A committee has been set up by a group of church, business and civil society leaders who are lobbying for electoral reform before the upcoming general election.
The group leaders have been meeting regularly since Wednesday 31st January 2019, in an effort to dissolve the road blocks in route to electoral reform.
The committee met at the Public Service Union (DPSU) building on Monday morning to deliver their interim report to key stakeholders, the media and other constituent members.
“When there is an issue of civil unrest/unlawful activities, the business community suffers. Looting and vandalism of 7th February 2017 and after Hurricane Maria, are vivid reminders, to the extent that some businesses did not survive as a result of unlawful activities,” President of the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC), Pastor Randy Rodney said. “We are observing the emotions expressed in the public. If something is not done to reasonably satisfy the electoral reform process, there is a chance that something will erupt.”
According to him, any eruption of unlawful activities and any consequential impact on the business environment will resonate throughout the society, impacting employees, families, churches and the already stressed legal machinery.
“To put it simple, what we want to achieve is that the public will perceive that whoever wins the next general election has done so fairly and the people will go back to working and building the country,” Rodney stated. “We want to avoid the perception that the elections were not fair, which may lead to unrest whereby persons with criminal intent may take advantage of the situation to the detriment of the business community and the country.”
He said the group recognizes that one way to obtain the perception that the election held was fair is to have a sanitized listed of eligible electors, “that is to say, the people on the electors’ lists are generally entitled to be there and that the electors can be properly identified at the polls.”
Hence, the group’s primary goals, within the provisions of the Constitution, enacted legislation and regulations are, according to Rodney, “to realize a sanitized list of eligible voters, and to have eligible elector identified with a valid ID.”
He explained that the group has decided to delay any engagements or meetings with the general public until after the electoral reform efforts are either well on the way to bear fruit or are deemed frustrated by one or more stakeholders.
“We recognize the need to engage in an education process with the general public, to guide and remind the citizens on the elector’s role, the responsibility in electoral reform and the citizens’ shared responsibility in maintaining a good environment to live, work and do business,” the clergy man declared.
Rodney revealed that early in the encounters, on the 26th of February 2019, some recommendations were submitted to the Electoral Commission. After meetings with all the key Stakeholders, the group has compiled an interim report which was dispatched to all stakeholders.
Furthermore, he said the group requested another meeting with the Electoral Commission at which they plan to discuss the interim report.
“We will be tabling the report at a meeting with our various constituents tomorrow Tuesday 9th April 2019 at 4:30 pm at the conference room of the Dominica Public Service Union Building on valley road,” he revealed. “The report will be discussed then.”