PM Roosevelt Skerrit announces free airtime on state station for opposition candidates

Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit announced that all the nominated candidates for December 6 general elections will get free advertisements and promotional spots at the radio stations of Dominica.

ROSEAU, DOMINICA:  Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit announced that all the nominated candidates for December 6 general elections will get free advertisements and promotional spots at the state radio station in Dominica.

The government of Dominica received huge appreciation as it is said to be a landmark move that has been taken for the first time in the history of politics here.

During the public meeting on Wednesday, PM Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit cited, “I called the general manager of DBS (Dominica Broadcasting Service) radio today, and I said to him that DBS needs to call independent candidates in this election and to offer them free airtime to promote themselves as candidates in this election.”

He continued, “They will get x number of ads every day until election day, at no charge to them, to ensure they can have access to the people of Dominica to say what they will do…for them in Dominica.

There are numerous radio stations and other media outlets in the Commonwealth of Dominica. The opposition always had a full chance to get broadcasted on these platforms. The government of Dominica never forbids any opposition official to have access to the media.

However, various candidates who have been nominated for December 6 general election complained of a lack of funding. They expressed that they find difficulty in spread their message across the country. Due to low budgets, they were unable to purchase campaign promotional spots even on private stations.

Dominica witnessed the nomination of 45 candidates for the general elections which is the highest in over a decade. The country has never recorded such a massive number of candidates. PM Roosevelt Skerrit stated that the nomination of candidates in such as big number will give more options to voters.

He noted, “The people of Dominica who are qualified to contest the elections under our constitution have put their hands up, and they have gone to get nominated and we have 45 candidates in the 2022 general elections, more than 2019 and more than 2014 – even though some parties say they are not running.”

A slew of independent candidates and at least two small parties filed their nominations on November 18, 2022, despite the call of a boycott of the polls by the considered main opposition United Workers Party.

Every general election held in Dominica since independence 44 years ago has been declared by observers as free and fair.

The UWP declared to boycott the election after claiming the lack of reformation in the electoral process, but critics have condemned their decisions. The analyst directed that it is merely an excuse to protect their image. The party which has no leader and seeks to elect one this weekend decided to back off from the polls due to unpreparedness after the snap poll was called.

During the current campaign, Prime Minister Skerrit has also indicated that he will also propose, as is the case in some countries in the Caribbean, that independent senators representing churches, business communities, farmers, and trade unions be nominated for the next parliament to give opportunity for varying views in the community.

Greta Roberts, the DLP candidate for Grand Fond said this week at a public meeting in the rural east, “We fully understand that the coming period will bestow upon us a special opportunity to govern; one that we will have to accept with humility and with respect.

She said: “By the Grace of God, we believe that the hour of our greatest triumph cometh; but the winner shall not take all, because we will bring along with us people of different opinions and different positions.”

Anglina Byron

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