President of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Loftus Durand, has responded to recent remarks made by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit as they relate to the delays in the process for the implementation of Electoral Reform in Dominica.
Skerrit said recently, that the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) used the CCM to file an injunction in the courts, preventing the government from seeking parliamentary approval for the amendments.
However, during an exclusive interview with Dominica News Online (DNO), Durand described the prime minister’s statement as “very misleading” to the Dominican people.
“There is nothing in the legislation that has been stopped because of the injunction that would affect the work of the commission,” he said. “The Commission still has its way to go ahead and cleanse the list, “to go ahead and institute a card for voting…to go ahead and update the list, so there is no injunction on the Commission stopping it or preventing it from doing the electoral reforms that the people in Dominica have been talking about.”
Durand continued, “As we speak, the Commission still have the power and authority to go ahead and continue to do its work on behalf of the people.”
He explained that the injunction was filed against the enactment of legislation for the use of a National ID Card which is to be implemented by the Electoral Commission.
“Because nowhere in our electoral laws, the commission [has] the authority to produce National ID Cards. On the contrary, it gives the commission a specific mandate to provide for voting and that we are saying should only be a voters ID Card, because a voters ID Card have specific stipulation out there.”
He mentioned for example, one has to be 18 years of age to vote and may obtain a Nationa ID Card before that. He pointed out that one also has to be living in the country.
Secondly, Durand said another matter that is under injunction “is the idea that the government went to our parliament and tried to amend the electoral laws to confer on the commission, to give the commission the necessary powers that they need in order to authorize people to go overseas to register voters.
Durand said according to the law once you are out of state for more than 5 years consecutively that person should not be on the list.
“We are saying that what is in the law should stand and it is on these two situations, that an injunction is at our courts as we speak,” he stated. “So, the Prime Minister, his statement is very misleading to the Dominican people.”
Meantime, the CCM president explained that there is another aspect of the Voter ID cards, the use of the biometrics, that requires legislation “and that for sure we are in agreement that the commission would have to get the necessary legislation from Parliament” to facilitate its work in that regard.
Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics such as finger print authentication, voice recognition, facial recognition and retinal scanning.