U.S. Embassy Op-Ed: “Democracy Demands Peaceful Citizen Participation”

US Ambassador

The reports of political violence in Dominica in recent weeks are incongruent with the history of stable parliamentary democracy in the Eastern Caribbean.  Free, fair, and transparent elections are hallmarks of any good democracy and an indication of good governance and leadership.  Equally so, the conduct of peaceful campaigns, rallies, and demonstrations beforehand and the acceptance of the will of the people after a fair vote are intrinsic parts of democracy.

We must be steadfast in our support for democracy, citizens, and transparent governments alike.  Responsible civic participation is the fundamental basis of any successful democracy.  This is a moment for all participants in the political process to ensure free, fair, and peaceful elections in Dominica.  The United States calls on all citizens to peacefully engage in the democratic process.

The hemisphere is undergoing rapid change.  Many countries have made a sharp turn toward democracy.  As U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo said earlier this week, “There is more democratic cooperation in our hemisphere today than at any point in history.”  The United States is proud to work with Dominica, and all the countries of the region, to build a more secure, prosperous, and democratic future.  That means defending the rule of law that holds everyone to an equal standard and allows for the peaceful resolution of disputes, creating a level marketplace where competition results in better products and improved services, and building an inclusive society that protects citizens’ inalienable rights, including freedom of expression.

It is a mistake to assume that democracy is some preordained system.  Freedom cannot be taken for granted.  From my time working in government and in my position as Ambassador, I can tell you that peace many times can be fragile, and hard-won victories can be rolled back if we are not vigilant.  The Caribbean is a strong and vibrant example of democracy to governments around the world – and should continue to be so.

In September, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Commonwealth Secretariat issued a joint report recommending that the government of Dominica implement reforms to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections.  The “Report of the Joint CARICOM-Commonwealth-OAS Special Mission to Dominica,” available to the public online, found a need to “improve the system of voter identification of voters on Election Day,” adjust electoral boundary “discrepancies,” enact “campaign finance legislation,” improve media access for all parties, and “increase public confidence in the Electoral Commission and the Chief Elections Officer,” among other findings.  This is not the first time international election observers have made these types of recommendations to the government of Dominica. The most recent report stated that the proposed reforms “are critical and necessary for Dominica to maintain its credible electoral system.”

Looking ahead, whatever government is in place after the elections, we hope that it will take action on these recommendations in consultation with civil society.  Dominica has a long history of successful democratic elections, and we have every trust and confidence this one will be too.

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.

53 Comments

  1. It's MissAlie
    December 6, 2019

    Democracy has never been peaceful. That’s the problem with democracy.
    It’s become archaic and dangerous. Democracy doesn’t solve our social problems; it seems to continue with emphasis on laws versus solving the people’s problem.
    The power lies in the hands of people who blindly hand that strength to officials who do not care. It’s like a cycle of wrongdoing that produces more losers than winners.

  2. Spy
    December 5, 2019

    Go to you tube and search for

    ELECTION EVE 2019 MORNING IN SALISBURY DOMINICA with HECTOR JOHN – BrBpTV

  3. Spy
    December 5, 2019

    Go to you tube and search for

    ELECTION EVE 2019 MORNING IN SALISBURY DOMINICA with HECTOR JOHN – BrBpTV

  4. shrewd
    December 5, 2019

    Please ask President Trump to remove this dictator from the people of Dominica. The united States removed Sadam, Gaddfi and others. Roosevelt Skerrit is the worst dictator the Caribbean has ever seen.

    • It's MissAlie
      December 6, 2019

      Be careful what you wish for! The U.S loves to invade other countries and what happens when they do?
      More chaos.

  5. Wow
    December 5, 2019

    US Ambassador, please kindly take off your hands from Dominica.

  6. A Sucker For The Truth
    December 5, 2019

    Consider raking the leaves in your own messy backyard before advising others to buy a rake.

    I am no political scientist; however, my personal assessment is that Dominica has a more real and robust democracy than the country that prides itself on being the democratic beacon of the world.

    No electoral college system here, just one person, one vote.

  7. Kalinago Justice
    December 4, 2019

    :?: Some of you don’t seem to have read and properly understood the Ambassador :?: The Ambassador is speaking in diplomatic language though she made it categorically clear that Electoral Reforms is recommended by international organizations. She definitely is not in support of the one-man rogue regime!!!

  8. Remember Venezuela
    December 4, 2019

    So Skerrit says election is on Friday so the question is, what will Dominica be like after the Skerrit election in Friday?
    THE BIG PICTURE:

    IF UWP WINS: Most likely Skerrit will be seen somewhere in a suite very similar to one we saw his friend Monfared in. Wouldn’t it be great to see him in a BLUE suit? The only thing that is not known at the moment is where will he be suited in? In Iran? The US? Uk? DA? Only time will tell. Whatever the case if uwp wins the we will be in a very dark hole to get out from but I am confident we will get out and finally on a path to recovery.

    IF SKERRIT STEALS THE VOTES:
    LINTON will be a wanted man dead or alive. Linton, yep candidates and friends of the UWP will be hunted in their homes, cars, at a funeral etc for makeup crimes they did not commit. We will see the worse of Dominica and even the presence of God will run out if there is a little of his presence still left.
    Unless the US steps in before Friday, I see lots of trouble ahead. So…

  9. David
    December 4, 2019

    A lot of them were praising the OAS under an earlier article. Now a lot of them are insulting the US/OAS. Lol. The difference… the OAS earlier remarks were based largely on lies brought to them by the opposition, but now they have done a little more research and are actually on the ground in Dominica. Everyone will eventually see the fake Linton is. Conman! Unfit to be PM!

  10. Child of Itassi
    December 4, 2019

    The transporting in 1986 of Baby Doc (the sixth-most corrupt world leader then) from impoverished Haiti to France was on a U.S. Air Force flight. Trump may not be so inclined here, as the current Dominica uprising is a storm in a teacup to him.

  11. Insomnia
    December 4, 2019

    What does Roosevelt Skerrit and his accolytes have to hide, or what is it they doesn’t want Dominicans to find out if he doesn’t win this upcoming election.

  12. Spy
    December 4, 2019

    Thank you Ambassador Linda Taglialatela
    My country Dominica where I was born just a bit less than 60 years ago, this is the very first time I am seeing a government behaving in this way
    I am convinced that the DLP, it’s leader and a lot of it’s loyal supporters are deeply involved in corruption locally, regionally and internationally, and for these reason they will not implement electoral reform that could cause them to lose the general election
    instead of listening to the voice of the people the Dominica government have invited the RSS to do their dirty work against the people of Dominica
    Please Ambassador Linda Taglialatela take our concerns to the US government and the rest of the world via the OAS and other world organizations who are interested in democracy and justice which will bring about peace.

  13. The Evangelist
    December 4, 2019

    Honestly speaking I don’t see a big difference between what the ambassador, who is a politician said from what the Bishop a church leader said. NONE called out Skerrit and his EVIL government directly while both indirectly called Skerrit and his government out. I am not a fan of the bishop but as an honest good citizen and religious leader I must say that I am vert offended by the attack of the bishop and I the Evangelist, call on the the individual that was heard and is closely connected to the bishop to call Q95 before Friday, issue a public apology to the bishop. Unless that is done I the Evangelist will stay home on Friday, election day.
    It cannot be right to embarrass Mr Linton and supporters of the UWP like myself, as you did Bran

  14. Eagle-Eyed
    December 4, 2019

    Madam ambassador you should get your president to investigate Lennox Linton and UWP links to the Polisario Front. The tactics they are applying for this election comes directly from the playbooks of the Polisario front. :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

  15. December 4, 2019

    Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise. These guys are a bunch of howlings.

  16. Roger SH
    December 4, 2019

    Instead of making speeches that are neither here nor there your government should put Skerrit on warning for selling passports to gangsters and stealing from our country’s coffers. So long we have been asking for fair elections and voters ID cards but all we get from the so called PM is lies, empty promises and a good dose of spin. He and that so called President were warned but they thought they are above the law and the will of the people. Now they have to learn the hard way… One thing is for sure, there won’t be any more elections before there is electoral reform

  17. Jokr Phoenix
    December 4, 2019

    Everybody conveniently missing the last part:
    “Dominica has a long history of successful democratic elections, and we have every trust and confidence this one will be too.”

    • iprotest
      December 4, 2019

      and so what does de rest of de statement say
      you reading from de bottom up?

    • internet star
      December 4, 2019

      successful doesn’t mean it was fair. don’t show you stupid publicly

  18. %
    December 4, 2019

    Tell it to the corrupt DLP government. It’s highly corrupt and has denied the people reform after hollering for the said reform for 10years.Many elections have been stolen on island, and the people are feeling that their democracy is being evicerated.
    Skerrit
    Whey is di money?
    Whey is di money?
    Whey is di money?

  19. Jules Verne
    December 4, 2019

    This article shows a lack of courage on the part of the Embassy. Why doesn’t the article state unequivocally that to date Dominica has not even attempted to implement the recommendations? The country cannot just “look ahead” or hope that the reforms will somehow fall into place. They are prepared to just look away while the elections are hijacked!

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 4, 2019

      Yea Jules
      Everybody has to sing from you all’s songbook and until they do so they get cursed out and harassed and degraded.

      Why not admit that you all are the ones bringing in an environment of fear and intimidation for the first time in Dominica’s electoral history? Electoral reform should include campaign financing andcodes of conduct as well. You all think that voter id and list cleansing is the only area needing reform?

      Laws excluding people with criminal proceedings hanging over their heads should also be enacted. Voter intimidation should also be included.

      You all are such hypocrites. there are scores of diaspora UWP supporters here on island, having come in over the last few days. You all have a similar characteristic, all of you. You are the only one with rights. Your supporters have a right to be here, however they came, paid for or not, but those on the other side are committing a crime by doing the same thing.

      Exposure of your hypocrisy is coming.

      • Jules Verne
        December 4, 2019

        This response to my comments indicate the height of ignorance. People comment on things they do not understand.

      • Pipo
        December 5, 2019

        Barbara, I’m afraid Roosevelt Skerrit has tarnished the genuine Labour Party voters and that is very sad. I truly believe in a democracy there should not be just one party.
        Difference of opinion and competition is stimulating and healthy.

      • RandyX
        December 5, 2019

        You of course sing from your Skerrits songbook for a few measly dollars. What a sorry individual…!

    • Kay
      December 4, 2019

      That is completely untrue. If you do your research you will find that we indeed attempted to implement the recommendations. However we were blocked by some opposing party.

      • Eddy A
        December 5, 2019

        All you wanted to implement Skerrits recommendation not the will of the people. There is a subtle difference. The days when it was either Skerrits way or the highway are gone and we won’t allow them to return!

        • Kay
          December 5, 2019

          What is the will of the people? To be disenfranchised?

    • Eagle-Eyed
      December 4, 2019

      Jules, both you and i and everyone else know that the recommendations made by the monitoring group were impossible to implement given the short period of time for this election. Implementing these recommendations in it’s entirety would have disenfranchised a wide section of our diasporans. The recommendations would involve going to the homes of every voter and issuing ID cards in order for them to participate in their own democratic rights, this would also mean sending people all over the world Where Dominicans reside and also issue them ID cards. I mean, how realistically would that work for this election? There will always be dead people on the voters list since people die every day so you can never have a clean voters list. The current voting process has served us well for the past 40 years. If we want to reform the current process surely it will take a couple of years to get things sorted.

  20. Big Bannan
    December 4, 2019

    We do NOT support the loss of lives or personal harm to any one individual, however in order for this protest to create any lasting impact it must disrupt business as usual at least on a temporary basis. In the absence of disruption this protest would be rendered worthless.

  21. The Truth Be Told
    December 4, 2019

    BEAKING NEWS – The International plots will backfire. All u Diasporians wanna be Diplomats will be exposed. Take note! Stop your protests attitude. Gab u & your cohorts please repent before it is to late. Say u are sorry to the PM & the people of Dominica 4 all the disruptions. Video lady 2; All of u promoting fake news although u cannot come down to visit. Stop this because I am to remind u that God is not asleep. He knows coco couer (heart). He know mines too. Remember Jehovah now b 4 it is too late. Apologise now b4 it is 2 late. Why carry bitterness for one man and u are ready to destroy a whole nation. Don’t u see the following this man has? People love him. Stop the foolishness of hatred in your soul & spirit. Ask Jehovah to change your stony heart to a hart of love. Peace & Love to u. I pray that God of love heal your hurting heart, soul & spirit. also everyone who needs this. Love guys. DNO make sure u put up my message. Very necessar.

  22. Realist
    December 4, 2019

    Thanks ambassador. This is a rebuke to Linton and his enablers; protest peacefully not like the animalistic behavior that is on display presently. The ambassador seems sympathetic to the present government and is hoping that reform will take place in the future which I know the DLP government will embrace.

    • Jules Verne
      December 4, 2019

      Ridiculous. This is blind and foolish optimism in the face of the PM’s refusal to implement reform.

  23. Joe
    December 4, 2019

    The US promotes “democracy” only when it is convenient. It has a long history of destroying democracies, assassinating foreign leaders and overthrowing elected governments it does not like.

    Haiti and Bolivia and Venezuela come to mind.

    The Ambassador’s statement has no credibility.

  24. New Tral
    December 4, 2019

    That is ironic coming from a country that the evidence clearly shows that Russia influenced the outcome of the US election. It is ironic because the president and his supporters continue to deny that foreign influence contributed to the outcome of the election.

    • d-a born
      December 5, 2019

      “Russia influenced the outcome” – looks like somebody drink the whole jug of the democrat and CNN kool-aid

  25. Real Dominican
    December 4, 2019

    This, as we have it, is the tone and posture of the USA, they are against skerrit.

    • Spy
      December 7, 2019

      Real Dominican
      that is because Skerrit in an enemy to peace and democracy in the world

  26. Ras B
    December 4, 2019

    Madam Ambassador, We understand your need to stay out of the internal affairs of a country but did you read your statement before posting? It is confusing. You listed the recommendations of the joint observer mission, you further stated that this was not the first time these recommendations have been made. The observer mission indicated that their recommendations were a necessary prerequisite for free, fair and transparent elections.

    Yet in your conclusion, you stated: “whatever government is in place after the elections, we hope that it will take action on these recommendations in consultation with civil society.” In that statement, you implied that those recommendations have not been adopted. Strangely enough, your last sentence: “Dominica has a long history of successful democratic elections, and we have every trust and confidence this one will be too;” rubbishes all that you said previously and tacitly implies that the joint observer mission was totally unnecessary. :(…

  27. The Truth Be Told
    December 4, 2019

    “The Caribbean is a strong and vibrant example of democracy to governments around the world – and should continue to be so. his is a moment for all participants in the political process to ensure free, fair, and peaceful elections in Dominica. The United States calls on all citizens to peacefully engage in the democratic process.”

    All Citizens yes we are but some wannabes wants the outside world 2 think that democracy is not alive but see the irony – they claim the PM is a dictator yet they do all those foolish things & not get arrested because of spiritual discernment. But I must warn when we dig pits for others, most times we fall back right into it. Now all you talking senseless talk, try that in US 2 see what happens 2 u. Gabu& others block Road in US nah! Those of u overseas who cannot even come visit home but trying to use persons here to become Diplomats etc to live your lavish lives in the US, I say 2 u God is alive. He saw u violent acts. Repent now. U provoked…

  28. Friendlyelse
    December 4, 2019

    Tell that to Russia.

  29. Jonathan Y St Jean
    December 4, 2019

    Thank you, madam, Ambassador, your call for electoral reforms, which echoes the point of view of your government, the USA government, and is the same that has been called for and ignored by the Skerritt led-government for 15 years. How much longer can and should free people to show restraint and watch the theft of the elections in their country? I understand the diplomatic speak which you must engage in, and I hope your government will come to the support of those patriots willing to stand up for free, fair and transparent elections in Dominica this year or next. Thank you for lending your voice to this important matter and reiterating what is being called for by those who respect the constitution of Dominica.

    • Realist
      December 4, 2019

      To Jonathan Y St Jean. Did you read the entire article? Just asking because you failed to mention the rebuke to the so called protesters who are causing violent acts in Dominica.

  30. dissident
    December 4, 2019

    Thank you for the solidarity.
    I can’t say the same for our sister islands in dat thing they call CARICOM and OECS

    Our own institution won’t defend our cause…. thank you for standing up for democracy and the Commonwealth of Dominica

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 4, 2019

      Dissident

      I don’t think you are right on this one. Someone representing CARICOM, I think a St. Lucian Minister spoke on Dominica’s behalf at the OAS meeting where Hon. Francine Baron was presenting the facts.

      CARICOM basically endorsed Dominica’s and the region’s record of free and fair elections.

      I am glad the US Ambassador has basically said the same thing and she is urging whichever government comes into office to consider some of the recommendations which have been made in the past.

      A fair position I think coming from her. I am very glad that the OAS delegation is here to witness first hand the UWP in action. A far cry from what they have been feeding the biased Secretary General.

      By the way, what has become of Crispin Gregoire. Has he outlived his usefulness for the UWP?

  31. The Truth Be Told
    December 4, 2019

    “Dominica has a long history of successful democratic elections, and we have every trust and confidence this one will be too.” I Quote please note. But of course. UWP won under this method. They won two (2) additional seats last election. Now they are all confusing themselves with excuses the most foolish one is Dead people voting. No election yet they got nominated. What foolishness is this now they destroying what has been built. They are sowing the seeds of confusion. I feel sorry for those who cannot think for themselves; who likes gossip, slander, sensational news etc. They are the vulnerable ones who if anything happen are in the front lines aided by a leader who refuses to stop them, because he sees them as pawns to satisfy his agenda of becoming PM at all cost. Their croonies have filed an injunction to prevent the process that has started. They use anyhting to make a fuss without educating their supporters. Followers who repeat what they hear. Where the 1.5B…

    • Lloyd larond
      December 4, 2019

      You left out this piece “In September, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the Commonwealth Secretariat issued a joint report recommending that the government of Dominica implement reforms to ensure free, fair, and transparent elections. The “Report of the Joint CARICOM-Commonwealth-OAS Special Mission to Dominica,” available to the public online, found a need to “improve the system of voter identification of voters on Election Day,” adjust electoral boundary “discrepancies,” enact “campaign finance legislation,” improve media access for all parties, and “increase public confidence in the Electoral Commission and the Chief Elections Officer,” among other findings. This is not the first time international election observers have made these types of recommendations to the government of Dominica. The most recent report stated that the proposed reforms “are critical and necessary for Dominica to maintain its credible electoral system.”

  32. Lloyd larond
    December 4, 2019

    Thank you, but we need reform before Friday and this Election has to be postponed until reform is done.

    • Barbara Saunders
      December 4, 2019

      So Lloyd
      Go ahead and make a new calendar, turning two days into two years to get the reform done before elections.

      So you all just seem incapable of staying on message. First it was no election without reform, then when the date was announced, I heard your leader saying that his party will participate in the elections and when you all come into office will do the reforms.

      By the next week he was joining the patriots in demanding electoral reform before the election, I assume that was Dec. 06 or maybe he was hoping by some miracle that they could really succeed in the courts to delay the date.

      Then you people are so transparent in your machinations. You must have known if you have any commonsense that the courts could not overturn a power given to an official by the constitution, so you start to attack the judge’s integrity even before coming before her, so when she gives her decision, the perception of bias will become a reality in the minds of the unsuspecting.

  33. jaded
    December 4, 2019

    Wow! The American ambassador just delivered an uppercut punch to Skerrit. Too bad she chose to be partisan and did not condemn the useless violence and disruptions of everyday life in Dominica by the band of misfits supporting the UWP.

    • Realist
      December 4, 2019

      jaded, did you read the entire article? Maybe you did but did not understand it.

  34. Braindamage
    December 4, 2019

    Madame, Skerrit will not listen. He is not comfortable in losing his piece of land his grand father left for him.

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