Roseau, Dominica: Following the victory of the Dominica Labour Party in the snap general elections of 2022, Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit outlined his plans for the advancement of the electoral process and talked about its various aspects.
He stated that he is hoping that this is a new page in the history of the country and that there will be two essential fundamentals in the process of the electoral reforms.
- One National ID cards
- Two, the verification process to address the issue of the voter list
While talking in detail about electoral reform, PM Roosevelt Skerrit asserted that they had taken all actions to take electoral reform, and the missing trait was the approval of the parliament, the legislation to give the legal authority to the electoral commission to advance the process of the electoral reform.
Underscoring his commitment to the process of electoral reform, he stated that they were impacted by tropical storm Erika in August 2015. 90% of GDP was affected, hotels were washed away, all the bridges were washed away, and two communities were washed away.
“Our revenue dropped as tourism was affected and agriculture was affected. In 2016, we provided the entire resources to the electoral commission, which was worth $ 7 million. I do not think anybody faulted me in the set of the electoral commission, “said the prime minister.
PM Skerrit further asserted that this was a demonstration of extraordinary commitment, and also he invited the Commonwealth to review the legislation, and they gave them approval that they would meet the recommendation that they made.
He asserted that electoral reform and voting are such fundamental issues but people stated that he has the majority in the parliament. He mentioned, “But we need to have a broad base consensus on this issue. Because so many fought and died for their right to vote.”
PM Roosevelt Skerrit stressed that he will make sure that nobody can accuse him of lacking electoral reform as, by the next year, they will go into the parliament, they will pass the legislation, and will have a consultation come January for all the stakeholders.
Talking about consensus, he mentioned he considers Dominican public and has already written to the Commonwealth, OAS and CARICOM, asking for technical support to review the report Dennis Byron so that they could capture what they would recommend about the national best practices.
“Once they give approval from their point of view, and I have asked them to do very quickly, and we engage on this with various publics, “said the prime minister.
He announced that at the Easter of next year, they would certainly pass the legislation and start the process of issuance of national ID Cards and verification of the voter list.
He asserted that UWP had surrounded him with two topics corruption and two electoral reform. This is labour’s interest to set aside from electoral reform as once they have done it; there will be nothing to point out.
While commending the leaders of Team Unity Dominica, he cited that they appreciated them for their approach and constructive engagement.
He further extended a greeting to the two independent candidates who won Marigot and Salisbury constituencies. PM Skerrit stated that it clearly shows that the elections are free and fair and that the voter of Dominica exercises their right to vote.
“I want to congratulate all candidates of the Dominica Labour Party. I also want to congratulate the independent candidates and Team Unity Dominica. He also invited independent candidates to talk about the new course of the country. I will meet them to know their vision for the constituencies and what they can do for the development of the country,” said the prime minister.
“I will also conduct the meeting with the other candidates to discuss the national reset and will meet the leader of UWP. I also hope and pray that this election allows us new opportunities to have national resent and political discussions and engagement. We also should go back to the days when we fought hard in politics, and at the end of the day, we will be back as brothers and sisters.”
He also hoped that they can change the political atmosphere in the country. He commended the independent candidates and Team Unity Dominica candidates who decided to contest the elections.
He further thanked Peter as he has been their advisor in six straight elections. “I want to say that I believe in science and I do not only utilise Peter for the projections of the elections but also to know what’s in the people’s mind of Dominica about the policies of the government, “said the prime minister.
While appreciating Ashely Henry, he has been a political strategist for the party. He has been a political advisor to Rossie Douglas, Pear Charles and myself. There is no one in the Western Hemisphere who has a better understanding of politics and its aspects than Ashely Henry.
He also hopes that the University of West Indies and other universities in the region can tap into his intellectual and political thoughts so that we can reform the political scenario in the region.
PM Roosevelt Skerrit stated that the DLP-led government had achieved a lot as when it come to the government, only 44% of students had access to secondary schools and 3 years access to education. Dominica was limited to Russia and Cuba extended to world.
His government has flourished the country and various sectors such health and education and infrastructure improved.
“We have done a lot, provided access to housing, a number of things we have done and our response to the natural disaster. 90% of our economy was affected in 15 and 17, 226% in a matter of 2 years; everyone felt like Dominica was devastated beyond repair and reconstruction. And then the pandemic hit the world. We were standing as a small country without resources but still fought because of the longstanding spirit of all the people, “said the prime minister.
Outlining the other plans, he asserted that in the upcoming times, the country would see the development and upliftment of many projects, including the International Airport.
Dominica Labour Party secured a landslide victory after winning 19 seats out of the 21 in the snap general elections held on December 6, 202.