Roseau, Dominica: Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit urged the Dominicans to read the report on the electoral reform as it is still engaging. He said that the report is groundbreaking for Dominica and for the OECS.
During the public consultation on the report of Sir Dennis Byron, he said that there must be a proper reading of the report as it will benefit everyone and laws implemented effectively in real practice. He said that the Dominican public will have to what eventually they will take to parliament that they feel would be appropriate to culture, nuances, and circumstances.
“I’m saying to political organizations and independent candidates that we have to pay particular attention. For example, if you look at the issue of campaign finance, you recognize that the thought process of the drafters is incomplete because there are many gaps that one would have to look and pay attention to.”
While emphasizing the proper reading of the draft, PM Skerrit said that in order to achieve the desired objectives of the drafts of this registration, political organizations and independent candidates especially need to pay particular attention to the impositions of the law.
He further noted that there are people who have ideological and philosophical views about these things. But he said that they have to be careful when they legislate philosophy and ideology because it has to be a pragmatic and practical operation.
With respect to campaign financing, PM Roosevelt Skerrit said,” Philosophically, we are not prostrate. We think it is an inspirational thing to be engaged in. But you have to look at how you implement it in Dominica. What the legislation will contain that will cause it to make sense and allow it to be implemented in Dominica.”
While looking at the issue of residency in the Caribbean context, PM Skerrit said that all citizens in the quote-unquote diaspora or overseas are in North America and Europe. Many of them have to survive and have to engage themselves in two jobs.
If they work in one place, they have to do double shifts as a maintenance man in the daytime and security at night. When there were 90 days of the requirement of residency to exercise a franchise that many people died to achieve and to earn in Dominica, they may not have been bloodshed, but people were denied from an economic standpoint to be able to vote in America back in the days, the prime minister continued.
“With 90 days, we are saying that we accept that for you to vote in Dominica, as a Dominican overseas, that you must be, you must be rest in Dominica for 90 days, over the fifty, over the five, year period just to vote,” said the prime minister.
Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit outlined five critical elements of the electoral reform while citing,” Constitutional amendments. Those of us who say that we’ve been 14 years, we’ve been asking for these constitutional amendments, and we’ve seen the history in the Caribbean. There are many countries in the Caribbean kind of get to CCJ as their final court. Because they have to go through a referendum, and some ever tried it, and they failed on CCJ.”
He further added that people often make a comment about integrity and truth and trust and all these things, that’s fine. That’s all part of democracy. “We are free to see what is true. But for us to arrive at a complete conclusion, we must not come and read reading poetry; the reality is we have documents before us.”
He further added that he received documents on June 10; by June 12, it was in the hands of the Dominican public. “I hadn’t even had a chance to read it myself. And I placed it in the hands of the Dominican public within 14 hours of its availability, and it is available for every Dominican to read,” said the prime minister.
Emphasizing reading the report, PM Skerrit said that everyone has to take their time and read this. He said that if they want to be honest with the country, let’s read the document.