President of the Dominica Business Forum and member of the Electoral Reform Group, Serverin McKenzie has told Dominica News Online (DNO) that two political parties have confirmed that they will attend tonight’s panel discussion on electoral reform.
The discussion has been organized by the Electoral Reform Group (a grouping of various sectors of society) on the topic: “Electoral Reform – Facilitating the verification of identity of persons on the Voter’s Registration Lists to enhance the process of issuing Voter ID Cards as an administrative tool in Sanitizing Voters Registration List.”
McKenzie did not reveal which of three parties that have been invited to take part in the panel discussion, had not yet responded.
“At least two of them have confirmed their participation and the other one we were awaiting the final confirmation but in the previous consultation that we had with all of them, all of them have in fact indicated that they would be willing to participate in some type of discussion,” McKenzie stated. “The discussion tonight is in fact a follow up from the discussions that we had with the various parties.”
Dominica News Online (DNO) has been able to independently confirm that the United Workers Party (UWP) and The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) have accepted the invitation to participate. The other party that was invited is the Dominica Labour Party.
McKenzie emphasized that the two measures that are critical to free and fair elections are the cleansing of the voters list and issuance of voter ID cards to ensure that voting is free and fair.
“In view of the panel discussion held last week … the chairman of electoral commission stated that apparently they haven’t got time to do the actual reform before the next general election. So, what we are concentrating on is what can be done under the existing law which clearly makes provision for the issuance of voter ID cards and also for the cleansing of the list under the existing law,” he said.
He said the Commission’s failure to introduce Voter IDs and to cleanse the voter’s list, will give rise to two main concerns: Dominica going into the next general election with the use of the indelible ink as the mechanism which can cause people to vote more than once and Dominica going into the next election with an electoral list that is almost more than population.
“These are the two main concerns that we have in the absence of the Electoral Commission failing to take the necessary measures to sanitize the list and issue identification cards as the population on a whole has been demanding. “
He added with the use of indelible ink, people can come out from the polling station, dip their hand in some type of solution and can go somewhere else and present themselves to vote again.
McKenzie is of the view that going into the next general election with the existing indelible ink and a bloated electoral list will be the recipe for a fraudulent election.
The panel discussion will be held tonight, May 28th at the Dominica Public Service Union (DSPU) from 7pm.