The Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) has stressed that proceeding with proposed amendments to the electoral laws in Dominica would be an error which could result in civil unrest.
In a statement from its General Secretary, Thomas Letang, on Wednesday, the DPSU also welcomed the decision to suspend parliamentary debate on the matter.
“It is the considered view of the DPSU that to proceed with the amendments to the Act would be an error which could result in a much-divided nation, and civil unrest,” Letang said.
Recently protests were held near Parliament where bills to amendment Dominica’s electoral Acts were expected to be read. The protesters said they were against amending the laws since it would legalise treating and bribery. Debate on the matter was subsequently suspended on the grounds of public safety.
Letang said the DPSU has been paying close attention to and evaluating with much concern the recent development, including the protest near parliament against the proposed amendments.
“Opponents to the proposed amendments advance the position that it intends to prejudice and limit the interpretation of certain sections of the said Act regarding bribery and treating,” he said.
He added, “The benefits to the country if any at all, of the intended changes to the Elections Act, will be grossly overshadowed by the deleterious impact it is likely to have on our beloved sovereign democracy, Dominica. Further, such action appears to have the potential of compromising our constitutional means of electing a Government, by corrupting the process thus inflicting electoral bias and injustice upon us.
Letang called on all Dominicans to put aside political affiliations and address the matter.
“Having taken all arguments into consideration the DPSU appeals to all citizens, to set aside political partisanship in addressing this matter. While the DPSU supports the need for electoral reform, we believe that any such reform should aim at advancing and improving our democracy and providing an equal, just and fair opportunity for all political parties,” he stated.
He stated that the DPSU welcomes the move to suspend debate on the matter and called on the government to abandon it all together.
“The DPSU welcomes the move by the Government to suspend debate on the proposed amendment to the Act, but we implore that they take the honourable step and totally abandon their intention to proceed with the amendment,” Letang stated. “We further solicit the support of other right-thinking persons to join us in this just call.”