LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Appointment of sole electoral reform commissioner

Loftus Durand

Dear Editor,

I am the host of Civic Vibes, a Radio Program for civic engagement on Q95, where we identify and address matters of public concern in Dominica. I would like to raise the alarm of the potential sidelining of the constitutionally mandated Electoral Commission of Dominica. I am concerned that the right to vote, considered an essential right under the UN convention, will be violated. The following reasons herein emphasize and crystallize the reasons for my concerns.

On or about August 30th, 2020, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit announced that he had engaged the services of Sir Dennis Byron, retired Chief Justice, to act as sole Commissioner in the matter of Electoral Reform. The Prime Minister also stated that “Electoral reform for this government is important; it is important for the country and we are hoping that once Sr. Dennis would have submitted his report, then we can go to the Parliament to effect the necessary changes as he will recommend to the country to move forward”. Such a statement by the Prime Minister is reckless and irresponsible, and flies in the face of everything written in the constitution. Mr. Skerrit appears to have accepted Sir. Byron’s report even before it is written. Is Mr. Skerrit privy to what will be in that report? This is totally unacceptable. This is not the way these matters concerning human rights are handled.

As of this date, Dominica does not have a functioning Electoral Commission. Notwithstanding, Section 56 (9) and (11) of the Constitution still applies.

There is nothing in the constitution that says Cabinet can assume the role of Electoral Commission in its absence. Poignantly, Section 56 (11) states that “In the exercise of its functions under the Constitution a Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person”. Therefore, how can a sole Commissioner to advise on Electoral Reform, be appointed by Cabinet in the absence of a functional Electoral Commission not be in contravention of the Constitution? Why is there no functioning Electoral Commission?

It seems that Mr. Skerrit is prepared to go to Parliament with recommendations from a report that is yet to be written. No mention was made of the Electoral Commission’s involvement in this flawed process. In addition, we are all aware of the many recommendations made by the Election Observers in their Reports of 2009 and 2014. The Administration made no move. Even the Bishop of Roseau, his Lordship Gabriel Malzaire, in his 2019 New Year’s Sermon, recommended that Electoral reform should be dealt with some alacrity; absolutely no attention was paid to his advice.

Prior to the recent December 6th General Elections, the Electoral Reform Effort Group which comprised of Church, Business, Trade Union, and Civil Society submitted a comprehensive report with recommendations. Those were also ignored. In 2019, the Prime Minister invited a joint Caricom- Commonwealth-OAS Special Mission to look at Electoral reform, their recommendations, and an offer of assistance in implementation were also not accepted. As a matter of fact, the administration through the Attorney General stated on the record that these recommendations would have caused confusion, citing insufficient time. Also, they were too expensive although months later, the Dominican population witnessed the lavish unwanted spending in the millions of dollars on an election campaign by the Dominica Labour Party.

Hence, with all the work that has been done towards resolving the Electoral reform matter in Dominica, it is mind boggling that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet, in the absence of a functioning electoral Commission, would appoint Sir Byron as Sole Commissioner to arbitrate the matter of electoral reform. This unilateral and illegal move by the Cabinet has the potential to further degrade human rights in Dominica.

Thanks for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

Loftus Durand Host “Civic Vibes”

Human Rights and Social Activist

Disclaimer: The comments on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of DominicaNewsOnline.com/Duravision Inc. All comments are approved by DominicaNewsOnline.com before they are posted. We never censor based on political or ideological points of view, but we do try to maintain a sensible balance between free speech and responsible moderating.

We will delete comments that:

  • violate or infringe the rights of any person, are defamatory or harassing or include personal attacks
  • are abusive, profane or offensive
  • contain material which violates or encourages others to violate any applicable law
  • promote hatred of any kind
  • refer to people arrested or charged with a crime as though they had been found guilty
  • contain links to "chain letters", pornographic or obscene movies or graphic images
  • are excessively long and off-message

See our full comment/user policy/agreement.

36 Comments

  1. click here
    September 14, 2020

    Sir Byron, a non Dominican, will decide the fate of Dominicans, in Dominica, based on the previous private consultations that he has had with the PM, regarding the kinds of recommendations he wants made and left out.

  2. Kalinago Justice
    September 13, 2020

    :?: Well done Patriot Durand, we are at the rope’s end and it’s time for REVOLUTION, this oneman rogue regime must be removed!!!

  3. Ibo France
    September 13, 2020

    @KID WITH A MENTAL BLOCK

    KID, have you ever connected your tongue to your brain before you speak? Can’t be! The asinine, unadulterated brainlessness that you spill on this forum is indicative of the severely undersized brain that you possess. There is no thoughtfulness to your frequent bizarre statements. You devalue and contaminate this forum every time you post.

    Advice is seldom welcome; and those who need it most like it least. Take up READING as a hobby. This will put you in a position to make more consequential contributions to whatever is being debated.

  4. Lin Clown
    September 13, 2020

    De observer,go buy a copy of the CONSTITUTION,read it if you can.Stop making Loftus Durand make a JACKA out of you.Loftus is all politics,giving his minority supporters FALSE INFORMATION.

  5. Bwa-Banday
    September 12, 2020

    Great job Lofty! Dca is suffering from Dictatorialism and only a few seem to have the testicular fortitude in them to challenge the darned status quo. The PM feels like he can feed the people with She-eat and they will swallow it all without chewing.

    Thats not good and so we MUST fight on. I have said it before and will repeat it again; Until such time that UWP, Freedom, CCM, Pappy, DPSU and APP stand on a platform in ROSEAU together and inform the people that NO ONE, I MEAN NO ONE Shall go to work beginning on a particular day until further notice, and in the same breath advise the people its time to stand up in the various villages NOTHING WILL CHANGE! We Dominicans are doing the Zombie walk every day and no one seems to notice. Time for action bro! Quit talking! STOP Talking! Lass Parlay! Let us Organize the people so we can stand together. My boots are tied and ready! You know where to find me.

  6. Lin clown
    September 12, 2020

    LOFTAS DURAND should be charged for PUBLIC MISCHIEF.Section 38(1-6) page 46 tells the public the responsibility of the ELECTORAL COMISSION.Loftas does not mention that section.Section 38(4) talks about section 51 page 53,which further explains the responsibility of the ELECTORAL COMISSION.Loftas talks about section 56(1-11)page 55 explains how the ELECTORAL COMMISSIONER is made up.Sir Dennis Byron is a one man commission charged with the responsibility to ADVISE the Government on elecoral reform.How is Sir Byron taking over the responsibility of the electoral commission?After Sir Byron’s report the Government will take it to parliament.Maybe Loftas know in advance what is in Sir Byron’s report.

    • click here
      September 15, 2020

      Sir Byron needs to advise the electoral reform commission. Not the government. As it is the commission who is responsible for making the recommendations to the government. Not Sir Byron. you are still indicating that the recommendations will come from Sir Byron, straight to the government (Skerrit) to then take it to parliament, if at all. Plainly you have stated that he is a one man commission. it seems like HE IS taking over the responsibility of those elected to serve on the commission.

  7. "maho pima
    September 12, 2020

    loftus is sending out the message to the public, what are we prepared to do? If someone bring you the food from their garden, what then would you do with it? Should the same person come to cook the for you? well people we have to stand with loftus Durand to deal with the matter, it is a Dominica matter not a loftus Durand matter. He is giving us the story lets deal with it.

  8. September 12, 2020

    More dishonesty from Loftus Durand and blind supporters of this failed UWP. Mr. Byron might be the commissioner appointed by government to look at our electoral system and recommend changes. Mr. Byron is not replacing the 5 man electoral commission which is a creature of the constitution.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 11
    • As i See It
      September 13, 2020

      I think the dishonesty is ingrained in your DNO.. You do not have the capacity to see the truth. What Loftus Durand has has is spot on.

    • click here
      September 15, 2020

      So will his recommendations supersede those elected to serve on the commission? who will have the final say? The Commission members? or Sir Byron?

  9. Jonathan Y St Jean
    September 12, 2020

    @Adil Mnsoor, you are entitled to your opinion and I’ll defend unto my death,your right to have your opinion and to express it. However, the issue of electoral reform in Dominica is not a matter for one individual,nor a small group. This like any substantive change to the
    Constitution, requires a mass of persons who feel strongly enough for the necessary change(s). It is cheap to point to one individual and ask him what is he doing. Dominica belongs to everyone of the 70,000 citizens. Sometimes, others are preoccupied with other matters,and are not yet energized to throw their support behind the initiative which the writer is advocating for, but that does not prevent him from raising the matter. When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive. The student can be made ready, but that is a massive effort which needs a lot of support from numerous sources. If you agree that electoral reform is a necessary thing, then you can lend your voice in a constructive way.

  10. Tony
    September 12, 2020

    The acceptance of such an appointment by a former Chief Justice of the ECSC, if indeed it ought to be made by the Electoral Commission in keeping with its constitutional mandate, demonstrates the flippant way in which our supposedly legal luminaries take serious matters concerning the independence of several branches of our governance structure, one of which he himself supervised at summit of his career!

    It appears that every branch of our governance structure in this region is functionally corrupt. The need for Electoral reform is just the symptom of the bigger malady. Our entire constitution needs to be revamped as it assumed “Honorable citizens “ would hold top offices and they would therefore act in the best public interests. Instead, these offices are increasingly filled by rogues.

  11. Dr Clayton Shillingford
    September 12, 2020

    It has been blatantly obvious for some years that Skerrit/DLP will use any corrupt devise within the Dominica Electoral system to remain in power ..So no one should be surprised by what Loftus Durand is complaining about.. On the other side what is the opposition UWP doing for example to check the electoral lists to ensure that the lists are not loaded with Diaspora and dead persons etc

  12. KID ON THE BLOCK
    September 11, 2020

    Loftus, what a FOOL thou are !
    Who do you really think you are to question and challenge the intelligence of the judge?
    Stop pussyfooting. Do you and the UWP really want Electoral reform?
    It doesn’t look so unless it’s you all way.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 25
    • de Observer
      September 12, 2020

      But I still appreciate and respect you for trying to do the best of your ability. As a matter of fact, you are doing much more than those who claim to have the ability, and education, but they are too cowardly to do like you. Only complaining behind closed doors, angry about what you are talking about but lack the fortitude to do as you are doing.

      And just like me, hiding behind a DNO acronym, not putting my name out like @Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque. You both have my respect, because you are showing you are not afraid of Skeritt who is enjoying our fearfulness, and putting your name out there.

      So while I am frustrated with all the talk, I absolutely support the power of your advocacy.

      But @KID ON THE BLOCK on the block wants things to remain as they are: some Dominicans are benefitting, and the rest are suffering.

  13. Dominican
    September 11, 2020

    This makes no sense. When the government didn’t do anything you complain. When the government engages an independent agent who has more to lose than gain, you complain.

    What exactly is the solution?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11
    • Toto
      September 13, 2020

      Independent, my foot you will find out Sir Byron appointed chairman of the commission and all legal P.M will claim, nothing to do with him, go and blame the President.

    • click here
      September 15, 2020

      When the government didnt do anything we complained. Now when they try to manipulate he outcome, create recommendations in a vacuum, Leave the fate of our electoral process to an outsider hired by the DLP, yes…we will complain again. We will complain about dlp doing nothing, and we will complain about dlp not do anything properly and within the proper procedures. These are solid reasons. not doing anything, not doing anything right. afterall WE PAY THEM TO WORK ON OUR BEHALF. Not the other way around.

  14. Man bites dogs
    September 11, 2020

    Loftus Durand, you are a loser and a bloody fake trying to pretend you are something for a start your education is very poor you cannot even speak properly except to talk crap I will not be wasting my time on you it’s not worth it!!!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11
  15. de Observer
    September 11, 2020

    My brother, thank again for “bringing” information to the people. 1/3:
    1. “Even the Bishop of Roseau.”
    2. “to act as sole Commissioner in the matter of Electoral Reform.”
    3. “Such a statement by the Prime Minister is reckless and irresponsible” 1\7
    4. “Those were also ignored.” 1\3 & 1\7

    “Hence, with all the work that has been done towards resolving the Electoral reform matter…..” Is this really mind boggling ………..

    What is really mind boggling LUFTY, is the fact that you did not make or suggest a response to when it comes, because it is coming. In light of that fact, I am calling for protests against any report by the Kittician, from whose country RSS members came to Dominica to intimidate and terrorize Dominicans just prior to elections.
    a. Do you expect Sir Dennis to provide a copy to the Leader of the Opposition?
    b. What potential response do you anticipate.

    1\3 & 1\7: Recurring decimals
    Sir Dennis Byron words: “One can define justice in…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 7
    • de Observer
      September 12, 2020

      There is an existing Election Reform Report that was presented by OAS and CARICUM. Your advocacy should be to use the report the already in place, and not about Byron.

      If the claim was the previous report was not presented in time to implement for the last election, then fine, let us give that to Levi. But now, that is what the discussion should be. Use the report that has already been presented. Why are the opposing forces seems to continuously be doing Skeritt’s work for him, and always working from behind Labour strategic moves?

      STOP THINKING “DONKEY” BACKWARDS!

      What foolishness is dat about the possibility OF considering the acceptance of Sir Byron because of his reputation? What the hell is wrong with Linton. Is he on Skeritt’s payroll on the down low? You contested an election you should have not. Man you good on Macow or Madog, MaCat, Mawhatever and following the money trail, but political execution, I am not sure about that?

      • click here
        September 15, 2020

        CARICOM not CARICUM. LOFTY not LUFTY

  16. The EVil one
    September 11, 2020

    Loftus Durand you guys seems to have forgotten that Jesus said “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; ”
    In other words, he (Satan) is A thief, a murderer and a destroyer of everything that is good. So just think of these words of Jesus and let it digest

    • The EVil one
      September 11, 2020

      That’s how Jesus describes Satan the thief in John 10:10:
      1. A thief 2. A murderer and 3. A destroyer

    • de Observer
      September 14, 2020

      Lesson: You are so ecclesiastically pristine. God has given you the command to determine who is a devil worshipper or not. Dat dream you had on Sunday 9/13 is the result of your crazy hypocritical blasphemy.

      People point their evil and devilish fingers at others because of the way they see themselves.

      This fool @The EVil one. Yup. @The EVil one call Jesus’s name after referring to ITSELF as EVil . Where do these crazy devil worshipers and blasphemers come from? Too many of them in Dominica, and they know they are leading the people of Dominica to hell.

      There is no greater thief in the history of Dominica than Skerrit who admitted to two billion in Dominica’s Parliament.

      Yet idiotic @The EVil one wrote: “Loftus Durand you guys seems to have forgotten that Jesus said “The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; ””

      Claiming to be evil then using Jesus’s name in the following sentence. Boss you “beta” FIND A CHURCH quick quick quick to repent.

  17. Inspector MEALS
    September 11, 2020

    Luftus Durand very good observation but please allow me to respond for PM Roosevelt Skerrit, since he is busy hiding in his bunker from his foreign enemies.
    1. “No law no constitution can stop me Roosevelt Skerrit of Vielle case”
    from doing what I want.
    2. “It’s not your damn business”
    3. ” Dominica is not a real country”
    4. “Go to hell go to hell”
    5. “When you see them on the plane, at a funeral, in their car or in the super market call them traitor.”
    6. “When they come to your house boil water and throw on then”
    7. “If you vote for UWP and Lennox Linton, the blood of Dominica will be on you”

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
  18. RoRo
    September 11, 2020

    Dominicans gave Skerrit to much lee way over the years and now he does what he wants. To be honest I have a strange feeling that the country has lost the battle against the despot without even starting. Skerrit always knew that the majority of Dominicans are easy to please and and give power to him in exchange for a few gifts. Well, the final stage is reached, the majority of the CBI money and PetroCaribe money remain unaccounted for, the electoral reform is all but dead and he has given himself a palace at the expense of taxpayers. Well done Dominica!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  19. No Law
    September 11, 2020

    Dominica,a place where it has been said, “no law, no constitution” can govern a certain leader. A leader whose obligation is to uphold the law and constitution to which he took an oath. WAKE UP DOMINICANS, before you find yourselves with no rights!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
  20. Ibo France
    September 11, 2020

    The reforming of the Dominica Electoral System is of utmost priority. This system is the fulcrum of our now disappearing democracy. There is no need for new appointments of any one individual or group of individuals to oversee electoral reforms. This exercise has been exhaustive. The proposed changes to the Dominica Electoral System have been well ventilated for umpteen of years. The problem of non-implementation of these reasonable, fair and well needed changes lies with the recalcitrant, obdurate and severely corrupt current Skerrit-led Administration.

    No one man has a monopoly on knowledge or intelligence, not even the much celebrated and revered Sir Dennis Byron. This preposterous proposal by a leader with a shady character should be resoundingly rejected as unacceptable by ALL RIGHT THINKING and FAIR MINDED Dominicans.

    PROPOSAL DENIED‼

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 12
  21. September 11, 2020

    Loftus you are all talk. Of all those years of just talk nothing nothing has been accomplished. On election days you are as mute as zero volume.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 34
    • Asking
      September 11, 2020

      What have you done to help this mess improve then? It’s easy for you to sit at home and watch… why don’t you do something to help instead of leaving it to the few with guts..

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 35 Thumb down 12
      • Man bites dogs
        September 11, 2020

        @Asking, If you had any brains maybe you would see that so-called Workers clowns don’t want electoral reform it is only a game they playing that lots and their supporters are losers sick wicked jealousy useless and lazy.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11
      • Garvey
        September 12, 2020

        That’s another scam by the illegal Prime Minister and the people should reject it base on the unconstitutional basis For those who sit by and dis those who are fighting for the liberty of every individual I hope you open up your eyes and see what’s the end game if you don’t fight for justice and equality.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
      • My name
        September 12, 2020

        This is not the Governments responsibility. The Electoral office should be left to do their work. Why bring in an outsider. Come on free up Dominica

    • Braindamage
      September 11, 2020

      Adil, you should be happy at least Loftus is writing something now.
      The bobo on the leg of Dominica is getting worse and worse.
      Dominicans need to be concern about the cancers they are receiving from Skerrit… :(

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:) :-D :wink: :( 8-O :lol: :-| :cry: 8) :-? :-P :-x :?: :oops: :twisted: :mrgreen: more »

 characters available