EDITOR’S NOTE: In this new feature, “New To The Slate” DNO takes a close look at new candidates, of all political persuasions, who have decided to brave the sometimes muddy arena of electoral politics. We begin with Ernie Jno. Finn.
Former Education Officer for the Eastern District, Ernie Jno. Finn, has become the face and voice of the United Workers Party (UWP), on the ground, in the Castle Bruce constituency, as preparations get underway for the highly anticipated upcoming general election in Dominica.
Jno. Finn has been accepted as the United Workers’ Party (UWP) candidate for the Castle Bruce constituency, according to UWP Leader, Lennox Linton.
Jno. Finn, who has been Principal of both the Castle Bruce Primary School and the Morne Jaune Primary School, told Dominica News Online (DNO), that her decision to enter the political arena for the first time, was fuelled by a desire to see change.
“I have been looking at the people in my constituency, and the country on a whole; and I think things are not getting better, but the lives of my people, their livelihood, that’s not getting better… and I think we need change,” she explained. “And I think I can bring about that change in my people… I have decided to contest the election on a UWP ticket.”
Jno. Finn, a native of the community of Good Hope, referred to the UWP as the “the better team”—the only party equipped to restore the country from its current state, which she believes is deplorable.
“I think this is the only party that can take Dominica from the ashes that it is in right now—from the dust, from the gutters— and put a smile back on her face,” she elaborated. “Dominica is crying day and night because of the levels of corruption, the level of oppression, the level of injustice that is going on in this country… A grey cloud is hanging over this country, and it has to be removed; and the party that can remove that grey cloud is the United Workers’ Party.”
The UWP candidate expressed her dissatisfaction with the current government, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP), claiming that they have introduced citizens to a “begging mentality,” which must be removed.
This, she said, can be done through educating people “so that their eyes can be opened, their minds can be opened, so they can see better, so they can see life clearer.”
Jno. Finn, who began teaching in 1971 at the age of 13, insisted that the youth be provided with education and employment, in order to “give them something in the country that they can look forward to, that they can do, and maintain themselves and better themselves, and remain here, and make a positive contribution to their country.”
She voiced disappointment with infrastructural issues within her constituency, and throughout the island—particularly with what she referred to as the permanent use of temporary bridges since the passage of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015.
“The damages from Erika have not been touched. Look at our bridges. After Erika we had some bailey bridges… In my opinion, a bailey bridge is a temporary bridge. A temporary bridge should not remain there for years,” she stated.
Despite being new to politics, Jno. Finn believes that she has “very strong” chances of winning in her constituency.
“I feel that I will win. I feel it, and I see it,” she said.
Jno. Finn holds a Diploma in Education from the University of the West Indies (UWI), and earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Educational Management in 2003.
Jno. Finn will replace UWP President Isaac Baptiste as the candidate for the Castle Bruce constituency in the upcoming election, which is constitutionally due in 2020. She assured DNO that there is no bad blood between the two, and that they are, in fact, “working together.”
‘Teacher Ernie’, as she is commonly known, describes herself as an avid volunteer within her community. She tutors children, and as a Catholic, is deeply involved in the church, as Chairperson of the church committee and choir leader.