DENNIS JOSEPH WEEKLY: V.O.T.E – Voice of the Electorate

Dennis Joseph

Democracy works only if the people are involved in it to make it work.   The soul of demo- cracy (people rule) is free and fair elections and so the mandate of those elected must be undoubted.   Unfortunately in the last elections of 2009 there is doubt over what actually happened and a feeling by opposition elements that they were shortchanged

Vincentian born GCH Thomas (1911-1994), wrote the thought provoking book ‘Ruler in Hiroona’ which was published in 1972.  This classic West Indian tale is about a very charismatic unemployable “smart man” named Jerry Mole who rose through the labour unions to the height of political power on a fictional Caribbean island of Hiroona, became totally corrupt. As time passed and eventually dramatically fell from grace. I have read the book twice and been properly amused once, because the second time got me thinking about it’s message.  At a point in the book, the main character is recruiting candidates for the elections and is about to influence another semi-illiterate into his ranks someone he can control.

He speaks to him this way “Ben forget the idea of reading and writing. There is nothing in the law to prevent a downright illiterate person from voting or from running for election, or from being appointed a cabinet minister if he is elected.   All you need to do is scratch something that looks like your name: and any illiterate adult can do that with a few hours practice, there is nothing to prevent us putting up a candidate as dumb as hell….the democratic idea of one man one vote is bull sh…; but for people like you and me it is good sh..”

At another point, “After all you have the Civil Service to lean on whilst you play boss to the civil servants, humiliate them, and favour and corrupt those of them who flatter you.”

GCH Thomas in the first pages of the book speaks out on Adult Suffrage in the West Indies.  He writes ‘Out of this milieu of constitutional advancement a new type of leader emerged – a leader with a sort of Moses complex, who appeared to regard the masses as oppressed Israelites….it encouraged the masses to put vague, charismatic considerations above intelligence, solid achievement and even integrity in estimating the worth of some of their political leaders.’  In. other words charm over substance.

Universal Adult Suffrage was introduced in Waitikubuli in 1951  giving  persons of at least a certain age  which was once 21, but during the Patrick John administration in 1975 changed to 18, the right to be part of choosing their government.  It is termed  government by the people and of the people.  What makes Adult Suffrage work is proper registration of all and only of all eligible to vote in accordance with the rules.

After  twelve or more general elections, the voters list is still seriously flawed and it is shamefully easy for anyone to come in from anywhere in the world and simply use a name perhaps of a homeless, sick or dead person on the register and be allowed to vote.  This is crucial as we have seen how one vote can determine a seat.  In 1985 the electoral list numbered 45,018 and 33,565 voted in a population of 72000.  Twenty  four years later in 2009, the list numbered 67,223 in a population of 70,000 with just 36,883 casting votes, which is a more than 47% increase in the number of voters on the list, but actual voters rose by a mere 10% over 24 years.  So where have all these people gone?  In 2009 nearly 31000 did not vote.  The likelihood is that they do not even exist or have gone to live somewhere else.
Overseas voters whose names were still on the list after 20 years absence walked in to the polling stations and voted last elections, then next day boarded a plane and flew away.

Political parties cannot be allowed to play with the registration process or elections are a waste of time.   Those who believe they benefit from it today will have a rude awakening when they find out nothing lasts forever.

In the 2005 Merina Williams Chief Elections Officer’s report she recommends ‘The introduction of electronic generated ID cards before the next election.’  The next elections came and went and still no ID cards.  There can be no ID cards unless the government wills it because this needs funding from the national treasury and so far neither the flesh or the spirit of this administration is willing.   ID cards can help level the elections  playing field but the strange thing is that the system allows that one of the players on the field is the one who pays the referee.

But if the soul of the democratic system  which is a parliament comprising members who are freely and fairly elected is flawed then there is something rotten in the State which can only spell troubled times ahead.

Below is an audio version of the above column.

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38 Comments

  1. ROSEAU VALLEY
    October 6, 2012

    Very few contributors have discussed the audio addition to this article. The addition of the audio is such a rich and nutritious cream on top of the delicious weekly chocolate cake served by Denis. I wish to extent congratulations to Mr. Joseph and DNO for this initiative.

    I read the article twice but when I played the audio three times on high volume at home, even the children were tune to it. A non-Dominica in the house was vey impressed. She commented favourably. The tone of the voice is simply captivating and professional. Excellent! Brilliant! Excellent…

    The Dominica Association of Persons Living with Disabilities should publicly commend Mr. Joseph and DNO for this initiative.

    Respectfully
    Roseau Valley

  2. ROSEAU VALLEY
    October 5, 2012

    Having given further consideration to the topic, I suppose that supporters and apologists of the government may be correct that per Section 37 of the House of Assembly (Elections) Act of Dominica, Chapter 2:01, “the ACT” – not much is required to be an eligible voter in Dominica. Therefore why the cry for Voter ID cards when all that is legally required is:
    – A person’s name is contained in the official list of electors;
    – the address and occupation which correspond so closely with the name, address and occupation of a person by whom a ballot paper is demanded as to suggest that the entry in the official list of electors was intended to refer to him;
    – that person shall, upon taking the oath in Form 26 and complying in all other respects with the provisions of this Act, be entitled to receive a ballot paper and to vote.
    – In any such case the name, address and occupation shall be correctly entered in the poll book and the fact that the oath has been taken shall be entered in the proper column of the poll book.
    Furthermore, Form 26 simply requires the taking of an oath pursuant to Section 37 that he/she is the person intended to be referred to in the list of electors and the individual merely swears that he/she;
    – is qualified to vote at the election
    – is not disqualified from voting thereat and
    – verily believes that the person intended to be referred to by the entry in the list of electors used at this polling station, of the name John Doe whose occupation is given as.. and whose address is given as … SO HELP YOU GOD.
    BUT COULD THIS BE ALL? No!

    The Electoral Commission established under Section 56 of the Constitution has the power under Section 74 of the Act to make Regulations to give effect to the provisions of the Act, which includes adding to, rescinding, varying of amending any of the forms contained in the Schedule of the said Act.

    Forms 27 of the Act is directly related to Section 37- “who may vote” and contains the Elector’s Oath of Qualification in which the elector must swear that he/she;

    1. is a citizen of the Comm. of Dominica of the full age of eighteen years. (a National ID, Passport, Social Security card or a valid driver’s license may suffice)

    2. has resided in the State for a period of at least twelve months immediately prior to the date of your registration as an elector. (a National ID does not suffice , Passport may suffice, Driver’s license will not suffice)

    3 is domiciled in the State and was a resident in [not of] the State at the date of your registration as an elector. (hence registering Dominicans overseas does not always satisfy this requirement)

    4. has resided in the (Roseau Valley) constituency for a period of at least six months prior to the date of his/her registration as an elector. (National ID, Passport, Driver’s License or Social Security cannot prove this)

    5. is not within any of the classes of persons who lack qualification or are disqualified by reason of crime or mental incapacity. (National ID, Passport, Driver’s License or Social Security cannot prove this)

    6. is not disqualified by any law in force in the State relating to offences connected with elections. (National ID, Passport, Driver’s License or Social Security cannot prove this)
    7. is not the returning officer for this constituency. (National ID, Passport, Driver’s License or Social Security cannot prove this)

    Only a specially designed Voter ID card can resolve all of the above. Whereas other forms of ID could satisfy some sections of the Elections Act such as Section 36, which calls for proof of qualification as an elector and as to the administration of oaths, so that if a person representing himself to be a particular elector applies for a ballot paper after another person has voted as that person, he shall be entitled to receive a ballot paper and to vote after taking the oath of identity, which is taken in Form 22 for that person must establish his identity to the satisfaction of the presiding officer, a Voter ID card with an expiration date would be best suited for such eventuality.

    I agree with Mr. James – No voter ID cards, no general election

    I swear …SO HELP ME GOD
    Respectfully
    Roseau Valley

  3. ROSEAU VALLEY
    October 5, 2012

    WHY WE NEED A VOICE OF THE ELECTORATE ID CARD

    Dennis has once again touched on a controversial issue affecting the most fundamental political rights of a citizen of Dominica. I would never have given the word VOTE such appropriate consideration as the VOICE OF THE ELECTORATE…brilliant!

    The issue of voting and the rights, responsibilities and benefits that accompany it is fundamental to the health and well being of our young democracy. Apart from its legal consideration there are numerous practical questions that accompany the concept. Voting in a democracy inevitable invokes the possibility of voter fraud. The use of special Voter ID raises legitimate concerns over its potential impact on the rights of citizens to vote. For example in the US, the argument is whether special voter ID laws prevent a particular demographic from voting more than others. However, this seems to be more of a real and practical issue in the US than Dominica. In the context of elections in Dominica, the claim that voter ID would discriminate or disenfranchise voters is not as real as it is in the US owing to the size, history and make up of the societies. They same arguments do not apply.

    However one may wish to slice the topic, everyone will agree that voting is a very important process for the health of our democracy. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that when we vote, it must be seen to be free and fair. To the extent that Voter ID cards would help in the process of injecting some transparency and integrity into our elections, then it must be one of our priority considerations for the next general elections as long as it is not a barrier to qualified Dominican Citizens in exercising their rights to vote.

    Let’s just be practical for a moment, for many routine, daily transactions, we are required to produce a valid identification. These are activities that are considerably of less importance than the constitutional right of casting a vote. The question then is why are our political directorate so eager to leave the gaps in place to facilitate real or perceived election fraud?

    Whether or not it can be proven, the last two elections in Dominica are still viewed under a thick and dark cloud of suspicion. Allegations of voter fraud continue to undermine voter confidence in our political leadership and government in general. Therefore, before we could think of holding another general election, special voter ID requirements must be one of our priorities as a direct and effective way of combating any perceived or real incidents of election fraud.

    Currently, we live in a Country where our government and Prime Minister may not be legitimate. We also have a president, who was unconstitutionally elected and we have had successive Police Chiefs who have been unconstitutionally appointed. All these leaders have a compelling interest in ensuring that the longstanding recommendations of the Electoral Commission are implemented in the honour of Don Christopher and for the good of all Dominica. Even if one does not share the view that the last two general elections may have been fraudulent, one can accept the logic that an electoral system will obviously have more integrity if voters are required to show proper identification.

    Dominicans must believe in the integrity of our voting system and Voter ID helps in raising the level of integrity required.

    Respectfully
    Roseau Valley

  4. Doc.Love
    October 4, 2012

    Observer and the red boyz like their leader always try to denigrate people whenever the truth is told. All Mr. Joseph was trying to is,”democracy works only if the people are involved in it to make it work. The soul of democracy(people rule)is free and fair elections and so the mandate of those elected must be undoubted.” Why cant them red fellars accept the truth for what it is.

  5. good
    October 4, 2012

    Great article. Dominicans don’t read what they should. Here is something to discuss, but there are no comments here. It is from this we get wise, it is from this we can start to refrain from the wild wild west lifestyle some of our people want to live. We need to understand what a “government” is. we need to learn about our constitution and our rights as a people, most importantly, we need to learn about our POWER as the VOTER!!! Don’t let it get too late!

    • Dominican
      October 4, 2012

      A comment was posted on this blog before lunch. It was not insultive, it was not slanderous or libellous, it was not misinforming either. I suppose the tone and context was not what DNO administration wanted.

  6. Trebs
    October 4, 2012

    DJ.

    You like Lennox do not seem to realise that Dominicans love the mess they are in. Happy as a pig in mud.

    Its like opening a nice restaurant and watching it quickly close down because of lack of patronage.

    Meanwhile the little shack with no running water, hygiene standards close to a pig sty, and drinks prices that change depending on who you are, is there forever.

    That is Dominica on a nutshell. It is the genesis of the 18-3.

    These people dont want ID cards nor do they deserve it.

    They deserve what they are getting now. The odd handout, enough ignorance and the promise of everlasting mediocrity with some rum and chicken in between.

    • Wash Brigadier 1979
      October 5, 2012

      LOL nice one…

  7. Anonymous
    October 4, 2012

    No system can answer the problems of man. Not demock-ratic, capitalist, communist, socialist only Jesus Christ can fulfilled the emptiness of man.
    Remember I did not say Pentecostalism, Catholicism, Methodism or any other “ism.” I said Jesus Christ!!

    • October 4, 2012

      Amen! To God be glory–not the denomination name of a social group which is called church.

  8. lovely dominica
    October 4, 2012

    Whats is this article trying to say? Stupes!

    • Met Yo
      October 4, 2012

      it’s ok to be dumb. But why display it by asking that question. Just leave it alone and go back to your facebook and youtube.

    • budman
      October 5, 2012

      your ignorance is shining.

  9. Observer
    October 4, 2012

    Is this the same Denis Joseph who was “the man with the master plan” under Patrick John? Is he the same person who was in the engine room of the party when the constitution was debated and agreed to back in 1977-1978?

    Is he aware that you can be away for 40 years and still able to vote in Dominica according to law? What “beef” then does he have with those who came to vote in 2009? Is he concerned about their legal status to cast a vote or he suspected that the majority of these overseas based voters who came to vote did not vote for his party of choice? Is that his issue? Why then is the inference that the only duly elected parliamentarians are those on his side. (He did not say that.Its my interpretation)

    Is he saying too that the fact they are resident overseas would disqualifies them from voting? Is he aware that when the UIWP was awash with money in the 1995 and 2000 general elections many overseas based Dominicans were encouraged and facilitated to come here and vote by both the UWP and the DLP? Is he saying he is not aware of that?

    Is Mr. Denis Joseph aware of the recent Appeals Court ruling in Nevis concerning the removal of names from the register of electors? Is he aware that it is law that once registered to vote it is not easy to remove a voter from the list unless that voter is allowed to be heard concerning who is objecting to their continued existence on the voters list and why they should remain on the lsts? Is he aware that the law provides that an elcetor can only be removed from the electors list after having remianied overseas for five consecutive years? Is he aware that even if in such a scenario the principle of natural justice must kick in? In such a situation the Nevis case stand tall. Is he aware that there is no system in place now to capture that kind of information about the longevity of someones absence form the state – long term or short term?

    Itcis one thing to agitate for a change in how society is run or governed. That is everybody’s prerogative. It is a completely different matter to relish in a given system of governance when your party or parties is in power but find fault (not with the system but with the incumbent party in power for following the same system you cherished) once you find yourself languishing in the opposition for many long years.

    We should as a people discuss the system of governance here. Let us never place at the foot of the ruling regime all the problems governanace as we see it simply because we fail to curry any favors with the leadership. For what it is worth (good or bad), the present leadership is only using the existing system to its advantage. other parties did the same when they had the opportunity. Whne the UWP had the opportunity to effect electoral change, they chose rather to jerrymander a number of constituencies. Even they began to agitate for electoral reform once outside of government they fail to include the issue of elctroal finacing to the list of demands.

    Can we dare seek to change the system of governance without laying all of the blame of such shortcomings squarely at the feet of PM Skerrit, however subtle our innuendos are? Our system is entrenched in law and every party in government used it to their advantage.

    Having said all this though, I beleive “no law no constitution, no lawyer” can stop Mr. Denis Joseph from expressing his views as freely as he sees it, so long as he remains within the straight and narrow confines of the law.

    A repentant sinner today had at some stage in life come to acknowledge his sins. He must never claim to have always been right and never at fault with his fellowman.

    Denis must first of all chronicle his many instances of supporting the misdeeds of Patrick John before pointing fingers at anyone else.Only then will he have the moral right to point fingers at wrong doing today. No one should ever attempt to prevent him from expressing himself as he wants. Ironically, in his heyday on the national stage of broadcasting, we had only DBS Radio to contend with for airing our views. History would have already recorded the sorry tale of the programming content. Even the Dominica Story, hosted by a prominent historian (but who belonged to Mamo’s Freedom Party) which was presnted in radio serial form was BANNED from DBS Radio. Yes! the man had a master plan

    • Nac Vibes
      October 4, 2012

      Whilst I do not know of the past political leaning of Mr Joseph as you seem to do, it is clear that your response only highlights your disliking of the writer.
      Your focus appears to be not of the actual substance, but on any past knowledge that would put the writer in bad light.
      You appear to be a so called educated person playing smart, but not being clever.

    • Free Thinker
      October 4, 2012

      Observer, why are you afraid of the Voters ID card. Is it because we are so smart in Dominica that we are the ONLY OECS country without it. The recommendations have been made for two consecutive election, let us do it and stop educating the public with your high tech ignorance.

    • ROSEAU VALLEY
      October 5, 2012

      Dear Observer,

      Roseau Valley has previously called upon you to wake up, stop observing and start analyzing the issues. I must commend you for trying to reach that high standard. However, your piece still falls short of discussing the substantive issues. You have unfortunately limited your intelligence to an emotional attack on Dennis. I read through your contribution and I was hoping that you would have at least spared one sentence focusing on the substantive issues raised by Dennis.

      Now, that you have written this piece, could you kindly let us know what you really think about the issues raised by Dennis without focusing on Dennis.

      Respectfully
      Roseau Valley

      • Observer
        October 5, 2012

        Roseau Valley man. If you believe in the following submission by Denis, then I too have no difficulty in believing what is written. “After twelve or more general elections, the voters list is still seriously flawed and it is shamefully easy for anyone to come in from anywhere in the world and simply use a name perhaps of a homeless, sick or dead person on the register and be allowed to vote.”

        UNFORTUNATELY, I KNOW OUR SYSTEM OF VOTING, LEGALLY AND PRACTICALY CAN TAKE CARE OF THAT SCENARIO.

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        October 5, 2012

        Actually, to a certain extent, I do agree with you. There are things that can be done to at least deter some of the practices that Denis has alluded to. I wish you had shared some of the legal and practical ways of dealing with those issues.

        I appreciate the civility and professionalism of the exchange

        Regards
        Roseau valley

    • Not a herd follower
      October 5, 2012

      ”Is he aware that you can be away for 40 years and still able to vote in Dominica according to law?”

      Which law is that?

      • Observer
        October 5, 2012

        The elections law in Dominica provides that you can still vote even if you were away for 40 years. As long as you do not stay away for more than five consecutive (straight) years without returning to Dominica not even for a funeral. Your name once on the voters list cannot be removed simply at the whims of the Electoral office or a party agitator or a radio talkshow caller etc. An elector’s name can be removed from the electoral list upon death of the elector or where there is overwhelming evidence to prove that the elector ought to be removed from the list. Even then the elector that is the subject of the removal of the name must be given a chance (NATURAL JUSTICE)to explain why his/her name ought not to be removed from the list. Then and only then can the name be removed. This is the law.

        We were so busy celebrating the Senior Counsel’s losing an election petition case in Nevis that we fail to recognize its implications for ongoing partisan eforts in Dominica to “cleanse” as it were the voters/electoral list.

        Yes, your mother, uncle, pawen or nenen (registered voters in Dominica)can remain in New York for 30 or so years and still keep their legal right to vote in Dominica. All they have to do is come to Dominica every four or so years and not allow five straight years to run before coming to Dominica. E.g. All those Dominicans who have been returning for Reunions, Creole Festival, Carnival, Christmas. Weddings, Funerals etc as long as their name was on the list before they migrated and have not remained away for five consecutive years, by law their names cannot be removed from the list. I suppose the King Chief Justice from Morne Daniel will find fault with the Appeals Court decision and blame Skerrit for that.

        I Hope I was able to ease your confusion over the issue of remianing overseas for forty years and still able to vote in Dominica.

        Now it is legitimate discussion for us to discuss the pros and cons of this legal provision. By all means let us do that. What we must not do is pretend or advance the view that this provision in law is as a result of Mr. Skerrit’s doing. Far from the truth.

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        October 6, 2012

        Observer, you may be correct, the elections law of Dominica provides that one can still vote even if he/she were away for 40 years. All that is required is that the individual should not stay away from Dominica for more than five consecutive years.

        However, I do not think that anyone is advocating that the name of a voter should simply be removed from the list at the whims of the Electoral office or a party agitator or a radio talks show callers as you have suggested.

        Of Course there must be due process of law. As we note from the St Kitts and Nevis judgment, an elaborate procedure must be followed that allows for natural justice as you have pointed out.
        This is why Observer- we need to cleanse the list by removing dead voters and to provide the opportunity to the living to present the appropriate evidence to prove that they should be on the said list.

        Again….the exchange is educational and informative.

        Thanks and respect
        Roseau Valley

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        October 6, 2012

        Oh!!.one more point Observer, I do not think the view is held that the current status of the law is the result of Skerrit doing. Indeed, this is the furthest from the truth, albeit truth and politics do not mix in the world of the Labour Party.

        The issue here is that Mr. Skerrit has found ways to abuse the process through bribery, purchase of votes, paying for tickets of thousands of nationals living abroad who had not visited Dominica for many years etc. This was and remains illegal…even though the pleadings were successfully challenged and struck out by the court.

        Respectfully
        Roseau Valley

    • Anonymous
      October 5, 2012

      You are a shameful apologist

  10. READER
    October 4, 2012

    Can someone explain why all the columnists (except one) who comment on political matters in the SUN, CHRONICLE and DNO write against the elected Government. Only the PRO of the DLP writes in a complimentary manner about the Government.
    Is that coincidence,biasness or a calculated effort to always portray the Government in a bad light?

    Admin: Dominica News Online (DNO) cannot speak for other media houses but we have invited the Dominica Labour Party, through its PRO, to contribute articles for publication on DNO. Our invitation was turned down. In the meantime our policy of providing the opportunity for the expression of different points of view on our site will continue as a core principle of our operations. Our offer to the DLP and other political parties in Dominica to avail themselves of that opportunity, remains.

    • LG
      October 4, 2012

      no matter the party in power, registered alive persons should present his/her voter card, sign in and vote; that way no duplication can be made on election day. Anyone know when next Diaspora meeting in NYC?

    • Free Thinker
      October 4, 2012

      The PRO of the DLP says there is no truth in politics and since he writes only on political matters, he lies. We need to go with what the others say

    • ROSEAU VALLEY
      October 5, 2012

      For the same reason Rappers sing of the violence around them in the ghetto. Country singers tell stories of their life experiences in song Calypso is call social commentary as most of the popular songs embrace the sentiments of the majority.
      Columnists are people who usually think critically, the more educated and the more objective (in general). They are not the ones who go to the red clinic and who are dependent on handouts, except for columnists who sing for their supper like the one the New Chronicle has thrown in the garbage bin for writing crap.

      Genuine columnists are telling the truth as they see it, while the government is serving a red beans soup of lies that Dominicans seem to be enjoying.

    • Dominican
      October 5, 2012

      I am not afraid of Voters ID Cards.I am however extremely concerned about well thought out plans to frustrate any voter (resident or non-resident alike)from exercising their franchise to vote according to their conscience. In this exercise the UWP plan has only one objective and that is to remove a large number of individuals, particulalry non-residents from the voters list.

      One of the arguments put forward by the proponents of Voter ID cards is to prevent or lessen the incidents of voter fraud. We have not had any recorded incidents of voter fraud in our elections as far as I can remember. The 2009 general electiosn has been been advanced as a example of a fraudulent election. I do not recall any action taken to bring to justice any one person who was accuded of being an illegitimate voter. Of course the accusations and allegations continue. But no real hard evidence has been advanced.

      The electoral system provides for checks and balances. The names of new voters are published every quarter. The list is posted in prominent locations for the scrutiny of the public. A final complete with all new additions and omissions of mostly the deceased are published for public scrutiny on September 30th in each year. As we dialogue, the September list has been published in every polling district and is awaiting public scrutiny. Here is an opportunity for the public including yourself to review the list and make recommendations for ommissions particularly of dead people and of those we know who have been absent from Dominica for five consecutive years. Now we must put our money where our mouth is and make representation to the Chief Elections Officer (not the other radio) about those we believe ought not to be on the list.

  11. budman
    October 4, 2012

    as usual, i liked the article.

  12. LATITUDED810
    October 4, 2012

    it apparently seems that we should disinfranchise dominicans overseas to please you.well this was just ruled unconstitutional in the courts of st.kitts.and it was just ruled unconstitutional to try and disinfranchise votes in the states by making it must to have voter id cards. and for your infromation which i believe you know already, the uwp paid flights to bring in dominicans that were overseas for 20 years to vote.the uwp have been doing that from since 1995 general election.the labour party will not sit like a fool and allow them to be blown away in order for people like you to get what you want.
    i guess your articles are the same topic every week,very monotous just like the uwp radio programme

    • Not a herd follower
      October 5, 2012

      For your information, the recent court case to which yoy refer was about the validity of the election of a Member of the Parliament of Nevis because of the actions of the electoral officers and not about the right of citizens residing overseas to vote.

      The law in Dominica states that voters residing overseas must visit Dominica at least once in a five year period to be eligible to vote.

  13. Truth B Told
    October 4, 2012

    Who does Dennis think he is fooling… he is not concerned with preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of our democracy as he claims. He is simply trying to create an issue where none exist, especially since there has never been a prosecutable instance of voter fraud in Dominica’s history.

    The UWP-led crusade for voter ID cards is simply a cynical ploy to disenfranchise Dominican voters. They seem to have a problem with free and fair elections and perhaps the idea of representational democracy in general.

    It is important to remember the reason the UWP has lost by increasing margins in the last three general elections is not because of any voter fraud it is simply that the majority of people are not voting for the united workers party. Their leadership should realize the UWP was removed from office, after only one term, because of their reputation for corruption and incompetence; it’s as simple as that.

    The call for voter IDs might be considered a plausible political issue, except for one fact: There’s no fraud to eliminate. It has often been said that voter ID cards are a solution in search of a problem. The only problem seems to be that too many of what the UWP considers the “wrong” kind of voters (hard-working, dedicated, Dominican patriots) are showing up at the polls.

    • just
      October 4, 2012

      Why is it that some people are so adverse to a voter ID. Can you board a plane without an ID? Can you get money from the bank without an ID? I guess we all live in your world of peace love and truth where nobody lies and nobody dies.
      Incidentally one vote cast illegally has the effect of putting in a government whose policies control your life, your tax, your gas price, your children’s education, drug policy. Need I go on or is it that all who oppose are the one gaining the advantage?

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        October 5, 2012

        Actually, it is not just Voter ID cards that they are against. They are against the rule of law PERIOD.

        We should also be reminded that FORM 12, referring to Section 15 of the Elections ACT with regard to the oath for nominating a candidate stipulates;

        “We, the undersigned, electors for the _[Vieille Case ]_ constituency do hereby nominate the following person [Roosevelt Skerrit] as a proper person to serve as a member of the House of Assembly for the said constituency and we certify that to the best of our belief he is qualified for election as a member of the House of Assembly under the conditions prescribed by [Sections 31 and 32] of the Constitution…”

        The above Sections refer to
        – being a is a citizen of Dominica of the age of twenty-one years or upwards
        – being resident in Dominica for a period of twelve months immediately before the date of his nomination for election or is domiciled and resident in Dominica at that date;
        – the ability to speak and, unless incapacitated by blindness or other physical cause, to read the English language with a degree of proficiency sufficient to enable him to take an active part in the proceedings of the House
        -ones disqualification if he is by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign power or state; etc. etc.

        By the same token in FORM 13, the Nominee takes the oath that he/she solemnly and sincerely declares that he/she is duly qualified to be elected as a member of the House of Assembly for this constituency and that he meets the criteria outlined in Section 31 and 32 of the Constitution including that he/she is not by virtue of his own act, under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience or adherence to a foreign Power or State.

        Do you see why they just hate our laws, our constitution, the rule of law, truth and everything associated with that?

        Respectfully
        Roseau Valley

      • Observer
        October 6, 2012

        What is wrong with an identity card that can be used for a myriad of other purposes including voting? Why do we need an ID card just for voting to be used for a single moment every five years? Isn’t it good economic sense to produce a national ID card that is available to national/citizen to use for many other reasons including to vote. If the argument is for a card to be used once for a fleeting moment in every five years at the Polling Station, then the call for a Voter ID card as promoted by the UWP is not to eliminate fraudulent voting. Their real intention is to eliminate the voters in the diaspora. Interestingly, the Thompson Fontaine’s Shirlye Bruneys and Gabriel Christians (avowed Dominicans, you can find no greater patriots)have not commented on this specific measure to prevent them from exercising their right to chose a government for Waitukubuli. I smell a rat with that campaign

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        October 7, 2012

        Observer, DNO may publish my response to your valid questions: What is wrong with an identity card that can be used for a myriad of other purposes including voting? Why do we need an ID card just for voting to be used for a single moment every five years?

        I noticed that my comments which were posted on Friday have not yet been published. In the event that my comments are not published, please see Forms 27 of the Elections Act, which directly relats to Section 37- “who may vote”. It contains the Elector’s Oath of Qualification in which the elector must swear to certain things.

  14. October 4, 2012

    Good observation on the state of our political situation.Great Book by GHC Thomas,it is a clear indication that politics is not anybody’s personal thing.The play by PAT was a real picture of carribean politics.where are them playrights that give PJ blows,what happen to the creative writers? there are enough materials today to do play after play,i guess they are waiting for an acting role in the government’s theatre?
    i have an idea floating in my head,but i would need an artist to draw for me.It is the ‘Dominica cow’and all the milkers and the feeders of grass,and the flies round the rare trying to get a smell of the manure,i will stop there.

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