At least one government minister has responded to a challenge by the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) for public debates on matters of national importance.
Minister of public works, Rayburn Blackmoore, has brushed aside the challenge saying debates are going on all the time in Dominica and the Labour Party is winning.
“We have been debating all the time,” he told Kairi FM’s Heng Program. “We have been debating by doing the west coast road, we have been debating by building a modern state of the art state college, we have been debating by starting 66 appartments for persons who are in need, we have been debating by the housing revolution where a number of folks who otherwise would have difficulties in contracting loans to begin a home…. and through the efforts of this administation, through the AID Bank and housing loans, we have provided facilities with easy financing so people can build their homes so people can enjoy a part of Dominica.”
Recently leader of the UWP, Lennox Linton, challenged prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, to a series of debates to discuss economic matters, foreign policy, good governance and the rule of law.
“We are issuing the challenge,” the UWP leader stated. “It is necessary for us to debate. We cannot be the last country in the world where no debate takes place, no debates take place among politicians from either side of the parliament. It is totally disgraceful. It is unacceptable.”
But according to Blackmoore, a debate is impossible without both sides having a development plan for the country.
“We are confident that the debate has been going on,” he said. “The Labour Party has been able to win the debate everytime because we have a plan.”
He noted that a debate without a plan would reduce it to ‘cliches and platitudes.’
“Cliches and platitudes cannot solve out problems,” he remarked. “What can solve our problems is real action, practical plans … building of the state house, building of housing apartments, buildng of the new hospital and ensuring that our young people who want to go to school get the opportunity, ensuring that our young people that have been educated are employed…”