University lecturer in the US, Dominican Dr. Bernard Anthony Frampton, believes that there is a need for a change of government in Dominica and the best hope of achieving that is to vote for the United Workers Party whenever elections are called.
Frampton said any action or engagement by public officers that abuse public office for personal or partisan gain is corruption.
For instance, he explained, “political interference in the payment of contracts cost us millions of dollars in lost value and lost opportunities to develop local business and local capacity.”
He contended that if politicians in public office direct public resources to their constituency, cronies, or supporters instead of giving them to the village, community, or people most in need, they are corrupt. If every deserving Dominican does not have a fair chance of receiving public assistance, despite their political persuasion, then the government is corrupt.
“If politicians are acquiring unexplained personal wealth while in public office without the proper reporting or the intervention of the government’s accountability systems, they are corrupt and the system is corrupt,” Dr Frampton added.
He said in fact, perhaps the most disturbing reflection of Dominica’s current political climate is the apathy to public corruption, both among politicians on the government side and among a large swath of the electorate.
“There seems to no longer be shame in misappropriating the government’s money. I have heard otherwise lucid Dominicans say so what if they take money, everybody does it. And what makes the struggle against this national cancer so complicated is that a significant section of the electorate has been conditioned, through deliberate propaganda, to remember and even relive anxieties over milder acts that tainted the UWP’s short time in office,” he said.
He added, “And if you are patriotic enough, brave enough, or ethically grounded enough to call them out, they will tell you: cool out. Dominica seems to be raining cool out. But it makes sense, you know. After getting people drunk on too much cold red Kool-Aid in a heated environment, you ought to expect them to want to cool out” he said.
Meantime Frampton also advocated for what he said is a more progressive and independent role for the courts in the system of government.
He argued that the system of appointing judges and the traditional role of our judicial system as the enforcers and elaborators of laws and the protectors of specific rights are too limiting for our realities as a small island nation.
“It may be useful to review the role of the judiciary as elaborators and enforcers of rules and the laws to envisage them as independent arbitrators that permit their timely input in critical matters of governance”, he said.
While Dr. Frampton agrees that we must retain certain aspects of the decentered role of the justice system, he said we must make our courts more efficient and competent in facilitating public engagement and influencing public accountability and transparency in ways that are not just litigious.
“We ought to see them as critical actors in ensuring that government works as much during the fact as after the fact,” he added.