Roseau, February 7, 2023 – The Electoral Reform Coalition (ERC) is very concerned about blatant attempts by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to insert himself in the electoral reform process and his continued engagement with Sir Dennis Byron, the consultant engaged to review and advance the electoral reform process, in an attempt to influence the process in favor of the ruling Dominica Labour Party.
The ERC recognizes the responsibility of the government of Dominica is to provide the financial resources for the activities of the Electoral Commission and to present legislation related to the electoral process to the parliament, however, the Prime Minister as the direct beneficiary from the electoral laws, has no other authority over the electoral process and he must be told in no uncertain terms to stay away from the works of Sir Dennis Byron and the constitutional responsibilities of the Electoral Commission.
Roosevelt Skerrit has demonstrated blatant disrespect to the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the international community by calling two general elections within three years in defiance of legitimate requests for
electoral reform. His last act of such blatant disrespect was the sham general elections of December 6, 2022, which saw a turnout of only 15,114 voting for the Dominica Labour Party from a bloated electors list of 74,895 voters or 20.18% of the registered voters.
Roosevelt Skerrit must accept the people’s repudiation of his despicable behavior and must stay away from the electoral reform process.
The Electoral Reform Coalition ERC has remained engaged following the December 6, 2022, sham general elections and will maintain its consistency in the fight for comprehensive electoral reform for Dominica. The group continues to meet, plan and strategize on the way forward to achieve the long-awaited electoral reform.
Since the sham elections and understanding that Sir Dennis Byron has submitted his report and draft legislation to the Electoral Commission, the sole authority on electoral matters in the Commonwealth of Dominica, the ERC has written to the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Mr. Duncan Stowe, requesting a copy of Sir Dennis Byron’s report and for it to be made public. Mr. Stowe has failed to acknowledge receipt of the ERC’s correspondence and has ignored the request to make the Byron report available. Based on Mr. Stowe’s behavior, he has proven to be unfit to continue to hold the chairmanship of the Electoral Commission, and the ERC appeals to His Excellency the President of the Commonwealth of Dominica to desist from reappointing Duncan Stowe as chairman of the Electoral Commission when the term of the commission ends on February 7, 2023.
The ERC is convinced that Sir Dennis Byron is well aware of the fact that though he was engaged by the Prime Minister and his services were paid for by the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica, that he is not responsible to Roosevelt Skerrit and the Dominica Labour Party. In understanding his responsibility Sir Dennis Byron, according to his report, waited until the Electoral Commission was duly constituted before he started his contracted assignment.
Therefore, any discussions with Roosevelt Skerrit in his capacity as Prime Minister or leader of the Dominica Labour Party must either be reciprocated with the other parties involved in the electoral process or the contents of the consultation must be made public. Otherwise, the integrity, impartiality, transparency, and objectivity of Sir Dennis Byron shall be compromised and will continue to complicate the electoral reform process. Secret discussions with Roosevelt Skerrit are unacceptable.
The ERC commends the many Dominicans, at home and abroad, who supported its efforts and in particular the voters who boycotted the December 6, 2022, sham general elections, by staying away from the polls. The work of the ERC will depend highly on the continuous support and contribution of the Dominican people at home and abroad. The ERC appeals to the people of Dominica to support all efforts aimed at achieving proper electoral reform and commend the organizers for the protest activities planned for the opening of the new parliament on Tuesday, February 7, 2022. The ERC reiterates that Roosevelt Skerrit must stay away from the work of the electoral commission, the duly constituted authority of elections in Dominica.