COMMENTARY: Our democracy, our economy and our future are in peril

Close to the pump after hours waiting in line for gas. December 2022

Dominicans have enjoyed universal suffrage since 1951. That means that even before Dominica gained its full independence from Great Britain in 1978, Dominicans over the age of 18 had the right, the privilege to vote, no matter who they were, how much money they made or the color of their skin.

Our first elections as an independent country were in 1980. The great Dame, Mary Eugenia Charles, known locally as “Mamo”, became the first female Prime Minister in the Caribbean. One of Mamo’s fundamental principles was freedom of the press and this was one of the core foundations on which she built her party, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP). When The Dame retired from public life after 15 years of leading and building Dominica from the hurricane-ravaged island she had inherited into a more thriving nation, the United Workers Party won a narrow victory in 1995. Elections followed as per our constitution every five years – in 2000 (when the Dominica Labor Party established a coalition with the Dominica Freedom Party to form the new government) and 2005, shortly after Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was appointed prime minister of Dominica in 2004 as a result of the death of his predecessor, Pierre Charles.

In 2009, PM Skerrit won a comfortable victory, but 2014 was likely an election year that the Prime Minister will remember well. If I had to guess, I believe it is where his strategy to call snap elections first germinated. Only 2% more Dominicans showed up to vote that year than in 2009, but the labor party lost 3 seats. Losing 3 seats was a big deal, a clear message that the Prime Minister’s party was losing traction. So, in 2019, PM Skerrit called a snap election and regained his political footing. And about a couple of months ago, he took this a step further, and capitalizing on the weakness of the opposition party who had just lost their leader via resignation, not only did he call a snap election, but called it TWO years before it was constitutionally due. This is not a leader who is confident about his popularity or has faith that the people will reelect him; this is a leader who knows that in spite of the many Dominicans who show up in the signature red T-Shirts at Labor Party meetings, that he remains unpopular with a wide range of the population – if we based it on just the voters of the 2019 election, that’s at least 43% of the people.

Dominica had an active and engaged voting population at the onset. The average voter turnout from elections starting in 1980 to 2005, was 67%. The average voter turnout since Prime Minister Skerrit has been in power has been 11% lower (56%). That excludes the most recent elections where only ~32% of Dominicans showed up to vote. Why are less Dominicans showing up to vote? Have our people become more disillusioned? Are Dominicans feeling more disenfranchised? The most recent snap election and a highly questionable electoral process led to a limited number of Dominicans voting and deficient participation by the two primary opposition parties and suggest that we do indeed have a problem in Dominica: our democracy is in peril. Snap elections have become the strategy of the Prime Minister, a strategy employed to disenfranchise Dominicans, to curb our voices, our power, and to increase his.

Dominica isn’t flourishing. We may have better roads than we did when Prime Minister Skerrit took office in 2004, but we haven’t moved forward as a country in the ways that matter most. Ask most Dominicans (not the small percentage of bourgeoisie in their gated homes and who own multiple vehicles and half of the businesses in Roseau, but the average Dominican, the backbone of our nation, the taxi drivers and the farmers, and fishermen, and you can also ask the ones working in the banks too, and the teachers and the nurses etc.) and many of them will tell you that they are struggling; many, many Dominicans struggle to make ends meet, struggle to thrive. Recently, I stood in line for HOURS waiting for gas with a “bidon” in hand, alongside fellow Dominicans, due to a gas shortage created in part by Rubis’ exit from Dominica, which has drastically reduced the gas supply and availability on the island. A gentleman in the line behind me said “Alas, this is how we have come in Dominica; like we are begging.” I watched long lines of people and vehicles waiting for gas for days on end, tangible proof that our very livelihoods, our productivity, our economy are in peril.

Dominica slowed down as lines of cars around the island waited for gas 

In 2020, PM Skerrit told Dominicans “I need about 40,000 more people in Dominica. And I am concerned about this ‘one-child, one-child boom that we are having in Dominica.” Between emigration to more economically vibrant countries and Dominicans having less children (how can most people on the island afford any more!), Dominica’s population has decreased by at least 4% since our first election in 1980. In neighboring islands like Barbados, Grenada, and St. Lucia, populations have grown by 14%, 27% and 56% respectively, over the same timeline. Our household poverty rate of 27% is higher than it was in 1995. The most updated data I could find (from 2020), checked it at 29%, attributing it in part to the recession in the banana industry (as our farmers can attest to). In 2021, UNICEF noted that the poverty rate of young people in Dominica (34%) was higher than the average of the Eastern Caribbean (33%). Dominica is also less safe than it used to be. Our homicide rate has been rising notably over the years and Dominicans FEEL less safe, and for good reason.

And even if Dominica was flourishing (which again, it is not), it still would not give Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit the right to stay in power just because he and the Dominican elites and others that support him want him to. In 2020, the PM indicated that he would be supportive of electoral reform. He claimed then that this was important for the country – he was right, of course. But his actions have not aligned to his words. I am told by some in the Dominican elite that he is the most popular PM of all time; then why call an election when the primary political party is in disarray? Why not await their reconsolidation and allow the people of Dominica to have a TRUE choice? After all, elections were not due for another two years!  WIC News quoted Greta Roberts, the DLP candidate for Grand Fond as saying that “By the Grace of God, we believe that the hour of our greatest triumph cometh”. Actually Greta, it was not by the grace of God, but by the actions of the Prime Minister.

Dominicans, if we continue silently acquiescing to the status quo, we are condoning a democratic deficit, a dictatorship, and the Dominica that we will leave our children will be frightening: our future will be at risk. Mamo, when she first helped form the Freedom Fighters, did so in part to prevent our democracy from dying. We are very much at crossroads on our beautiful island. It may be another two or three years before the next snap election. Now is the time to plan for our country’s future, now is the time to use our voices, to advocate, to criticize, to TAKE BACK OUR POWER.

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  1. Anti Putin
    December 30, 2022

    Scary Skerro supporters really hate any kind of criticism, boi. Look anger and hatred! Wah sah. All you wish Dominicans would let go Dominica for all you, eh. #reform

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3
  2. RichardSuthers
    December 29, 2022

    Google up Antoine Defoe et al v Roosevelt Skerritt in the Carribbean Court of Justice.

    3 applicants alleged that Skerritt did illegal treating in the latest election and Skerritt’s appeal to dismiss the case was denied.

    Guess what, one applicant suddenly conveniently died and Jno Baptiste, another applicant, withdrew because his family got threats. Welcome to the sa* anic Skerritt WEF boy dictatorship.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 4
  3. December 29, 2022

    “The antecedents of Dominica’s current economic crisis date back to the late 1980s. Following a catastrophic hurricane in 1988, sizable public sector wage awards in FY90/91, which further eroded competitiveness, and growing uncertainty about trade preferences1, economic growth slowed from an average annual rate of 4.6 percent during the 1980s to an average of 2.7 percent between 1990-98. During this period, the main impetus to growth came from exports of manufactured soap products to Jamaica, tourism receipts, and earnings from the offshore sector.”…..This is from a country assessment report on Dominica, from this report was not doing good back then.
    This long winded commentary unfortunately focuses mainly on the political fortunes of Roosevelt Skeritt using selected statistics. What are the solutions? Dominica has always been a poor country no amount of statistics past or present can change that.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 25
    • Beta
      December 30, 2022

      You are just looking for cheap excuses in order to divert blame from your political master. Get out of here, the time all you can fool is gone. Things are gonna change in DA. By the way, we still haven’t had the figures from the electoral office. In particular the the amount of valid votes casted is of great importance but obviously not to Skerrit. Could it be that less than a third of the people voted that were entitled to??? What was the voter turnout for the sham election? Answer us, Skerrit!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 1
  4. The Truth Will Prevail
    December 29, 2022

    I would never go in line to get gas or any other commodity. This is me. Sometimes because I know our people, I never go in queue. We all know that many who are there do not need the gas or what. Remember toilet paper hoarders. Whether is a rumor or not, they just congregate and some are even greedy.
    I will go for my gas or other when all of them full their tank, bidons etc., when there is MT.
    Now most of you like to just criticize and be negative so you look for situations to come to comment.
    Ther have been shortages elsewhere and one does not hear all this negative talks.
    You are all so biased that not even the natural elements are taken into account. for example the sea swells.
    New year I hope will see some of you change your perceptions and become positive thinkers.
    Why be negative and you guys have to blame one person? Is this envy, jealousy, hatred, bitter?
    Where is love? God does not like ugly. We should love one another.
    Some walk for nothing. No gas then…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 35
    • Martine
      January 4, 2023

      You talk utter nonsense. You just looking desperately for excuses for your incompetent CM. Just continue to allow Skerrit to piss all over you and tell us it’s raining. Get out of here, …… Mash!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  5. Putin
    December 29, 2022

    An incoherent collection of sentences strung together that are without a message. I am still looking for the gist of this commentary. It really reads like someone who has a lot to say on many things but cannot fit these ideas together in a coherent document.

    Additionality, the data on voter turnout and poverty are inaccurate or dated, but I suspect the Gizelle Joseph is not too concerned about this.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 52
    • ???
      December 29, 2022

      You won’t get the message because you are too busy trying to see what you get!!
      If voter turnout and poverty data are inaccurate, supply the accurate figures. Are you ashamed?
      Stop trying to play wise when you are silly.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 3
      • Putin
        December 30, 2022

        No, the onus is on the writer to provide the accurate data. Where this data is not available, the writer simply says nothing about it or confesses to his/her lack of knowledge. This is the responsible thing to do. In other words, if you doh know, you doh know. Do not pelt untruths and half-truths and mistruths. Like i said, I do not believe that Gizelle Joseph is too concerned about this basic principle.

        Alternatively, you, ???, can Google the information, yourself. Easy to find. All over the Net.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 21
        • dissident
          December 30, 2022

          How do you know it’s untrue?
          Do you know the truth?
          Are you the one collecting the data?
          Skerrit ego so big……he would have been highlighting his truth already.
          What is there to boast about?

          This piece was superb!!!!
          DLP is in disarray!
          Skerrit in de seat so long he has no idea what to do…….and de country going down slowly.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0
  6. Ibo France
    December 29, 2022

    A country gets the leader it deserves. That’s a truism. The real power in a country lies squarely with the people to determine their destiny.

    How much longer will Dominicans sit idly by, totally oblivious, while Roosevelt and his pliable adherents live parasitically on the backs of tax payers.

    One day the people will wake up to the news that Dominica is under the full auspices of the UN as it is now designated as a FAILED STATE.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 10
    • December 29, 2022

      You have never stopped to amaze me. Do you want another snap election in January 2023? You will still lose. I will bet my bottom dollar.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 29
      • Putin
        December 30, 2022

        Lol! :mrgreen: Well, his pardnah Fontaie and his gang have already called for one in 2024. So, he is probably getting ready for that election.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21
      • Braindamage
        December 30, 2022

        Ds can bet with you, if king Liar addresses the Electoral Reform, answers to the billions that are missing, he loses the snap election like when you lost job…

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 4
    • The truth Will Prevail
      December 29, 2022

      You again Ibo a stuck record.

      2023 change your perception from negativity, blame gaming and come with some positive vibes. What has happen is already gone. Move forward. Stop being stuck in the same place blaming DA people and one other person.
      Did anyone tell you that your stories are the same over and over plus you are not giving anyone hope or learn anything from you. Start a positive program next year so you can inspire persons.
      I really mean that. Stop dwelling on the past and move one step forward and let us hear some other positive encouraging life saving advice.

      I do await Ibo !
      Best wishes and a new you for the New Year.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 36
      • Ibo France
        December 29, 2022

        You should direct your ire at Roosevelt and his servile devotees. For twenty two (22) years every sector of the country is going downhill. Living standards are badly deteriorating. Poverty is at an unprecedented high. Corruption is pervasive throughout government and the whole of civil society. The country is in ruins.

        Despite this implosion caused by one ignoramus, you prefer that the status quo remains intact. Silence is your mantra. Don’t rock the boat even though wickedness envelops the country.

        Your temerity is astounding! Attacking a concerned citizen while giving LYING, sacrilegious Roosevelt and his failed regime a pass. Hypocrite!!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3
      • ???
        December 29, 2022

        @The Truth Will Prevail
        Talking about the past is very embarrassing to you, but the stealing and plundering of Dominica’s money resources will never go away from the writings of the bloggers..You seem to have been one of the recipients of the loot.
        You day shall come too!!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3
    • I Am You
      December 30, 2022

      “A country gets the leader it deserves. That’s a truism. The real power in a country lies squarely with the people to determine their destiny”…

      The above is fact. but it does not only apply to dominica. there is not one country and its people on the world stage at present who are not under a state of spiritual and material slavery..

      Dominica may have superficially acquired independence but dominica is not independent. have you seen whose image is still of the dominican currency..

  7. Lin clown
    December 29, 2022

    You are damn right Skerrit too over from Pierre Charles so with all that long nonsense is already LYING.Skerrit first election was 2005,59.08 % of registered voters voted,DLP got 51.80% of those who voted(,a little over half voted DLP) In 2009, 55.15% of registered voters voted,61.22% of those who voted voted DLP.In 2014, 57.47% of registered voters voted,57.06% of those who voted,voted DLP and,in 2019 54.42% of registered voters voted,59.01% of those who voted voted DLP.So it is accurate to say since Skerrit became Prime Minister more that 50% of registered voters have been voting.What your lying self has not said is Skerrit invented the NEP(1,500).2,700 receiving(senior citizens) $300 monthly.Yes We Care( more than 100).More than 5,000 are profitting financially from the housing revolution(rent free).Senior citizens are no longer paying HOSPITAL USER FEES.Skerrit has increased the minimum wage by as much as 95% in some cases.Skerrit brought Clear Harbour to Dominica(1,400 employed)

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 30
  8. Guevara
    December 29, 2022

    Very good commentary! To be honest I think it’s too late. I don’t know where all this is going to end but either way, it won’t be pretty. As long as the majority of Dominicans keep either sitting on the fence or collect their perks at election time, the status quo isn’t going to change. Unless, a number of patriots finally stop talking and take things in their hands and topple the man by force. I’m sorry to say so, but that’s the only option that remains on the table.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 7
    • Joe Linton
      December 29, 2022

      Preach as you like , you DO NOT LIVE ON ISLAND

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 38
      • Tt
        December 30, 2022

        Thats an ignorant comment. Irrespective of residency a dominican is a dominican period!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2
      • Guevara
        December 30, 2022

        I could be on island at the drop of a hat. I don’t have to wait for DLP to pay my ticket. Mark my words, things in DA are going to change, one way or another!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1
      • For Dominica Only
        December 31, 2022

        So ignorant and silly and childish. What are you Joe Linton, a 3 year old?
        What about all of the Dominicans who come home to vote only when Skerrit needs reinforcement but don’t know or care about Dominica otherwise and don’t own or do anything on the island?

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
    • Putin
      December 29, 2022

      The majority of Dominicans chose the DLP as the only choice. It is their democratic right. If you paid attention to the past elections here you would have noticed that Dominicans abhor the violence preached and incited by many like you. How many more times and how much more loudly must they tell you that before you get the message? Take your ugliness elsewhere!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 27
      • Lawyer
        December 30, 2022

        Do you know what the voters turnout for the sham election was? That figure would rubbish your comment und clearly tell you that YOU and your master are the ones that haven’t got the message. Your political spin is pathetic to say the least.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2
  9. MEME
    December 29, 2022

    Good commentary, and you must keep writing, even when you get negative comments.
    Skerrit is just an evil human being with no modicum of ethics, morals and principles. He is an incompetent manager of state affairs, and he has built his support on LIES, LIES, and more LIES. Dominica is the smallest economy in the OECS, wages are miserably low unemployment is staggering and this wicked CONMAN has no answer to stem the tide. Look at the state of ROSEAU, and it sends a powerful message, the inability of PMH to perform basis medical procedures send a huge message, the destruction of playing fields/sports sends a telling message, the selling of our passports like “balou” (the fish) sends a critical message.
    He smiles like a devil, he is greedy, insultive, morally and ethically depraved and he is wicked!!
    What a Mess!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 45 Thumb down 6
    • Ibo France
      December 29, 2022


      I have been preaching that message trying my very best to get Dominicans out of their lethargy. Roosevelt has stolen the present and future of Dominica. His tenure has been nothing but ruinous.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 7
      • December 29, 2022

        There is always a shortage of something at some point everywhere in every country. What is the problem? We know you hate Skerrit but that does not make him a culprit neither does it make him reprehensible. All your efforts to to get rid of Skerrit from high office have failed miserably and will continue to fail for as long as you keep preaching and barking. Fontaine is not the answer. Tell us what Fontaine was able to achieve in Sudan for four wasteful years. The people of Sudan are still living a wretched life, they have become impoverished, roam about like refugees, and looking for answers.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 40
        • ???
          December 29, 2022

          My friend many on this mediun have bee calling you STUPID, it’s only now i agree.So you wanted Dr Fontaine on his own to wipe out all woes in Sudan, but you can’t tell Skerrit to stop his corrupt leadership? Was the article about Dr Fontaine? In case you didnt understand, the article was about how Skerrit has destryed Dominica.OMG!!

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 5
          • Putin
            December 29, 2022

            Have you heard of the DAAS and Dr. Fontaine saga?

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23
          • December 29, 2022

            So you wanted Skerrit alone to wipe out all woes in Dominica? What have you been doing to help people who are in need and in distress? Let us talk about you right now. Nothing but run your mouth all day like your UWP cabals. Man, get a life.

            Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 20
          • ???
            December 30, 2022

            Skerrit has a government. A team of clowns. Are you a doltish?

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
  10. doggy
    December 29, 2022

    skerrit took over from Pierre Charles not Rosie.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • Gizelle
      December 29, 2022

      Thanks for the correction, yes that’s right, will update.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

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