The United Workers Party (UWP) wants the support of Dominicans living in Antigua and Barbuda to help in its fight to win the next general election but the party will not be “buying” votes.
UWP political leader, Lennox Linton, made that very clear when he addressed Dominicans living in St Johns at a town hall meeting in Antigua last night.
“I advise you to put your time aside. Put your leave aside; reserve your leave. Put your little money aside and come down to vote for change in the upcoming elections,” Linton said.
Linton used his turn at the podium to also tell prospective voters that the UWP won’t be issuing any assistance for travelling to Dominica.
“We are not providing airline tickets nor are we providing ferry tickets either”, he said.
He explained that to do that, the UWP will be involving itself in an act of bribery under the laws of Dominica.
“And we will not do that because we are a law-abiding party. We don’t believe dollar bills should vote,” he further explained.
According to the opposition leader, people should vote their conscience and based on their honest assessment on where the country is and where it should be heading.
He did say however, that whether bribery in elections is a crime or not and whether payment of airline tickets is a crime or not, he is aware the Dominica Labour Party will do it, nonetheless.
“It is up to you to dissuade your brothers and sisters in Antigua from Dominica from going down that road. It is a dangerous road which places our democracy at risk,” Linton warned.
Linton said Dominicans around the world have been targets of election bribery for years.
“The party that has been in government has focused its attention on targeting those who want a free ticket to come down every five years,” he said.
But Linton explained that once elections are over, “they are done with you”.
He said when the Dominica Labour Party purchases tickets, it is not coming from their personal funds, but the “peoples” money from the sale of passports.
According to Linton, if this should become a practice, it must be done in an organized way.
He said it should be used by the government or independent electoral commission.
“There should be a fund in place for anybody who wants to come to Dominica to vote whether Green, Red or Blue. That would not be bribery because the privileged would be afforded to anyone living overseas…”, he explained.
But he said, this is not what the incumbent DLP is doing. “When they come recognize it as your money, take it and do what your conscience tells you to do.” he said.
Linton said it is high time that Dominica is rescued from what he referred to as “this criminal enterprise” that has sat at the helm of this government for the last twenty years.