COMMENTARY: Dominica elections tainted…legitimacy of the government called into question

These are the two takeaways from the July 05, 2022 decision of the Caribbean Court of Justice(CCJ). The two seminal statements of the Court are contained in what it described as;

Final Thoughts

“In conclusion these appeals have been dismissed on the basis of want of jurisdiction, because there was no final decision or order made by the judge for the purposes of ss40(6) and (7) of the Dominica Constitution. However, there remain areas of grave concern about how the process of these elections was conducted. Future elections in Dominica ought not to proceed with these or similar taints.

For my part, in relation to the election lists issue and the related preliminary conclusions of the trial judge on the pleadings as to unlawfulness, the Court of Appeal  arguably may have had jurisdiction on constitutional grounds irrespective of whether the decision was considered, in the contexts of ss40(6) or (7), final or not. There can be no doubt that this particular decision conclusively pre-empted any further inquiry into arguably unlawful conduct by election authorities that potentially went to the root of free and fair elections”.

This scathing admonition by the CCJ of the 2019 Dominica general elections, has its roots in ten election petitions filed in the High Court by losing candidates of the opposition United Workers Party in those elections. All ten petitions were struck out by justice  Glasgow in response to applications made by lawyers for Labour Party candidates, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and several election officials. Glasgow’s decision was up held by the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal on the grounds that it was an interlocutory rather than a Final Order. The petitioners, through their Attorney Zahidha James of Inn Chambers out of Barbados,  approached the CCJ for special leave to appeal the decision of the CoA.  Lawyers for the respondents urged the Court not to hear the matter since, according to them, the CCJ had no jurisdiction to grant such leave.

Eventually the CCJ dismissed the application of the petitioners for special leave and upheld the orders of the Appeal Court. Significantly, no order was made as to costs.

The respondents’ lead lawyer, Anthony Astaphan, hailed the CCJ’s decision as a huge victory. The matter was dead and we should move on, he said.

Not so fast was the response of attorney James and Opposition Leader Lennox Linton, among others, who paid attention to the far-reaching and erudite observations and comments of Justices Saunders(President) and Jamadar on behalf of the CCJ.

The CCJ indicated, in paragraph 108 of its judgment, that the 2019 elections in the Commonwealth of Dominica were tainted and urged that future elections should not proceed with these or similar taints.

The CCJ also stated(para.109) that the “draconian” decision of trial judge Glasgow to strike out the petitions pre-empted further inquiry into arguably unlawful conduct by the election authorities that potentially went to the root of free and fair elections.

The CCJ said (at para. 88) that the matter of the patent non-compliance with s17 of the Registration Act ought to be investigated.

(in this regard the court observed the sacrosanct nature of the Elector’s List)

The CCJ said(para77) that the consequence of the denial of free and fair elections include loss of legitimacy, public unrest, and even revolt and that without free and fair elections the very legitimacy and sovereignty of the constitutional state are brought into question.

Attorney James did not mix matters in expressing her view that, based on the CCJ’s pronouncements and her own observations, the current Dominica government is illegitimate!

The question has been asked ‘why did  Dominica’s highest court feel obliged to make the observations and give the direction that it did?’ It is interesting that the justices laid out in their judgment details of all the complaints made by the petitioners. They must have known, at the time of considering the application for leave to appeal the CoA’s decision, that they had no jurisdiction. They however took the opportunity to see and hear the arguments of both sides. The scenario which emerged from this exercise was most TROUBLING for the Court. They said so!

The picture was one in which laws were broken; precedents were ignored; evidence was demanded contrary to the rules and even when the respondents admitted to corruptly paying airfares for thousands of voters, the judge turned a blind eye.

The CCJ must also have noted the attitude and actions of the Dominica authorities with respect to decisions and matters before the various courts.

The ‘no law, including the Constitution’ mantra, is well known.

The intervention/direction by a well-known Senior Counsel and chief advisor to the government in derailing electoral reform is also a matter of wide public knowledge.

The Labour Party administration dissolved the Integrity in Public Office Commission resulting in the discontinuation of a matter in which the Prime was at the time before the Court for alleged breach of the IPO Act.

The CCJ, having directed that a criminal complaint of treatment in the 2014 election campaign involving fifteen ministers of government should be tried in the magistrate’s court, saw its direction upstaged by the Director of Public Prosecution discontinuing the matter at the request of the accused ministers.

To crown this all the Attorney General of Dominica, Levi Peter, has now demanded that the Honourable Justices of the Caribbean Court of Justice should withdraw their “Gratuitous” remarks.

Oh justice, thou hast fled to brutish beast and men have lost their reason!!

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40 Comments

  1. Original
    July 27, 2022

    so, what is to be done about the justice Glasgow, as it is seen that he is bias in his application of the law…who investigates these judges for corruption? are they above the law?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  2. July 26, 2022

    This is the clearest and most comprehensive explanation of the recent ruling by the CCJ, and to my limited legal understanding it was not kind to those who state otherwise; the sad part is that the “Senior Parrot” (Tony Astaphans) continues to spread according to him his “horse manure” on Kairi; and the other “political parrots” with limited mental capacity just shouting “Polly” too; they all have now become the laughing stock of the entire Caribbean and should take responsibility for the shame and disgrace they have brought upon the electoral system in Dominica, and that includes the three members of the Electoral Commission who are legal luminaries but are nothing more than a– kissers.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3
  3. Jonathan Y St Jean
    July 26, 2022

    My conclusion is that advisor and spokesperson to the Dominican government, Tony As*-taphan should be disqualified because this scathing rebuff of the government’s behavior in the tainted electoral process indirectly implicates the senior counsel. He’s yet to opine that the process was corrupt against his advice but sought to diminish those who brought the challenges of the tainted elections to the court. Bringing the grievance to the courts was and is the right and responsible thing to do. Now that the CCJ has spoken it’s open season if things are not done right for the next election. The evil that men do lives with them when they are blinded by hate, prejudice, power and financial gain. Calling some Dominicans Kakador and cockroach should have been an eye opener. It portraits the shameful social environment he must have been raised in towards people of African ancestry and he’s just laughing all the way to the bank. Poor Dominca.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3
  4. Caroline G Wilson
    July 26, 2022

    The comments coming from one judge does not reflect a majority opinion, but a one-person point of view. In a democratic setting the majority opinion carries and stands otherwise confusion will set in which may give rise to all kinds of speculation. What can we take from comments that say the election was free and fair but tainted? To me this is a double meaning premise with no value that is beyond explanation.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 28
  5. Lin clown
    July 26, 2022

    The 2019 election was tainted,according to UWP,yet they have attended every sitting of the house since.Debating bills brought to parliament by a tainted government who has stole elections since 2005.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 23
  6. July 25, 2022

    The court (CCJ) never said that the elections were not free and fair. It simply stated an opinion of the possible results if an election is not free and fair. The CCJ was not an election observer how could it come to such a decision based on propaganda and in a matter where evidence was not heard.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 16
  7. Bloodmen
    July 25, 2022

    Ehh! What did these two (Tommy & Tucker) say?

  8. The main conclusive question should be, “Was the election free and fair? If not, why was it not declared null and void vis a vis the constitution or any constitutional laws ?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 24
    • Bobby
      July 26, 2022

      Skerrit to declare is null and void? Who else has the power to declare an election in DA null and void? The electoral commission with Skerrits puppets in the majority? The courts of DA who are in Skerrits pocket? Or perhaps Skerrits Militia?
      Get out of here, C G Wilson (Mrs.)!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 3
      • Caroline G Wilson Mrs.
        July 27, 2022

        @Boby (Izick)……The opposition could have lodged an injunction to declare that the elections were not free and fair and hence should be declared null and void making way for new election. They must submit evidence and present witnesses to support their case, otherwise their case will have no merit.
        No court should consider a partial case for trial. To challenge only ten seats in ten constituency in this situation means that you only have part of a case which can be thrown out by the court in the first place.
        Only the court has the legal power to declare any action “null and void”
        Bobby, I am not looking at this issue as a polarized political point of view, or fanatical political support, but as a matter of legal value with connotations for the making of precedence.
        The CCJ ruling is remanence of a Labour Party split when both sides claim the shoe as its symbol for election. The matter was decided by the local High Court.
        Only the courts have authority on this.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12
  9. Keen Observer
    July 25, 2022

    The CCJ also said the following. “Further, in the face of deficient pleadings, it is useless for a Petitioner to claim that, at trial, they would produce evidence of facts that can close glaring or serious gaps in the factual matrix that could justify the grant of the relief claimed. To allow a petition to go to trial on deficient pleadings would set the Respondents up for an ambush at the trial and the rules of court do not permit this”.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
    • Caroline G Wilson
      July 27, 2022

      @ Keen Observer…..I support your view. Courts can only and must decide a case on both the merits of evidence and witnesses presented. if both are presented or those presented are not valid, the case will be dismissed on arrival.
      My question is, “What evidence and witnesses did the challengers provide”?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12
  10. Lin clown
    July 25, 2022

    None of those UWP supporters are honest enough to mention the 2019 election observers.In 2014 one election observer said the election was free but not necessarily fair.UWP used not necessarily fair to destroy the country.Today the very same observers are put out to dry as liars.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 40
    • The main conclusive question should be, “Was the election free and fair? If not, why was it not declared null and void vis a vis the constitution or any constitutional laws?
      Why did the losing party only challenge ten selected seats? Why not all twenty-one?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 24
      • Jonathan Y St Jean
        July 26, 2022

        @Caroline G Wilson, the definition of “free” is open to interpretation. The airline tickets and spending money cost dineros, the international artists were paid big bucks to come and perform so it was not free. The donors who put up the money expect to benefit on the back end so how could that be free? Technically they were helping to buy the election. Labor party didn’t have a bake nor cake sale to raise any money. It also wasn’t fair because the constitution clearly said that treating and bribery is illegal. The opposition was not given access to state(taxpayer) funded radio DBS. How can the government monopolize that wide reaching media and you think it was fair? Examine your conscience no matter what others may think.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 5
        • July 26, 2022

          Who treated who and who bribed who, it is all propaganda. Not one thread of evidence has been presented. Numerous courts have ruled that providing transportation to voters is not an offence.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13
          • Jonathan Y St Jean
            July 26, 2022

            @Point, who are those numerous courts? Where are those numerous courts? You are grabbing at straws.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2
          • Robby
            July 27, 2022

            How about those voters that rose from their grave just to vote? Nobody saw them but they appeared on the electoral register. Come on, give it another shot at defending the indefensible.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2
  11. Marie
    July 25, 2022

    A very well presented commentary. The problem in Dominica, even though many people would agree with this commentary and even find it to be the truth, nobody, with the exception of a handful of people, do have the guts and tennis ball to do something about it. For that reason I concluded long time ago, that Dominicans are suckers and they deserve every blow they get from this illegal government and its CM.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 8
    • Man bite dogs
      July 25, 2022

      @Marie, Maybe you are right but we are definitely without doubt not stupid and mentally enough to vote Ugly Lenny,
      Useless workers so-called party into Government Ha ha ha
      Now you and your Blue Monkeys are the “P” suckers
      Isn’t it So??

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 24
      • Ibo France
        July 26, 2022

        You sit on your brain everyday. When your loving, caring mother ejected you from the womb your brain ended up in the part of your anatomy that you sit on.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3
        • Man bite dogs
          July 27, 2022

          Ibo, I must say you are no more than a jerk and a monkey pox spreader go away nasty little ……..

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12
          • Carmichael
            August 1, 2022

            Dog Man. There we go, I knew it all along. You are as common as muck.

            Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  12. July 25, 2022

    We hear and read of this gospel over and over and over again. Too much talk. Too much.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1
  13. Ibo France
    July 24, 2022

    I just viewed a very recent commentary about the ten (10) countries of the Caribbean with the highest literacy rate. Dominica ranked about sixth with a literacy rate in the mid to high nineties. That’s good!

    The sad thing though, the narrator disclosed that Dominica is one of the poorest countries in the Caribbean region. That’s bad!

    When I heard that this immediately came to mind. What a paradoxical situation we have in Dominica. How is it that the richest prime minister in CARICOM comes from the poorest country in this grouping? Then I thought of CORRUPTION. Only CORRUPTION can make that possible.

    The judges of the CCJ are spot on. Only a tainted electoral system can make it possible for an overly corrupt political party, that has bred abject poverty, disunity, joblessness, starvation wages, a gun culture during its present tenure, to retain political power for twenty two (22) straight years.

    Electoral Reforms are a MUST!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 7
    • July 25, 2022

      You all did not want the CCJ, what has changed? if they had written comments not favourable to the UWP they would be the worse court in the world. But wait, the CCJ supported the decisions of the lower court so what are they ranting about?

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
      • Jonathan Y St Jean
        July 26, 2022

        @Point, your point is asinine. Because you are against a certain road being built for whatever reason does that mean you won’t or can’t drive on it after it’s been built. You are suggesting that people should not oppose anything and when they do they have no right to use it. How rediculous is your point.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
      • Ibo France
        July 26, 2022

        Point, you are pointless! In fact, like the foolish man in the bible, your point is built on sand. It cannot stand.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2
  14. Lin clown
    July 24, 2022

    First of all it was UWP who said the election was tainted.They have been saying so since 2005.The 2019 election observers tasked with monitoring and observing the election said,the 2019 election held in Dominica was free and fair,conducted by the election law of Dominica and,REFLECTED the WILL of the PEOPLE.The UWP took the matter to the high court,case DISMISSED thrown in the gabbage pail.The went to the appeals court,matter thrown in the gabbage pail.They went to the CCJ,matter thrown in the gabbage.This international liar in now lying on the CCJ saying they say the election was tainted.IF you are a JACKA,does not make you a jacka.In that case the majority of Dominicans know you are a jacka.What UWP should do now is to work towards not losing Marigot and Roseau North,and to try to get back the 1,163 votes the LOST in 2019.Plane loads upon plane loads,as if the Judges don’t know that is a lie.Going to court with no evidence as if the Judges are AHOLES like the dog from Wesley.LOSERS.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 45
  15. Roger Burnett
    July 24, 2022

    I hope this commentary finds its way to the desk of Sir Dennis Byron, as it might serve as a reminder that we are still awaiting his long overdue recommendations on electoral reform.

    But perhaps his latest task: https://bvinews.com/16-members-of-constitutional-review-commission-named/ is demanding all of his time.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 5
  16. Me
    July 24, 2022

    In other words, legalised fraud!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 5
  17. Ibo France
    July 24, 2022

    DNO we need you to produce factual, stimulating, thought-provoking articles like this one.

    It doesn’t have to be about the present government nor partisan politics. It could be about environmental matters, new and more productive methods of farming, more skill-based education in our schools, job creation, the inefficiencies of the judiciary, et cetera.

    Share new and enlightening ideas with your clientele. Stop the monotony. Wake up DNO. You can to better if you make the effort. It is time for you to lift your standard.
    There are too many articles about Prime Minister Skerrit said this, and Minister Blackmoore, et a!ia, said that. That’s just lazy and woefully inadequate reporting.

    Looking forward with great anticipation for the change, the new and erudite DNO.

    ADMIN: We acknowledge the heir of positivity in this comment especially when compared to many of your previous comments.

    However, you are mistaken about this being a factual article – it is an opinion piece. It does refer to factual occurrence for e.g (the statement made by the CCJ in its dismissal of the case) but does so to support the opinion laid out in the commentary. We are not making a statement about whether the article is right or wrong we are simply describing the truth of what it is – an opinion piece.

    If your standard for a factual thought-provoking article is one which caters to your own views ,that albeit contains some factual analysis, then objective reporting will fall short of your expectations. Objective reporting is not done to cater to an opinion or further an agenda it is all about the facts and is not watered down with the author’s opinion.

    If it is still not clear, DNO endeavors towards objective reporting.

    For example, we have done several reports on the CCJ’s judgement but we did not express an opinion in our articles (that would be a form of bias reporting). We instead provided the facts and sought the reaction of relevant officials and quoted them on their views – which is what journalists are taught to do.

    Note that you, Ulric West Peter, government officials or any member of the public are all free to express their opinions on DNO (within our comment policy and laws of the country). We will continue to publish these opinion pieces, (you are free to submit your own) but you will likely not see us express an opinion within our actual news articles – again that is not objective and fact-based reporting.

    We have explained the above in multiple ways to you over the years but for the sake of those who may not be aware it is worth repeating.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3
    • Man bite dogs
      July 25, 2022

      @DNO, You are doing a great job for the nation and I believe that nasty piece of work called Ibo, should and must be block from this Forum!!!

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21
      • Ibo France
        July 26, 2022

        @Dog Mess

        If cursing was a discipline, you would have outdone Roosevelt. Instead of two doctorates, like Roosevelt, you would have had as many as a thermometer like ds.

        When I read your comments I went into a laughing stupor – ‘ that nasty piece of work called Ibo.’

        How could you describe a decent, humble, God-fearing, altruistic person like me as NASTY? You are truly MESSED UP!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5
        • What?!!
          July 27, 2022

          @Ibo you?! 8-O HUMBLE???? YOU MUST be joking trying to give lin clown a run for his money. It would be more true to call you EGO France than anything you just typed there.

          I dont know a single humble person who attacks others then turns around and boasts how great he or she is…you are just bolstering your ego and trying to sway the gullible by portraying an image…

          Not that I support man dog claim to ban you either, both of you should have the right to post your self important sense or nonsense on DNO…

          Instead of demanding better solely from others why dont you do better yourself, dont just pretend and posture online where it’s safe go out there and actually do better. Admit that you have no authority to boss other ppl around, that’s closer to true humility.

          When ppl hit you with plain truth about yourself, you either lash out, dismiss or ignore their comment. So if you do that here you only proving the point…try something different for a change…if you even can

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7
    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      July 26, 2022

      I commend DNO for the work it’s doing by bringing issues of national interest to the readers of this medium. Those who are constantly criticizing about things they would like to see done differently are entitled to their opinions and maybe they are lobbying to be given a place on the editorial board of DNO. What training and expertise do they have in journalism? It would be nice to find out. Alternatively they can start their competing online medium and do just what they are suggesting they would like to see. No one is forcing them to read DNO so they can look elsewhere for their information. Would the readers of DNO especially those who are overseas be better informed without the contribution of DNO? I don’t think so. Keep up the good work DNO.

      ADMIN: Thank you for the kind word.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
  18. Ibo France
    July 24, 2022

    Mr. Ulric West Peter, l salute and commend you for this most thought-provoking and detailed commentary. This calibre of persons is what journalism in Dominica needs to awaken the consciousness of the majority. This Cut-Copy & Paste reporting is obsolete. That’s like rote learning. It does a disservice to the country.

    We now know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that Roosevelt and his administration are ILLEGITIMATE. All of the candidates, along with the electoral system, are TAINTED.

    Here are some pertinent questions:
    * Would you drink TAINTED milk?
    *Would you ear TAINTED chocolate?
    *Would you take TAINTED vaccine?

    With that said, why should the people of Dominica continue to tolerate a TAINTED government in office? Get Rid A Dem!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 7
  19. dissident
    July 24, 2022

    Yes I!!!!
    Justice is denied to us by brutish beasts and men with no reason whatsoever!!!!!

    Our elections are tainted and dis government led by Roosevelt Skerrit is illegitimate!!!!!
    One of the lawyer defending Skerrit and his government is actually a commissioner of the brutish electoral commission……..is that a conflict of interest?
    Men with no reason!!!
    Expose yourself to make Skerrit feel like a king….. Bunch of brutish beasts….. shameful!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3
    • Toto
      July 25, 2022

      You are right my friend, when reason deserts man wisdom is in the can.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 3

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