My fellow Dominicans, our Democracy and our freedom have been under attack by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his enablers for more than ten years now. Over those years, the Skerrit regime has used various means to accomplish that, including the subversion of our good governance institutions such as the Electoral Commission and the Integrity in Public Office Commission. They have placed partisan persons to head many of these institutions. They have denied opposition groups fair access to the national radio station. They have broken our electoral laws by engaging in bribery and treating, and by engaging in other electoral fraud. The widespread suspicion is that they have funded their election campaign through d illicit sources of funds and monies that have been stolen from the people. They have victimized those who are opposed to them. They have even subverted the justice system! All of this has occurred while our nation has been saddled with high unemployment, high poverty, low resilience, environmental degradation and deteriorating social cohesion; but the leaders of the regime have enriched themselves on the backs of the people.
But the Skerrit regime knew that sooner or later that the people would cry out for justice, hence, to silence those voices they have systematically used the police force to intimidate, bully and brutalise the people including Opposition Parliamentarians. Notably, the regime has placed police officers who are loyal to the regime in commanding positions. Those police officers who are professional and do not overtly support the wrongdoing of the regime are systematically victimized or side-lined and are not otherwise used within police units or groups that play the role of protecting the evil regime.
The overall result has been the evolution of a police force that serves the Prime Minimiser rather than one that upholds the rule of law in a non-partisan way. Evidence of this has clearly been seen over the years. For instance, we have witnessed how the Dominica Police force has been eager to use force against the people. This was clear on December 15th 2018, when the police, unprovoked, attacked persons attending a peaceful rally that called for electoral reforms. The police descended on the people with full riot gear and were dressed in army fatigue. They unleashed tear gas on the crowd. They were at the ready with automatic weapons! The armoured ambulances were waiting!
Another chilling use of force was demonstrated by the police force just prior to the December 2019 general elections. In their reaction to protest action at Salisbury, the police were clearly prepared to massacre the people of Salisbury when they descended on sleeping people in the early hours of the morning unleashing tear gas, armed with automatic weapons and backed by the regional security system. Even with no resistance, some live rounds were fired that injured at least two persons. It can be imagined what would have happened if the people had resisted. Would it have been a massacre?
The above are just two examples of the many instances of police intimidation. They show up at the slightest of political protest dressed in full army fatigue, armed with automatic weapons and tear gas, and supported by armoured ambulances painted in military colour! They seem eager to engage unarmed civilians who are simply seeking to preserve democracy in our land as enshrined in the constitution! Factions of the police force behave like bullies, enemies of the people, and the mercenary arm of Roosevelt Skerrit and his Dominica Labour Party government.
The most recent man-handling of an elected opposition parliamentarian by the police security details of the Prime Minister, in totally unwarranted circumstances, is yet another instance of how the police appear to be operating with disregard for the law and are themselves inciting violence.
Moreover, the Roosevelt Skerrit regime has on various occasions instigated its supporters to confront those supporting opposition groups and in a most recent example, in response to the public outcry on the police manhandling of the opposition parliamentarian, unaccounted CBI monies and the $64,000.00 rent for the Prime Minister’s residence among others, a minister of government has once again called on supporters of the Labour Party to take retaliatory actions against those who are opposed to the ills of the Roosevelt Skerrit-led government.
The security situation on our land is clearly a tense one. We therefore call on the police force to desist from intimidating and bullying the people. We call on government ministers and other labour party leaders not to engage in inflaming violence between supporters of opposing political parties. We call on leaders and supporters of opposition parties to avoid physical conflict with supporters of the Labour Party.
But we also call on the Roosevelt Skerrit regime to resign and save our country from descending into chaos. The tense situation in our country is a direct result of the lack of good governance principles of Roosevelt Skerrit and his administration, their return to government in the December 2019 general election through what is believed to be fraudulent means and the many instances of corruption, the most recent being the approval of sixty-four (64) thousand dollars per month to allow the Prime Minister to reside in what many people believe to be his own house but paraded as property rented from a separate company.
As a society, we have to rise to the occasion to save our country and preserve our freedom. We must not allow fear to grip our hearts. The just struggle must be on several fronts – legal, economic, enlightenment of the people, showing up at the polls when that time comes and other morally right strategies. Certainly, let us engage in these strategies prayerfully.
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