DFP leader proposes electoral reform measures for free and fair elections

DFP political leader, Kent Vidal

Freedom of information is among electoral reform measures that Leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), Kent Vital is proposing to ensure free and fair elections.

“Transparency reduces the ability of elected officials to hide official information that could be important for the public to exercise fair judgement in selecting the government that they want to manage their affairs,” Vital said during a panel on electoral reform which was held recently.

He said independence of the Electoral Commission and better composition of the Commission were necessary to ensure effective and fair administration of the electoral system.

Vital has also placed the the integrity in public office commission on his electoral reform list and is calling for “better composition of the commission to better implement the mandate of the commission which is critical for reducing corruption in public office.”

He is of the view that to remove persons from the list who have not been resident in Dominica for more than 5 years and not simply being absent from Dominica for a continuous period, is the true spirit and intent of the law.

“This needs to be corrected and clarified,” he stated. “These are some of the reforms that we need.”

The DFP leader added, “We also need to consider whether we need to extend the right to vote to citizens in general or to persons with interest.”

He noted that those reforms that can help the country reach its ultimate goal must be considered.

“But in all of this, we want to avoid the ramification of not having free and fair elections,” Vital stated. “We have a liberal democracy political system and free and fair elections is really the cornerstone that determines the legitimacy of those that govern us.”

Free and fair elections, he stated, could determine whether we come together after a general election and be inspired to build the Commonwealth.

Furthermore, Vital pointed, democracy, through general elections, gives voters the opportunity to determine whether a sitting government is worthy of a second term, “otherwise the public gives another political party the opportunity to govern.”

He believes that if this “sacred cycle” is broken through elections that are not free and fair then, “there are many potential ramifications, including mistrust which impact our ability to work together.”

Meantime, Vital pointed out election observers for the last two elections have all noted that elections were not necessarily fair and made recommendations for reforms.”

“The term necessarily was used or implied simply because the observers did not have the time to fully investigate the situations they noted,” Vital explained. “If they had that time I am certain they would have not used the word necessarily….They would have said it was certainly not fair.”

He argued that the perception of cheating needs to be removed.

 “Even if you want to think it’s just a perception,” Vital remarked, “even addressing that perception is really a sound justification for doing electoral reforms.”

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  1. Man bites dogs
    June 3, 2019

    Vidal, Not you as well coming up with the words of some corrupt leader call Linton, that guy is so weak he could not punch his way out of a wet paper bag the guy is antiquated and a heap of pure elephant dung a complete waste of time and effort.

  2. Tell it like it is
    June 3, 2019

    Very interesting article… but this very reform we are all talking about could have been implemented between 1995 and 2000 when the UWP was in power. But what did Eddison James and his colleagues do? Absolutely nothing! In fact they catered planes for the people to come down to vote in 2000. Have we forgotten? Who do so never like so.

    • Ibo France
      June 4, 2019

      It was not done and it was wrong then. It is long overdue, so what are the constraints preventing the present ill-administration from implementing these crucial reforms. We don’t live in the past, we live in the present. Stop driving and constantly looking in the rearview mirror. Can someone point out to me the harm or unfairness of voter’s ID cards, complete re-registration of the voters, campaign finance reforms, a set election date, equal access of all political parties to DBS, strict anti- bribery election laws. Which one of these measures is offensive or leads to the weakening of our democratic system? Only a utterly corrupt government would want an electoral system that is replete with flaws. A corrupt government uses the country’s resources on self and not for the country and its people. Dominica offers the perfect example of this rampant corruption by government. ONE-MAN-ISM-GOVERNMENT!

  3. Doctor
    June 3, 2019

    Sound and clear Mr. Vital. The notion in the public is that the observers stated that “there were fair elections”. Electoral reform is needed and it is simple. Thank you.

  4. I love my own space
    June 3, 2019

    I wonder why implementing these measures to ensure fair elections are being seen as so difficult to do? Just as free college education was announced to gain votes, why not call an emergency cabinet meeting to implement those necessary reforms? Electoral reform has been requested for so long I can’t understand why the relevant authorities would be dragging their feet on this, something that would surely benefit DOMINICA and not a selected few. It’s high time as Dominicans we do the things we need to and focus on DOMINICA.. Any thing other than giving the majority of Dominicans what they want i.e. Electoral reform is infringing on our rights as Dominicans and we can’t continue to sit idly by while some people continue to seek to remain in power by any means necessary. Well said leader of the freedom party, its high time more people speak out about this in the country.

    • Ibo France
      June 3, 2019

      I fully agree with you. Anything to benefit the majority of people, Skerrit and his political operatives fight tooth and nail to derail it. Only a government entrenched in corruption would be strenuously against fair and sensible electoral reforms. The present government is utterly depraved and ethically challenged. Get them out before they completely ruin the country. Dubious, cunning, conniving, duplicitous, light-fingered, sleazy, manipulative bandits they are. Feathering their own nests at the detriment of the common people.

  5. Anonymous
    June 3, 2019

    These are the measures we have been asking for a long time now, it was time. Imaging undergoing another five years of such divisive politics under labour party, my god

  6. Labor to the Bone
    June 2, 2019

    Let’s forget about the banana industry that died, the coconut product that died, the international airport he allowed Raph Gonsalves to take from us and for now I even want to say forget about election reform he does not want to give us. But people, how can I forgive any government for allowing Ross University, our baby for 40 years, that created employment directly and indirectly for over 3000 Dominicans to just pack their bags and go to Barbados? Can I forgive Skerrit and the DLP for that, even if I am a laborite? Boy all you not getting nightmare when you walk or drive around Picard to see what Skerrit caused? To make things worse, the executive leaders of Ross came to Dominica for a week trying to meet with Skerrit to discuss the way forward and instead of making time to meet them, Skerrit turned his back on them and decided to use that time to complete the purchase of Joseph Isaac you know man. We have to be crazy to vote Skerrit again my fellow laborites.

  7. Rotten Teeth
    June 2, 2019

    I agree with everything Mr. Vital and the DFP said. However, as long as their are rotten teeths at the helm I don’t expect anything to change. These rotten teeths are in serious trouble and the toothache and headache will continue to infect Dominica until those dentists extract everyone of them.

  8. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    June 2, 2019

    Vidal, if freedom of speech which exists in every democracy on earth does not exists in Dominica, how can you expect “Freedom” of information in a corrupted place like Dominica?
    Freedom of information is an extension of freedom of speech, a fundamental human right recognized in international law, which is today understood more generally as freedom of expression in any medium, be it orally, in writing, print, or through art forms.
    This means that the protection of freedom of speech as a right includes not only the content, but also the means of expression.

    Freedom of information also refers to the right to privacy in the content of the Internet and information technology.

    As with the right to freedom of expression, the right to privacy is a recognized human right and freedom of information acts as an extension to this right.

    Freedom of information can include opposition to patents, opposition to copyrights or opposition to intellectual property in general.

  9. Kermit
    June 2, 2019

    My brother all you aself, all you contesting the next general elections nah. People not hearing nothing about candidates or anything, no launching. Better all you sit this one out.

  10. Ibo France
    June 2, 2019

    Mr. Vital has said it well. Implementing these recommendations would put our democracy on solid footing.
    *A complete revamping of the present over bloated voter’s list
    * Voter’s ID cards
    * Campaign Finance Reforms
    * A set date for general elections
    * Freedom of Information Act
    * Integrity in Public Life Act (this board should be comprised of honest, non-partisan , apolitical people)
    A government that is adamantly opposed to these measures has to be corrupt. The current regime uses the loopholes and flaws in the electoral system like a great pianist uses the keys of a piano. If the elections are conducted in a truly free and fair manner, there will be no need for litigation, disunity, commotion and mass demonstrations after the votes are counted. CORRUPTION is at the heart and centre of this monumental effort by Skerrit and his degenerates to so stubbornly resist all attempts of bringing electoral reforms to fruition.

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