Attorney-at-law Cara Shillingford-Marsh is suggesting that a constituency for members of the diaspora should be established. She made the disclosure on Monday night, during one of a series of consultations on electoral reform which took place at the Goodwill Parish Hall.
“The people who have to deal with the healthcare system, the education system, they are the ones who should vote and determine which government, which group of people should govern them,” she said. “Additionally, I have no difficulties with members of the diaspora, they contribute, they love Dominica. But I do not believe they should determine which government rules over us, people who are on the ground.”
Shillingford-Marsh continued, “I think that a solution to this problem is to create a constituency for members of the diaspora, so that they could have a say. There would be a diaspora constituency so that they can vote and their vote will go towards that constituency.”
Furthermore, she pointed out that on the issue of whether there should be a five-year limit or whether it should be increased to 10 years for Dominicans living overseas to be eligible to vote, “I fully support that it should remain as five years, because that is in the interest of democracy.”
“Yes, we have siblings, we have families overseas who might be sending things for us every Christmas and visiting two weeks a year, but they are enjoying the healthcare system in their country, the education system in their country, the roads and magnificent bridges in their country and they just visit every now and then,” she remarked.
Meanwhile, she said a voter ID card is needed to secure the country’s democracy.
“On the issue of voter ID cards or national ID cards what we have to consider is with a national ID card everyone who is a citizen, who is a national will be entitled to this national ID card, just as you are entitled to your passport, your social security card, you will be entitled to a National ID Card,” Shillingford-Marsh explained. “If we are talking about securing democracy it’s a voter ID card that we need.”
The consultation moved to the Will Strathmore Steven Primary School in Marigot on Tuesday night.