“People want hope, not opportunism,” says Dominica Diaspora

Some people in the diasporan community of Dominica are divided into segments over the recent call made by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for a snap general elections.

Dominica Labour Party Rally during 2021
Dominica Labour Party Rally during 2021

Roseau, Dominica: Some people in the diasporan community of Dominica are divided into segments over the recent call made by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for a snap general elections. Each person has their distinct point of view; while many have welcomed the decision, there is only a handful challenging it, mostly on social media.

After Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced a snap general election on 6 November 2022, social media is flooded with positive and negative reflections of opinions regarding the decision. Mainly, a periodic group of people is awake from hibernation and instantaneously attacking the Government.

The same individuals who have been secretively benefiting from all the programmes and policies created for locals are now suddenly finding a fault in the island’s functionality. With no contribution to their own communities in the pre and post-pandemic period or ethically giving monetary contributions to for the development of any playgrounds, homes, or schools, such people are now finding the overall structure dissatisfactory. The cynics are aiming to develop a mindset which is oppositive to the ground reality.

Dominican Diaspora Rejected UWP citing lack of efforts during period of emergency
Dominican Diaspora Rejected UWP citing lack of efforts during period of emergency

In December 2019 elections, three members of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) also succeeded in winning their respective constituencies in Dominica. But, how much work has progressed in their parliamentary constituencies still remains a matter of discussion.

The parliament representatives of UWP have been sitting ideally for the past three years, enjoying the monthly salary and other benefits being credited to their bank accounts for holding the position. But, not even a single one of them actually provided any support during times of crisis. With the most recent catastrophe for Dominica being the COVID-19 pandemic, besides the Government, no other individual neither from the opposition nor from the diaspora came to rescue the people. Surprisingly, instead of creating awareness among people about the government-run social programmes and policies, the members of the opposition remain silent, while running away from responsibilities.

The Government continued delivering for the people by strengthening the health sector, building resilient housing infrastructure, roads, bridges, care packages and support during the pandemic. Dominica was among the first nations in the Caribbean which not only managed to procure vaccines for its citizens and residents but also shared with other sister nations to support them in immunizing their vulnerable population.

It is certainly the first government that started delivering the promises on its manifesto within the initial few months of re-winning the elections, such as the beginning of construction work on the International Airport and advanced medical infrastructure at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Roseau, among others.

To understand what is going on in the minds of the wider diaspora community of Dominica, our correspondent interacted with a few individuals who expressed their views on the government and the announcement of elections.

Another person named Gabrielle Fontaine said about some diasporans criticising the snap elections, “The people who are criticising are the same ones who have never gone back to their home; they have been a thousand miles away, talking on the phone with a bunch of UWP people and creating some false scenarios in mind, just defaming our motherland on social media. People want hope not opportunism like opposition.”

“Currently, Dominica is receiving a major facelift. There is so much more infrastructure development happening in the country than anybody has ever seen before. The progress can be physically felt if a person is walking around the island; you can see new homes, schools, and health centres in every district; you know the good has started happening on our island,” said ex-social welfare worker named Steve George.

Another person from the United Kingdom said in anonymity, “The United Workers Party knows they are losing; they came down to three seats last elections, and this year they knew three was going to turn to zero, so instead of getting insulted, they chose just to back away and be useless in peace like they have always been.”

One more person from the US said that they have been closely following the campaigning and are happy with the announcement of new and young candidates for snap general elections, “It is important to have a team of young people who can understand the needs of youth better, and creating policies.”

PM Roosevelt Skerrit addressing people before 2019 elections.
PM Roosevelt Skerrit addressing people before the 2019 elections.

The interaction with the diaspora by our correspondent helped us to understand that the opinion of two or three individuals on a social media platform does not define the ground reality. As the election approaches, our team will continue working to bring the reality to our readers and viewers.