Emmanuel Allfrey Bala of Jaco Village
The so called “esteemed” Judge Byron was appointed by Skerrit to make recommendations for electoral reform on Dominica. In our homeland impoverished by a dictatorship, he was given $500,000 for a job that was already accomplished by the Concerned Citizens Movement, the Parliamentary Opposition, other Dominican civil society groups and civic leaders who have all made recommendations for electoral reform.
Byron threw up online a survey meant to trick Dominicans into believing he cares about our opinions. This deception has all the hallmarks of Skerrit and his evil scheming as it is open to all humans on earth with access to the internet.
I did the survey to let that disgrace for a judge know Dominica is a dictatorship in democratic garb. However the survey is useless for the following reasons:
1. The survey is open to all. That means the Iranians and Chinese who were sold passports can skew the results in their favor by affirming they should vote where they are.
2. There is no independent way to establish the integrity of the survey. That means the same people could vote multiple times.
3. There is no way to limit the vote to Dominicans on Dominica who are on the voters list, those born on Dominica, or linked to Dominica by birth or marriage – important criteria if we are to preserve our nationality.
4. Finally, Byron should be terminated and the $500,000 returned to the treasury for use in rebuilding the national library as the OAS, Commonwealth, Caricom and Dominican civil society organizations have already outlined what is needed to ensure proper electoral reform:
1. Cleansing the voters list of the dead and nonresident
2. Imposing campaign finance reform.
3. Implement voter ID cards
4. Enforce strict residency requirements that all voters must have lived in the constituency for six months prior to each poll.
In summary, my view is that we should have:
Publicly Funded Elections:
All national election campaigns should be funded by a $50,000 cap from public funds. No live entertainment should be allowed – canned music is fine.
All Candidates and Electors Must Pass an Exam:
All potential candidates should sit and pass an examination on our constitution, basic electoral laws, civics, local history, and ethics in government before being nominated.
All persons in the electors roll should be administered a basic test in civics so they can appreciate what is required of citizenship and governance in the public interest
The exams to be designed by a bipartisan board of educators, scholars and lawyers called the Dominica Electors Exams Council.
A Mandatory System of Election Town Hall Meetings and Debates:
It must be made mandatory that a series of town hall meetings, panel discussions and debates among the candidates be held – to include mandatory participation by students from age 8 and upwards. In almost twenty years Skerrit has refused every opportunity to debate. All he does is to provide circuses to the masses, arrogantly shout at, or insult the intelligence of our people.
Reduce or Eliminate the Expense of Needless Campaign Gear:
Voters may buy their campaign paraphernalia. None is to be provided free of charge.
No use of state vehicles or other resources for electoral purposes.
No campaigning by civil servants or police officers.
No wearing of party colors in government offices as it encourages bias.
Let blue, green and red be free to be used by every one on island as it used to be when we grew up on island. Colorism represents the death of liberty.
A ban on party colors. Dominicans have been turned in partisan tribes while civil debate is minimal or totally absent.
Let us never again segment our nation by appealing to such simplistic notions while we fail to discuss national development policy or civic duty.
Colorism must die for Dominica to be a truly free and democratic nation.
There must be free access to state media by eligible parties during the campaign on an equal time basis. Current elections on Dominica are marred by bribery, treating, bacchanal and booze that makes mockery of our intelligence as a people and allows semi-literate and dishonest politicians to bamboozle our citizens with their often discordant voices.
We are a small nation with intelligent people and a noble history. Let us so raise the bar so that no foreigner can come into our nation and walk on us, misuse us, steal from us, sell us rotten goods, while imposing a dictatorship and fostering poverty and mendicancy in our land.