Roseau, Dominica: The call for snap general elections by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in Dominica has gained support from regional leaders. The announcement, which sparked controversies and debates among the people, has now come into the reflections of various regional leaders.
While giving the nod to the decision of PM Roosevelt Skerrit, regional leaders expressed that the election is not fraudulent, nor illegal, as it is constitutionally correct. They stated that the ongoing controversies are baseless as there is nothing to point out in the announcement of snap general elections.
As a matter of fact, leaders highlighted that neither PM Roosevelt Skerrit is the first PM who has called the elections before the due date, nor Dominica is the first country to witness the snap polls. If it would be the first time, even then, there was no point in raising any questions over the decisions as it is PM’s constitutional right. The call of the snap election is nothing new in the Caribbean.
They asserted that voting is people’s right and it is the duty of the ruling and the opposition party to be ready for the elections. Hence, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is constitutionally right, and the decision should never be surrounded by controversies.
Further, the regional leaders have also cited examples of the countries which have called snap general elections. Barbados, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis and many more have witnessed the elections before the due date. Prime Ministers of these countries have used their constitutional right, and the opposition has participated.
The leaders backed PM Skerrit and directed the call to snap general elections is not illegal/fraudulent, illegitimate, but it is right by the constitution. The action of the Prime Minister must be seen as the use of his constitutional power.
PM Skerrit has not acted against the electoral process of the Caribbean. The appeal of the electoral reform should be given at the place where people are restricted from casting their votes. The reform should be made at the place where opposition candidates are not given a chance to file their nomination or are restricted from campaigning.
Apparently, nothing is happening like that in Dominica, as candidates are free to contest their votes, and there is no evidence that persons are likely to have been prevented from voting for the candidate of their choice. The necessary ingredients for a free and fair election appear to be present in Dominica; however, the claims of electoral reform are groundless.
Moreover, the leaders expressed pleasure and stated that Dominica has also witnessed the nomination of 45 candidates larger in over a decade, which has clearly shown that democracy is alive and well in the country. The opposition candidates are also receiving free air time on media outlets of the country which is a historic decision.
The leaders have also bashed the opposition’s decision to boycott the elections. They stressed that the action of the opposition could be seen as illegal or fraudulent because they had killed the spirit of the voters and had failed in their core duty.
However, the call for snap general elections has created an alarming situation for the opposition as due to their inability to gain the trust of the people; they are now indulging in violent practices.
Due to their indecent behaviour, police in Dominica warned that they would not tolerate any attempt to block entry to polling stations during Tuesday’s snap general elections.
The warning was issued by the Deputy Police Commissioner, Lincoln Corbette, during the press conference on Friday. He stated that the law enforcement authorities had been put on alert for possible misconduct on election day, warning that persons arrested would face the full brunt of the law.
He cited,” “It has come to the attention of the Dominica Police Force that members of the public will be engaging in criminal actions, namely the blockage and or obstruction of polling stations in Dominica on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 that is election day.”
Corbette warned that that anyone found guilty is liable to a fine of EC$400 (and or six months in jail. He mentioned that apart from going to vote, there should be no assembling of people within 100 yards of a polling station.
Meanwhile, Peter, appearing on the state-owned DBS radio, asserted that holding snap elections is nothing new in the Caribbean as there are many examples of snap polls in the region.
“The Constitution provides that general elections have to be held within five years of the first sitting of the Parliament,” he said, stressing the Head of State may act at any time to prorogue or dissolve Parliament “in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.