Constitution, any Bill relating to our election laws must first be vetted and in Parliament for debate and subsequent adoption or rejection;
iii. The head of government has every right under the Constitution to solicit/contract expert advice in reviewing our electoral laws and to make recommendations, as necessary, which may include the repealing of the existing laws or parts thereof and replacing them with new provisions following broad/widespread consultation; and
- In exercising its function, the Electoral Commission is not subjected to the direction nor the control of any other person or authority.
The author is in full agreement with Mr. Clarence. In fact, one is genuinely pleased that for once there is no opposition to his relentless efforts to spin facts and to spread falsehoods in the media. There was nothing to fight Mr. Christian over. He understood that the PM has erred, unlike other DLP supporters who continue to massage the weekly Next Level falsehood that UWP and CCM have never been genuinely interested in electoral reform. We took note of the comment of a DLP commentator, who suggested that UWP and its agents are simply bent on ‘trying to poison the atmosphere before Sir Dennis arrives in Dominica to execute the second half of his XCD 450,000.00 task of reviewing existing reports on electoral reform in Dominia. Our hope remains that Sir Byron will not be appointed as the Chairman of the constitutionally constituted Electoral Commission as per the deliberate judgement of the President of Dominica. It is for this reason that we continue to engage in this civil and educational campaign to ensure that the views of all citizens, institutions and civil society are given due consideration as part of the electoral reform process. We understand that electoral reform cannot and shall not be limited to the views of Sir Byron and the Prime Minister. Electoral reform concerns all of us, Labourites, UWPites, Freedomrites, APPites, P-PODites and No-ites, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the smart and the dumb, and of course the political beauties and the beasts of the Dominican political landscape.
Electoral reform is not solely a government issue, especially as a lot of work has already been undertaken on the matter. The people are well aware of the issues and therefore any forced or false move by the Prime Minister and his cabinet must be met with great resistance. It is in this spirit that we say, let Sir Byron conduct his handsomely paid review of our electoral laws. Let him listen to the people. Let him compile and submit his report for consideration by the constitutionally constituted Commission and the general public. One can only hope that these recommendations will not be unduly influenced by the desires of the Prime Minister and his cabal but will be unbiased and informed by settled principles of law, international electoral best practices in a democracy as ours and reflecting the collective aspiration of the Dominican people. This is what we expect in a true democracy, where the onus ultimately falls on the citizens to drive the process of electoral reform.
Sir Byron cannot effect changes to our laws simply by making recommendations in a report. Any statement to the contrary would be furthest from the truth. The recommendations of the OAS, CARICOM, the Commonwealth and those of CCM, UWP, DFP, APP, P-POD, NGOs and the local business community must be given due consideration by the Electoral Commission before any legislative amendment is laid before the parliament. PM Skerrit may be the Pied Piper paying to direct the tune to which his political and legal agents dance but at the end of the day, it shall be up to Dominicans collectively to determine how our electoral laws are to be amended once all recommendations are in. The Prime Minister is fully aware that he erred in his earlier pronouncements on that matter. Rather than trying to mop up the negative impact of his reckless and arrogant utterances, his mouthpieces are out there justifying his statements and pushing the very same offensive amendments that the people have already expressed opposition to.
The leader of the People’s Progressive Party of Dominica (P-POD) once opined, “Fairer elections are possible in Dominica.” She is right. Dominicans are advocating and will continue to demand fairer electoral reform. Following the last three general elections, the need for such reform is seen as a must moving forward. In the words of the leader of P-POD, “the push must not be from the interest of political parties. It must be in the best interest of the general public and the state.” Electoral reform, therefore, must involve all of us not only the elites of the Skerrit Labour Party.
P-POD is right, if our election process is not free or fair, people will be discouraged from participating in the process, which will further compromise our shared democratic values. Therefore, “we must advocate for electoral reform empowering the electorate and providing a representative democracy that we all can be proud of…..we must focus on the integrity of our electoral process, that it is inclusive, free from fraud and intimidation and that it is fair to all.” I concur. Whatever we do in terms of legislative amendments to our electoral laws must be to enhance equality, equity, integrity, fairness, transparency and accountability in our electoral system.