“We are ready to take back control of our country, we are ready to reset this economy, we are ready to rescue our country from the stranglehold of people who have for 23 years been looking out for themselves and not paying attention to us.” Those were the words of President of the United Workers Party (UWP) Lennox Linton.
His comments came while speaking as a guest on ‘The Workers Voice’ Program aired on Q-95 Radio recently, where he called on the Dominican public to turn out in massive numbers on May 31, 2023, to join the party in a peaceful rally organized for the people of Dominica to express their concerns.
“Because it is time for Dominica to say in a very definitive way, no argument, what is happening is not good for us and we are standing together against it.” He argued. “We are standing together for all political colours from all walks of life, from all areas of the country. We are standing together.”
Linton continued, “May 31 is really about us, the country that belongs to all of us, the country we have lost control of, the people of Dominica… [No one] anywhere should ever lose control of their country regardless of who is in government. And the people on the 31st of May 2023 are being called to stand in the capital city of the country and to say enough is enough.”
He pointed out that the evidence is all around us.
“The evidence of that is in the decline in your standard of living that you have witnessed in the last 20 years,” he remarked. “The evidence of that is in the struggle that you have been involved in to just survive…it’s just getting harder and harder.”
Linton went on to state that at the same time, those who the people give responsibility to lead, “or those who take the responsibility from you to lead and to make life better in Dominica are only making life better for themselves.”
He added, “And if that’s your reality then the place for you on the 31st of May is the Capital City of Roseau.”
Linton believes that Dominicans now have a responsibility to make a statement to the government that what is going on is not acceptable.
“The people who have the privilege of being in government should never be allowed to wrestle control of the country from the people,” he stressed. “And that means when those serving governments are not serving the best interest of the people, their lives are not going anywhere, the economy is not doing well, they are not able to make ends meet. They are suffering, they have it hard and in those circumstances, people hold the government responsible for their resources.”
Linton stated that every five (5) years in our democracy the people exercise the right to change their government, to decide who their government will be. However, he said in Dominica, “we have lost that right–to choose a government or to change a government [has] been taken away from the people of Dominica, because the ruling party of the last 23 years has decided it will take advantage of weaknesses in the election legislation, it will create its own loopholes in the legislation, and it will find creative ways of doing all the things that election laws say should not be done in order to ensure that they win the election or they get the results that they are looking for after the election.”
Linton added, “And that has been the story of our lives for the last 15 years, so let us look at Dominica, let us ask ourselves why we are in this position?”
He questioned why Antigua & Barbuda and St Kitts & Nevis are able to employ so many young people from Dominica.
“Why are the other islands around us able to employ our young people, while our young people cannot find sustainable good paying jobs in Dominica?” Linton asked.
Part of the discussion at the rally will be the need for electoral reform in Dominica. The UWP has been actively advocating for electoral reform in Dominica since January 2018, through its weekly radio programs, public education campaign, and a number of public protests.
Meantime, Vice President of the UWP Francisca Joseph has raised concerns over the delay of the long-awaited electoral reform report for Dominica.
“Where is the electoral modernization process? Where is it right now?” she asked. “The electoral reform you told us that was coming that you were waiting for the report and you know that you got the first piece of the report. What has happened since then? Nothing.”
What is the government afraid…? Why is it [that] in this day and age in 2023 we do not have the reform that we need?” Joseph asked.
We are asking people to turn out in large numbers to support the cause for justice, equality and equity, and freedom for Dominica.
Following a recent press briefing Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit continued to express frustration on the delay of the long-awaited electoral reform report from eminent Caribbean Jurist Sir Dennis Byron. Sir Byron was selected by Prime Minister Skerrit to serve as the sole commissioner to advance efforts toward electoral reform in Dominica.
“The report was promised to us on March 23, 2023, we are now in May and this is concerning to me, because we absolutely in the country need to set this issue of electoral modernization/reform aside and focus on more important matters of the state,” he said. “This is a commitment we gave and I have said to Sir Dennis and of course you know we had the challenges with Covid-19 and the slowdown of this.”
According to Prime Minister Skerrit, whatever the final report is, it should be submitted to the people of Dominica, “and let us take it from there.”
The UWP rally is expected to take place at the Arch in Roseau on Wednesday, May 31, from 3:00 p.m.