Saying that he is planning to fill a void in the political representation in Portsmouth, Cabral Douglas, has confirmed to Dominica News Online that he will be contesting the constituency as an independent candidate in the upcoming general election.
Douglas noted that the people in Portmouth have said they are not “entirely satisfied” with the representation they have received over the years from the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and are seeking alternatives.
“Most of those who are not supporters of Labour in Portsmouth are former Labourites, like myself,” he stated. “Even those who shifted from the Labour Party to the United Workers Party are former Labourites.”
Douglas is presenting himself as a ‘viable alternative’ seeking to fill in a void created by what he claims is the lack of representation by the DLP and the lack of presence by the UWP in Portsmouth.
“I see myself as an individual who has been working on the ground, who has been involved in the rehabilitation of the RBD Cinema, which is right in the center of Portsmouth,” he noted. “I have been involved with the youth in our town. I have been very visible, present and active in the community and I have expressed my view of the direction the community has to take in order to receive the level of representation and development the people of Portsmouth have been yearning for…”
Contesting Portsmouth might prove to be tricky since the DLP has dominated the constituency for the past fifty years.
Additionally Portsmouth is home to the Douglas’, to which Cabral belongs, one of Dominica’s long- serving political families.
When the election is called, Cabral Douglas will be going head to head with Ian Douglas, who is also the minister of legal affairs and tourism.
However, Douglas thinks that his chances of winning are good.
“I come from a political family who has been involved in my local community on a number of progressive levels and I have responded to a need from the community itself which is being able to have somebody to represent them and represent their aspiration as a people and community,” he noted.
Douglas also brushed off suggestions that contesting against a relative might have an impact on the family and the Portsmouth electorate on a whole.
“The Portsmouth constituency is not a family issue, it is a public issue,” he stated. “So just because Ian and I share the same blood, doesn’t necessarily mean we share the same vision for Portsmouth. We have to separate certain things. At the end of the day, I am a resident of Portsmouth like everybody else. The development of Portsmouth will benefit me personally as well as it will benefit the Portsmouth people.”
Additionally, he said the Douglas family has not always supported the same political party.
“When Rosie Douglas came back from Canada in 1976, his own father campaigned against him in the 1980 elections,” he noted. “We are independent thinkers in the family and we can agree to disagree and still sit down together on Sunday and have a barbecue together… I have nothing personal against my political adversaries.”
Douglas laments that there are no public conveniences in Portsmouth and described the road conditions in the town as “an embarrassment.”
“Our roads are in a deplorable condition,” he noted. “Tourists who come to Portsmouth are afraid to mash up their transports by driving around Portsmouth. That is how bad the road conditions are.”
He noted that the people of Glanvillia have been living on lands for fifty years without getting any certificates to show they actually own it and said there are no cruise ship stops in Portsmouth.
“We have a cruise ship berth in Portsmouth that was built by the Eugenia Charles government and for the last year that I have been in Portsmouth, I have not seen one cruise ship docked in that berth,” he remarked. “So the people of Portsmouth will have a hard time to survive in an environment where we are so dependent on tourism and we see no improvement in the tourism infrastructure.”
When contacted for a reaction, MP Ian Douglas only said, “I have no reaction to that.”
The announcement by Cabral Douglas signals a three-way race in the Portsmouth constituency come the next general election, with Jefferson James of the UWP being the third candidate.