Press Release
November 15, 2022
Dominica Opposition, Civil Society reject snap election

A group of opposition parties and civil society organizations in Dominica have in a public statement condemned the decision of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to call a snap election for December 6 and have appealed to Dominicans home and abroad to join them in the rejection.

In the statement dated November 9, the group, which includes the parliamentary opposition United Workers’ Party (UWP), the Dominica Freedom Party and the National Joint Action Movement along with several civil society organizations, described the action by the Prime Minister as “an insult to the people f Dominica, gross disrespect for the international community, an abuse of power and trampling on the Dominican democratic system”.

The UWP, which holds three seats in the 21-seat Dominica Parliament, has already stated that it will not contest the December 6 poll, and would only participate in further elections if there is prior electoral reform. The joint statement said that Dominican citizens have been engaged in “intensive discussions on the electoral process” over more than 8 years now and referred to concerns expressed by the Organization of American States (OAS), the Commonwealth Secretariat, CARICOM and the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on the matter.

It listed as the major concerns of Dominicans, the inefficiency and lack of transparency of the electoral process which it claims gives “unfair advantage to the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP)” which it says allows it “to manipulate elections” in its favour.

The group said that following disputes in the last three general elections, PM Skerrit had announced on election night 2019 that a Commission on Electoral Reform was to be set up and such reform instituted before the next elections.

The government, it said has not only appointed a one-man Commission in the person of respected jurist Sir Dennis Byron, allegedly paying him some $650,000 but is not even waiting for the report.

It has issued a strong call for an end to “the abuse of power”, for a reversal of the decision to dissolve Parliament, and immediate action to facilitate the electoral reform process. It has pledged to “pursue all avenues including legal, international and other appropriate to allow common sense to prevail.

Meanwhile another Dominica civil society organization, the Nature Isle Dominica Civil Liberties Foundation, has also condemned the move to call the snap election.

In a press statement dated Sunday Nov.13 it expressed “grave concerns” over the move to hold elections “on the very eve” of the delivery of the Report of the Byron Commission”.

The Foundation describes itself as a non-partisan organization, “committed to “the rule of law and the democratic way of life”. It said that while its primary mandate is to assist in seeking judicial redress for individuals, communities and institutions, it “cannot remain silent in the face of what is a cynical and calculated attempt” by the Prime Minister to remain in power.

It also made reference to allegations that “thousands of Dominicans living abroad” were brought in to vote in previous elections and the worry that, given that Dominica has sold some 25,000 passports to foreigners, this can be an undesirable factor in the elections.

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