Opinions differ on Electoral Reform in Dominica

(L-r) Justice Irving Andre, Sir Dennis Byron

The much-talked-about final report on Electoral Reform in Dominica was recently submitted by its author Sir Dennis Byron, who was appointed sole commissioner. The prominent Caribbean jurist, in the report, pointed out that the matter of reforming the island’s electoral process has been highly controversial and has dominated public discourse for years now. He admitted that new legislation is required to modernize the electoral process on the island to bring it to conform with international best practices.

But not everyone appears to be in agreement with some of the proposals made by Sir Byron. Among them is another prominent jurist, Justice Irving Andre, who has distinguished himself serving on the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Canada.

“The Byron-led recommendations amount to nothing more than a recipe to continue holding elections in the very same way that concerned the CCJ in July 2022 despite the pious invocation of God by Dominica’s leadership,” Andre, a Dominican, said in reaction.

“It normalizes corruption in the holding of elections in Dominica and effectively caused the catastrophic implosion of Dominica’s democracy.”

In his report, Sir Byron noted, “The challenges of outdated legislation that seemingly do not support efficient voter identification, verification, and process automation are the crux of the discontentment regarding the current electoral system in Dominica.”

He said his assessment of Dominica’s present laws “highlighted the importance of regulating election campaign financing and implementing robust technology to guarantee accuracy and integrity.”

“Separately, it must be noted that the Constitution imposes a significant responsibility on the Electoral Commission, and the time has come for specialized legislation to ensure it functions as an impartial and independent management body,” he stated. “Consequently, a new Electoral Commission Bill 2023, is presented to augment the constitutional requirements and to improve the capacity of the Commission.”

He said that based on his finding, he proposed the enactment of the Register of Electors Act 2023, Register of Electors Regulations 2023, House of Assembly (Elections) Act 2023, and the Electoral Commission Bill 2023. The Register of Electors Act 2023 and Register of Electors Regulations 2023 were submitted in part one of the reports in November 2022. According to Sir Byron, that report focused on cleansing the voters’ list in Dominica “with emphasis on voter identification and the voter registration system.”

“It included a legislative framework to modernize the current electoral system and bring it into conformity with international best practice,” he said.

Part two of the report (the final one) addressed the electoral process, and the Electoral Commission and introduces two bills, the House of Assembly (Elections) Act 2023, and the Electoral Commission Bill 2023. It addressed the equitable use of Government media during Election Campaign, The Financing of Political Parties – Campaign Financing, Campaign Expenditure, Electronic Voting, Election Offenses, and the Electoral Commission. But it appears the recommendations proposed by Sir Byron did not go far enough for Justice Andre and he laid out his own.

Among the most important ones he mentioned are:

– Fixed dates for general elections enshrined in the constitution
– A prime minister should serve only two consecutive terms in office
– A new process for re-registration of voters
– Only those persons who are ordinarily resident in Dominica for a fixed period before an election should be eligible to vote in elections in Dominica
– There should be a specific national voter ID card for all eligible voters in Dominica to include biometric data including fingerprinting
– There should be no overseas registration of voters
– There should be a fixed timetable for the cleansing of the voters’ list
– All political parties should have equal access to both state and privately-owned media in Dominica during an election period
– There should be fixed limits on campaign financing expenditure both before and during any reporting period stipulated in the applicable legislation
– Foreign persons, companies, or governments should be expressly prohibited from
contributing either directly or indirectly to any candidate or party during a general election
– There should be fixed limits on the amount of money a Dominican or a local company contributes to the election campaign of any candidate or political party
– The definition of bribery in the applicable legislation should specifically include paying for air or sea travel for persons for the express or implied purpose of having the person or persons vote for a candidate or party during an election
– The appointment of a special prosecutor, rather than the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute persons who violate Dominica’s electoral laws
– Any breach of the electoral laws is punishable not only by a fine or imprisonment but also by disqualifying any candidate found guilty of violating Dominica’s electoral laws
– The financing of the Electoral Commission by a duly constituted independent body rather than by the minister of finance or by parliament
– Persons with a clear conflict of interest arising, for example, the sale of passports or providing professional service to the government for consideration other than their work as a member of the commission should be automatically disqualified from serving as a member of the commission
– The Electoral Commission should be expanded to nine members of civil organizations to include the religious sector, the business sector, trade union sector, and the local bar to be appointed by the president

In his report, Sir Byron made it clear that his role in the matter has been advisory in providing the recommendations to the Government of Dominica.

“I have dedicated time and care to thoroughly consider all aspects,” he stated.

“My advice and recommendations have been independently, impartially, and objectively formulated, without any bias or influence. I have now fulfilled this function, and it is now the responsibility of the Government to review the recommendations, conduct national consultations, and present the bills to Parliament, with or without modifications, for enactment into law.”

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  1. Man bite dogs
    July 6, 2023

    I was listening to Ugly Lenny, *Crap on the block* and that was crap Ugly Lenny, is all screwed-up and his blue monkeys even more so they think it’s Lenny, that is the leader of the country and Ugly Lenny, believe he is the leader of Dominica, he is mad or I must be mad listening to Ugly Lenny, mad house program.

  2. Ibo France
    July 5, 2023

    I say this in all sincerity and without any fear of contradiction. As long as Roosevelt is in power there would be no meaningful or fair changes to Dominica’s electoral system.

    The reasons for Roosevelt’s stubborn and obdurate resistance is multifold. The two main reasons are to continue his plundering of the national resources, and to remain in his current position to avoid incarceration on charges of corruption.

    The only way Dominicans will get fair national elections will be the day when the patriotic citizens throw Roosevelt overboard the maladministered ship.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  3. Gary
    July 4, 2023

    There is a motive for expressing such opinion and the opinion expressed should be questioned, statements made to construed as a matter of opinion or belief dominated by a sinister political agenda is not to be taken as a fact. Why is it a group of people or persons not elected to public office think that they have the absolute answer or solution as to how and what laws should be implemented to bringing about electoral reform in Dominica. If they want to implement electoral reform as to what they are suggesting and opposed to the Government then face the electorate get elected and form the Government, rather than making absurd statements about the present process saying “It normalizes corruption in the holding of elections in Dominica and effectively caused the catastrophic implosion of Dominica’s democracy.”

    It is time to bring closure to this matter, and stop using such issue as a political tool to destabilize the Country with proxy leadership.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
  4. The People's Voice
    July 4, 2023

    Roosevelt Skerrit is the only leader of a political entity to live and reside in Dominica. The leaders of every other political group live and work outside of Dominica and has been doing so for years now. Check the facts. DFP – USA; UWP – South Sudan; APP – USA; Team Unity – USA. Who else?
    So what happens at elections time? Will they be permitted to run for elections to the House even when they cannot vote? Will they be allowed to lead a political party into the election and potentially become PM of Dominica even when they cannot vote based on Andre’s “international best practice” formulae?

    During the period of consultation, did Irvine Andre take the opportunity to consult with Sir Byron and present his concept of “international best practice” in elections modernization? If he did not. Then why? was it to show up after the fact as a “sole commissioner” and to present this vitriol filled thesis

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18
    • me
      July 4, 2023

      @The People’s Voice
      It’s not Electoral Modernisation.. Thats a Skerrit term….You sound moronic and stupid. The oeople want Electoral Reform.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1
  5. The People's Voice
    July 4, 2023

    I did not read anything about the “international best practice” re electoral modernization that Andre spoke about? Is he saying that the “2 term limit” for anyone to serve as PM and fixed date for holding general elections is not in keeping with modern “international best practice” standards? Is he saying that in the country where he adopted, as his own, the electoral process which does not limit the terms for a person serving as PM and does not have fixed dates for holding general elections is not backward and archaic? Did he gave any example of any country that has adopted his notion / concept of what “international best practice’ is regarding electoral modernization?

    And in compilation of his election modernization thesis, who did Andre consult with? It would be nice to find out who he consulted with. Because one local commentator on the matter did say that if Sir Byron had accepted all of their recommendations, there would be no problem. I supposed he consulted with…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 17
  6. Lin clown
    July 4, 2023

    Here is the same foolishness again and again.Electoral reform is for the PEOPLE,who has the PEOPLE’S interest at heart?And who is the PEOPLE?In Dominica the is the majority who voted the government from 2000 to today.Everybody including the opposition know the majority of Dominicans are not interested in electoral reform.Skerrit want every Dominican to vote UWP does not.It is a lie that thousands of Dominicans come home every year to vote DLP.The question is WHY would they vote DLP and not UWP?I know for a fact the people in the diaspora tell their people NOT to vote UWP.The main reason is because during UWP reign between 1995 and 2000,there was too much corruption,victimization,greed and lies.Who in their right mind is going to own land,build a house,send barrels and thousands of dollars to their love ones,then turn around and vote a government they know is going to keep their love ones in poverty?There are thousands of Dominicans in the diaspora to work and not to live.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9
  7. Jonathan Y St Jean
    July 3, 2023

    It would have been more cost effective had Justice Andre or other judicial mind and practitioner been engaged to make recommendations on electoral reform for Dominica.
    After consultation with stake holders in Dominica, Dennis “the menace” proved that he’s a waste of time if his recommendations can have such void as pointed out by justice Andre.
    I’ll want to add my own recommendation that no politician should be allowed to cross the floor without getting the mandate from the electors through another vote. When the constituents vote in a politician he/she shouldn’t be allowed to cross the floor and give support to and represent another philosophy without going back to the electors for a new mandate.
    I hope that the corrupt cabal will include the suggestions where Dennis’s report is devoid. And to think that Dennis even got Skerritt annoyed with the delay in presenting the report. Sounds like Dennis is too damn busy to do a thorough job.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3
  8. July 3, 2023

    Irving Andre, you are a judge in Canada. In Canada there is no limit on voters staying out of Canada that would disqualify them from registering and voting in Canadian elections. So why do you want to impose that hindrance on Dominican voters are we in Dominican lesser mortals than you canadians?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 15
    • MEME
      July 4, 2023

      You should have quoted the population of Canada and the population of Dominica. Furthermore, it is a well established fact that that there are more Dominicans living outside of our shores than we have living here, internally.
      Hope you do understand where i am going with this point.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2
      • July 4, 2023

        So our rights and freedoms are now dependent on the size of the population? That sounds desperate and very idiotic.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
        • MEME
          July 4, 2023

          Stop that stupid comparism…When it suits you, you use Canada in your asinine comment. Do you know Dominica’s population? Maybe it’s approaching 70 000 now. Just ONE vote makes a huge difference. Not so in Canada. Re our elections, i believe because of this small population, ONLY those domiciled here on island for a stated period of time preceding the polls should vote..Dominicans living abroad, voting abroad, paying taxes abroad, etc, etc, should stay out of this…

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
  9. Frederick
    July 3, 2023

    We are all in agreement that electoral reform is necessary in Dominica; the voter registration system needs to be purged and modernized. Justice Andre raised some serious recommendations, but the one that only permits resident Dominicans to vote, infringes on the rights of overseas citizens, dual citizenship excluded. There are a lot of us who are Dominican, that cannot vote in the country where we currently reside, whether it be in “foreign” or regional, so what happens to us? Point to ponder.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 10
    • We the People
      July 4, 2023

      Good point – the countries where you all reside. Now if those countries do not allow you all to vote there, what can we do about that? That makes it ok for you all to vote here?

      When you vote here and go back to where you “reside” those of us here are left to deal with whatever policies, laws etc. that the government implements. Is this fair or even right?

      Sometimes I wonder how many of the people (not you personally) would really pay their on way to come and vote every election.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1
  10. We the People
    July 3, 2023

    Don’t beat up yourselves fellas …..This cabal does not want reform. Just listen to the Attorney General’s remarks at the “award ceremony” Reform .. modernization… if this clause (of the bills) survive .. if that one survives …

    The government is broke … now is the time to implement a tax on the voting diaspora….they come in droves to vote, now pay tax like the rest of us here

    ADMIN, for what it’s worth, please ask the Chairman of the Electoral Commission for comments on the recommendations of Andre and Byron. I thank you.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
    • Zara
      July 4, 2023

      “We the People” After you harass the diaspora to take you to the RUM shop when they come to visit now you still want to impose a TAX on them, how ungrateful you are. Soon you will ask them to leave their running shoes and the sweaty T-shirt for you after they finish jump up.(Most likely you are doing that already) your little UNGREATFUL.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9
      • We the People
        July 4, 2023

        Aye Zara, love your comment even though it’s based on wild assumptions. When the diaspora comes here, I don’t get their visits much less their rum :mrgreen:

        And as for their t-shirts and running shoes, that I would not ask for; I work hard to provide those for myself. :)

      • Man bite dogs
        July 6, 2023

        Hello Zara, I am so pleased that you mentioned those points and exposed these so-called useless UWP and their followers on this forum, from ugly Lenny, lawyers, preacherman and that stupid talking parrot 🦜 they called a judge in Canada, are all the same a bunch of far rights propagandist trying to create dissemination deliberately causing trouble to damage Dominica,as they did once before ha ha ha it will never happen again we don’t want blue monkeys in Dominica.

  11. July 3, 2023

    All dem jurists working hard for dem UWP monkeys. They want electoral reform to slant towards the UWP direction which would ensure a sure win at the next election for dem blue monkeys. They can’t have it any better than that. Let me inform dem jurists that Skerrit was given a mandate by the people of Dominica which he is committed to to carrying out. All dem Justin Trudeau jurists need to stay just where they belong and that is Ottawa, Canada.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 19
    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      July 4, 2023

      @ds, why do you suppose that reforms have to support one side or the other. You are pointing towards trying to justify corruption, as is going on here. Reforms are meant to do many things including getting rid of malfeasance. Skerritt himself proclaimed that electoral reform is necessary in Dominica, however you suggest that those reforms are to benefit one side or the other. Just shameful that folks like you have no shame proclaiming that the way things are done pertaining to elections are corrupt, even if you don’t openly say so. The vote must be free and fair not to benefit one side or the other. Let the people decide not let the ruling cabal decide by playing dirty games and spitting on the constitution.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
      • Man bite dogs
        July 6, 2023

        Jonathan, You guys bunch of far rights extremists always going on about corruption, corruption why is it Ugly Lenny, and his blue monkeys has not taken it to the highest court in the Caribbean, or is it a case of monkeys hear monkeys say without any given proof 🤔🤔🤔🙊🙊🙊

        • Jonathan Y St Jean
          July 7, 2023

          @Man bite dogs, I know that you have a short memory to no memory at all. Just a few months ago the supreme court of the Caribbean, the highest court in the jurisdiction, presented it’s ruling about elections in Dominica, in a case brought by Cara Shillingford. The court didn’t use the word corruption,but said that elections in the country must never be conducted again in the manner in which it was done in the past. Had the election process been fair then there wouldn’t have been a need for this summary. Go figure and by the way get some Prevagen, it will do your memory good.

    • Ibo France
      July 5, 2023

      Where did you get that double degree you often boast about? Can you name the bogus online university? The quality of your discourse leaves much to be desired. Is it the same university that gave Roosevelt his pseudo doctorate?

      There is no application of common sense when to talk or write. Your statements amount to unadulterated nonsense. You sound smart when you keep your mouth zipped.

  12. If we knew better
    July 3, 2023

    MY biggest issue is allowing those LIVING (not just coming to visit for 2 weeks to go back) outside of dominica to come here and vote when they know nothing about the daily hardships people face, all they seeing is the fete they come home for.

    My next issue is the auditing of these parties. I know the that in recent times a certain party has aligned itself with the top drug dealers from Bath Estate/Roseau, Grandbay, St. Joe, Portsmouth to name a few. So much that during elections time these drug dealers were the ones seen setting up for campaigns and handing out paraphernalia. Even after Maria they were the ones handing out rations. So i want to know if those same drug dealers are sponsoring elections campaigns. Especially when a campaign for a season goes in excess of 30 million dollars easily these days. where that money coming out. who giving it to all you and how they themselves getting it? i want to know.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5
  13. Ibo France
    July 3, 2023

    Take a long and careful look at Mr. Dennis Byron’s countenance. Do you believe a man with that facial expression or who is so facially challenged can save our democracy?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9
    • Ibo France
      July 3, 2023

      The above post is to bring a little measure of levity to the forum. Just a light moment.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7
    • Man bite dogs
      July 4, 2023

      Ibo, you are a nasty little dirty gutter controling dog talking about Sir Dennis Brown, in this way just because he didn’t bend the Electoral rules illegally for your so-called useless comedian party, you are also a nasty Dictator trying to tell DNO what they should or should not print- published,who the hell you think you are ……. b*****d.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14
      • MEME
        July 4, 2023

        @Man bite dogs
        A human being is not a dog. You are insultive and supremely senseless and …… You clearly can’t converse, hence your nastiness is showing in your disparaging and venemous rhetoric. May i prevail upon you to try to get an education wherever you are living. ..It will help you to keep your gutter and rumshop diatribe out of the discourse.
        Stop hurting yourself!!!

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
        • Man bite dogs
          July 4, 2023

          Meme, you and your stupid so-called useless workers incompetent vagabonds followers are in denial refusing to admit the truth or reality of something unpleasant, this afternoon I was listening to ugly Lenny, Q95 radio station program to be honest this guy is such crap and a lier, one thing I can’t understand why on earth does he and his scavengers keep talking about we the People, back to you Meme, The word Man bite dogs, Is referring to dogs like you lots that Edison, and Ugly Lenny, has created in my country Dominica.

        • Man bite dogs
          July 4, 2023

          Meme, If you calling your kettle head educated and following a bunch of trans and idiots woman you need help. I did not go to high school but I can truly say and proof it to any one my wife and I also our children has done well in our family business. That is more than most of you disgusting scallywags could ever dream of becoming some people in Dominica even think my wife is Dominican, she’s always part of the community and with our military services she knows how to organise, go to hell Meme, you Ibo, has nothing above us the UK has given us a good life and just by luck we took full advantage of it to be where we are today, we also please to have a brilliant Prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit, this man is a what I called a genius in my book he can walk on water at anytime he chooses to.

        • Jonathan Y St Jean
          July 4, 2023

          @MEME, I no longer comprehend the rules that DNO says it applies to posts for it to publish such diatribe and nonsensical stuff filled with personal attacks and filthy insults but no substance.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
      • Ibo France
        July 5, 2023

        Your utterance is exactly what I expect from a person whose only job in the British army was to clean the lavatories.

        • Man bite dogs
          July 5, 2023

          😂😂🤣🤣🤣Ibo, I always knew that you were an excellent comedian just like ugly Lenny, on
          Q95 radio station, l heard him today with another blue monkey talking about Electoral Reform Man I could not believe the crazy crap Lenny, and his blue boo boo was talking about you are sell by date Lenny, give it a rest.

    • Man bite dogs
      July 4, 2023

      I apologise it was meant to be Sir Dennis Byron,

    • Gary
      July 4, 2023

      Do you think attacking Dennis Byron is the issue, such behavior shows weakness and an emptiness on your part. The power at the helm of this issue lies with the electorate, it is they who elect a Government to work on their behalf, and it is the same Electorate that can remove the Government. The agenda you are part have tried to use the Electorate in this issue to no avail, have you not asked yourself why, do you want me to tell you. You can dominate
      this forum with your comments and opinions, you will achieve nothing nor bring about the change you want to see in Dominica, so long.

      • July 5, 2023

        Ibo France is an out and out a..hole. All that garbage he writes thinking that he can impress people and fool people is just a farce. The man writes shi. and spew shi. everyday. This the type of nomad, uneducated people we have spewing their garbage on DNO. The guy is disgruntled because nothing slants his boneless, blue monkeys party direction. All that shi. he writes on DNO only to see them explode and implode on Election Day. Nobody pays him any mind. One thing you cannot do Ibo France, is take away my college degrees from me and that is a fact. I am proud of my degrees that I worked hard for and, you cannot take them away. That’s a fact. How many do you have, jacka..?

  14. Zandoli
    July 3, 2023

    @ Irving Andre, although I completely support your recommendations, they will never be passed into law because it does not give a clear advantage to the incumbent administration. This is politics and the government is not going to yield an inch of its advantage to the opposition.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1
    • Ibo France
      July 4, 2023

      Doing the right thing should not be conceived as an advantage to the opposition. That’s a parochial view even if it is true about the corrupt incumbents. Implementing just electoral reform would benefit every single Dominican regardless of age.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
      • Zandoli
        July 5, 2023

        Politics is a zero sum game: your gain = my loss.
        Leveling the playing field which allows for fair election would give the opposition a better chance of winning. That is tantamount to giving away the incumbent’s advantage.
        But we both agree, that is never going to happen under Skerrit’s watch. He will tinker around the edged pretending to follow Byron’s recommendations, which we all agree have not gone nearly far enough.

      • Man bite dogs
        July 6, 2023

        What the hell you know what is the right thing Ibo, you guys only want things to be in your favour and nothing else matters, you all wanted Election reform take it or sleep by it, bunch of good for nothing vagabonds go walk the streets in Roseau, and beg for Rum.

  15. Ibo France
    July 3, 2023

    DNO your headline on this topic is exactly what I expected from a news site like yours. In times of great peril to a nation to feint neutrality.

    The darkest places in Hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.

    If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3
  16. Ibo France
    July 3, 2023

    DNO, I would like you to repost my first comments on Byron’s recruitment by Roosevelt for the job of electoral reform in Dominica. Byron gave Roosevelt precisely what I expected.

    I strongly recommend that the report be publicly burnt in a symbolic gesture to show the disdain most people think of it. To entertain any further discussion on this objectionable report would be a fool’s errand.

    Everybody has a price. The price for this partisan report was $750K and Byron’s soul.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
    • Man bite dogs
      July 6, 2023

      Ibo, You always crying 😭 big time mummy mummy like a baby girl ooor maybe you are who knows ??🌹😘

    • July 6, 2023

      Man, get out of here. Nobody cares about you. Nobody feeds into your sh… We all know that you are a blue monkey and a white honkey.

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