The United Workers Party (UWP) made good on its promise to boycott this morning’s sitting of parliament in which Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt presented the 2010/2011 budget.
The UWP and almost 200 supporters, undeterred by the restrictive barrier manned by members of the security forces, led a peaceful picket in response to the government’s decision to leave out provisions for voter identification cards.
Speaking at the boycott, Opposition Leader, Hector John, called the government’s decision “disrespectful” to the Dominican public.
He said, “Our message today is to have a peaceful protest on the issue. You cannot have a budget discussing national advancement or democracy and not have an issue as electoral reform being addressed. That issue is front and centre, in terms of advancing democracy in the country and [you not addressing it], that is total disrespect to the people of Dominica.”
John believes that this decision to stay out of parliament is the best way to keep the public informed about the issue and the government’s disregard for the issue.
He added, “We would like to be in parliament, but we cannot go inside there. The UWP was in parliament from 2005-2009 and now we are before the court and fined over $200,000 for standing up and asking questions for and on behalf of the people of Dominica. And that is why we took the stand to stay out or parliament, get the message across and we are getting the message across.”
Meanwhile, there was a small scuffle between a few protesters and the police at a road barrier near the Inland Revenue Division when the police confiscated the speakers to a PA system, which the UWP was setting up in an attempt to make speeches.
No one was hurt or detained for any length of time and a second system was brought in for the remainder of the protest.