Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in an address to the nation this morning, has described protest action over the past several days by a number of Dominican citizens demanding electoral reform, as “part of an evolving narrative to suggest that law and order have broken down in Dominica and that elections set for December 6th, cannot be free and fair,” and blamed the opposition United Workers Party for the protests.
Skerrit said the protests are designed to provide a daily source of video and photo footage for daily transmission to the international media and select international agencies.
Speaking specifically to skirmishes which occurred between protesters and the police on Monday evening, he said that these events signalled the intrusion of violence into the election campaign “in a manner that is unfamiliar, unnecessary, and unproductive.”
He dismissed electoral reform as the real reason for the protest action and pointed out that the Dec 6th elections are being held under the same laws that have governed the democratic process in Dominica since Dominica attained its independence.
“Both the current Labour government and the UWP opposition have been elected through this exact process and under the same laws and conditions,” Skerrit argued. “It is this same process and those same laws that saw the United Workers Party increase its seat count in the last general elections in Dominica.”
But the United Workers Party and others advocating for electoral reform have insisted that a bloated electors list and the lack of a voter ID card have made it possible for the incumbent government to manipulate the electoral process to their advantage. They have expressed particular concern with what they say is the illegal transportation to Dominica by the DLP of overseas voters and the alleged illegal registration of voters locally.
The United Workers Party is expected to respond to Prime Minister Skerrit’s statement at a news conference this afternoon instead of the public meeting at the Roseau bayfront which was previously announced this afternoon.
A video recording of the full address by Prime Minister Skerrit is posted below.