‘Dominica’s electoral process is old and needs modernization’ – Sir Dennis Byron

Sir Dennis Byron addressing the electoral reform consultation via Zoom

Eminent Caribbean Jurist, Sir Dennis Byron believes the regulatory framework for Dominica’s electoral process is old and needs modernization.

He was speaking during a virtual consultation organized by the Dominica Business Forum (DBF) on Thursday, Jume 17, 2021.

Sir Byron was selected by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to serve as a sole commissioner to advance efforts towards electoral reform in Dominica.

“My mandate became necessary because the electoral process had become so contentious, that the much needed reforms could not find consensus…,” he said. “The regulatory framework for the electoral process is old and it needs modernization.”

He said he is interested in using the best technology that is available to modernize the process.

“I think it is critical to leverage the most up-to-date form of technology to achieve the results that we are looking [at],” Sir Dennis added.

According to the former CCJ president, the important aspects of his work include reviewing the existing legislation and the various reports, opinions and views that have been expressed by previous advisors on the reform of the electoral process.

“I must also understand the mood of the population and its underlying expectations, so I must pay attention and be aware of what that has been happening and what is happening now,” he said.

He believes the consultations will assist in having that understanding.

“This is not to encourage anybody or myself being judgmental, but to provide an important factual backdrop to my exercise,” Sir Dennis remarked.

Byron said gathering information through written submissions, surveys and these community oral consultations will provide him with a better understanding.

“It is highly beneficial that any recommendation I make will be grounded in and reflective of the views of the communities,” he noted.

He mentioned further that his recommendations must, of course, reflect his own independent judgment, “but this judgment must have the benefit of being refined to the views and opinions which will emerge from these and other consultative exercises.”

Furthermore, he said one should bear in mind the real purpose of elections, the objective of which is to secure and sustain a legitimate government within an inclusive and democratic society.

“Such a society or a democracy must be built on the firm foundation of respect for people and their human, social and political rights,” Sir Dennis stated.

He said these rights should guarantee political equality and freedom from discrimination, so that everyone would have equal rights to participate fully in the political process to receive an impact information and to associate freely with others in order to advance political views and interests.

The electoral reform commissioner also mentioned that everyone who has a right to do so must be allowed to vote and stand for election.

“The voting criteria must therefore be clearly regulated with provisions to ensure compliance,” Byron noted. “This requires the maintenance, publicly available electoral registers that are regularly updated with provisions of the corrections of errors of improper inclusions or omissions.”

He stressed that people must have equal voting rights and power, equal opportunity must be granted to political parties and candidates.

“These are the values that make the question of voter identification so important…,” he asserted.

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  1. Inform/reform
    June 23, 2021

    Byron must be loving that! All these people who are posting their comments seem to be begging Byron, please Sir. help us. What ever the type of cool-aid Dominicans drank from their “AM” has made them dotish. Byron would have already packed his bag and moved out, had it been in any of the other Island. That Sce-Rat cool-aid is powerful tan. I wonder who mixed that cool-aid for him. One more thing – irrespective of whatever electoral reform takes shape in Dominica, once we have loose strangers and foreigners spreading all over Dominica, Skeritt will never lose an election. That’s a fact. We have to do something about immigration if we really want to seriously move forward as a democratic country. No immigration reform, No electoral reform. Plain and simple. Because, if they are able to import voters, why won’t they not use those who are already in port? Them illegals. Not calling names, all you know but afraid to talk.

  2. Toto
    June 22, 2021

    Our electoral process is younger than you Sir Byron, but not as old as the Ten Commandments. You want to modernise them too Sir Byron? Some things are true for ever and are not subject to fashion or the whims of dictators Sir Byron.

  3. Mario
    June 22, 2021

    Never mind ‘best technology’. What we need right now and without delay: a cleansing of the voters list and a stop to the
    treating by the DLP and the PM.
    Byron, stop complicating the issue, all you are doing is preparing a smokescreen and divert from the real issue. All this has Skerrit written all over it.

  4. Opaque
    June 22, 2021

    This man is saying a lot with a lot of words, but look deeper and you will see he is really saying nothing. A bunch of high-brow intellectual mumbo-jumbo to try and obfuscate and create opacity to the public. He believes, like the person who hired him, that all of the public are dithering idiots, and are easily fooled. I say not so. The Dominican electorate must open their eyes, ears, and minds to the great con game that is being played upon them. Time to wake up my people, and see what is really going on. After 20 years of what we have, or better yet, don’t have, it is time to give someone else a chance.

  5. Dum-in-a-can
    June 22, 2021

    As if to confirm that Dominicans are not too smart so we need a foreigner, this time a Kittician to tell us that our election laws need to be modernized. It reminds me of when Ralph Gonzales came to Portsmouth and told us that we don’t need an international airport that we already had in the bag and we applauded him for saying we cannot afford international airport some 16 yrs ago. Now Skerrit and his gang telling us we need one and we can afford but this time he going to build it in the sky for us

  6. Ibo France
    June 22, 2021

    Think seriously about this Dominicans. The Electoral System is the fulcrum of our Democracy. One man (Mr. Roosevelt Skerrit)) has handpicked one man (Mr. Dennis Byron), a foreigner and a novice on electoral reforms, to fix the Electoral System of Dominica. To add insult to injury, Mr. Byron gets a cool 1/2 million dollars. If this isn’t MADNESS then what is?

    This singular action by Mr. Skerrit shows great disdain and a colossal lack of confidence in the ability and intelligence of his own people.

  7. Imputing Improper Motives (IIM)
    June 22, 2021

    Is he consulting Skerrit as he goes along?

    Will the technological modernization represent itself in the form of online voting?

    Is this as a result of the fact Roosevelt does not want to spend his personal Dominica’s money as was done in the last election, and thus does not want to, or cannot afford to bring down the traffic jam of planes in the airport?

    Mr. Byron, do not create a condition for uprising in Dominica. The CCJ has thus far done more that enough within that light.

    Since violence has never been a part of Dominica’s electoral process, the people of Dominica would never have expected, and been prepared, for an event such as the advent of RSS!

  8. Jonathan Y St Jean
    June 21, 2021

    Go ahead Dennis and justify your illegitimate windfall. Why do you think that concerned citizens have been calling for electoral reform for almost 20 years? You are trying to sound as if you are the “only one” who can help Dominica reform it’s elections. Braggadocio in bed with Skerritt. Other qualified regional experts came to Dominica and consulted with the people in various fora and presented their recommendations to the government which have been ignored by the ruling cabal. The much needed reforms couldn’t find consensus because the current government is hell bent on violating the constitution. If the online survey you employed is anything to go by, then you will be handing Skerritt a great tool to keep cheating at elections. Man you are also in violation of the supreme laws of Dominca by accepting this bogus exercise from Skerritt and superseding the electoral commission. Judas kissed Jesus so go ahead and kiss Skerritt’s a**. You are compromised.

  9. Ibo France
    June 21, 2021

    “Dominica’s electoral process is old and needs modernization.” This is the understatement of the century. The OAS, Commonwealth Secretariat, CARICOM and many local civil groups have this well documented.

    There is no reason to re-invent the wheel. Mr. Byron is being handed $450 000 for an exercise that has been done and can stand up to any candle, flashlight or sunlight that is put next to it. Mr. Byron redoing this is like a teacher making a student retake an exam for incorrections although the student has aced the test by scoring 100%.

    Take a serious look at the man’s countenance. The man looks enervated, forlorn and seems like he is in the last stretch of his sunset years. How can one individual who is a neophyte in electoral reforms be better than the best experts of three organizations that are very experienced in this specific field of endeavor. INSANITY!!!!!

  10. Truth Be Told
    June 21, 2021

    “Such a society or a democracy must be built on the firm foundation of respect for people and their human, social and political rights,” Sir Dennis stated. And the rule of Law my dear Sir Dennis Byron, do not forget the Rule of Law! We have a Government with a stated and declared lack of respect for the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the rule of law! Get that straight!

  11. %
    June 21, 2021

    Most of us believe that it’s an old electoral system, exploited by an unscrupulous set of leaders. The OAS, CARICOM and COMMONWEALTH with their team of experts on electoral matters, made recommendations to the Electoral Commission before the 2019 general election.. The LIAR IN CHIEF put forward the case of not having money to implement the recommendations. Now he found almost EC$500 000.00 to give to you.
    My question is for what?
    What is he expecting from your recommendations Byron?

    • Ibo France
      June 22, 2021

      Well put, %. Your comments are superlatively pertinent.

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