DFP accuses Electoral Commission of “threatening to dismantle democracy”

Michael Astaphan is the leader of the DFP
Michael Astaphan is the leader of the DFP

The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) has written to the Electoral Office saying it is “gravely concerned” and “extremely troubled” by certain events in the run up to general election to take place on December 8.

“We want to go on record to officially state your office and quite frankly, the central role in which you are personally engaged, is threatening to dismantle democracy in Dominica,” leader of the DFP, Michael Astaphan said in a letter to the commission’s head, Gerald Burton.

He said the commission has failed in its duty “of ensuring that all the minimal particulars for a free and fair democratic election are in place.”

“As a result, we can say clearly at this stage that the December 8 2014 elections will not be free or fair,” he wrote.

Astaphan expressed concerns over the voters’ list about which he said the DFP has written on several occasions to the commission.

He said the commission has failed to clean up the list.

Read the full letter below.

Download (PDF, 1.26MB)

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51 Comments

  1. bigger
    December 7, 2014

    THE COMMISSION IS MADE up of UWPITES and Labourites and the uwp representatives find no problem with this so who are you to think otherwise

    • The Facts
      December 8, 2014

      He seems to be beating up himself for nothing.

  2. Analyzer
    December 6, 2014

    Mr Astaphans! It is very little after the Freedom Party help this Monster called the Labour Party to be in office. However its not too late. Thanks for having the courage to speak out

  3. Christmas Bells
    December 6, 2014

    It is the Season to be Merry.

    • The Facts
      December 8, 2014

      If you are a Catholic Christian, last Sunday began the Season of Advent.
      O Come All Ye Faithful is being played on the US Catholic Radio. What peace and serenity it gives.
      While on DNO tonight there was an hour of Christmas Carols/Hymns/Songs. Another is starting which is called “The Joy of Music.” The First hymn is “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
      Let the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ prevail in our hearts, minds, souls, homes, parliaments, business places and society.

  4. December 6, 2014

    what certain members of the electoral commission is doing is in the line of treason aided and abetted by some cat lawyers.

  5. Barb-Sepant
    December 6, 2014

    I thought it was election campaign time in Dominica and not halloween! Why are all these dead crawling from their crypt?

  6. Francisco Telemaque
    December 6, 2014

    Well Michael, instead of cleaning the list, by removing the names of dead people: i.e. my dead grandmother, born 1890, and died in 1993, at age 103 years old, today should would have been 124 years old; and bogus registration of foreigners, they added more than thirty-five thousand new register voters to the list. Hence, there are more people registered to vote in our country than the population of Dominican.

    I supposed they have registered even the unborn!; you know those whom have not yet lived!

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah!

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  7. Pedro
    December 6, 2014

    Whenever a Government impose itself on a people, the people always raise to take control of their destiny, and therefore it is really a disgrace to see a Electoral Commission disregard the electoral Laws of Dominica to try to keep a unpopular Government in office.

  8. Not free. Not Fair
    December 6, 2014

    The election of Dec. 8th 2014 will not be FREE and FAIR. What else do we, patriotic, peaceful, Law-abiding citizens, have to go through with such black people, willing to sacrifice whatever goodness is in them, even lose their credibility for ,Massa’s sake,, and sell their body and soul to evil?

    Who is this Gerald Burton, Chairman of the Electoral Commission? Is he the one who has enabled the Commission to be ridiculed by the same supremo he is facilitating in creating more and more avenues for irregularities in the election? That man was on GIS boasting about Muliti-Purpose ID Cards and how important those would be for elections, for ID, for doing other business, for voting, for Blah, Blah, Blah. Where are those ID cards, Burton? Where are the multi-purpose ID Cards Mr. Chief Elections Officer? So all you think all you FOOl us then?

    Did you ensure the Voters” List is cleaned, sanitized and not bloated? Don’t you know that is rife for FRAUD, Big Time? Of course you know. But guess what !!!! FREE and FAIR Elections is the last thing on your mind, because the supremo’s election winning legacy will be no more.

    Where are the Electoral Reforms, the Voter ID Cards and the Cleaning of the “dirty” Voters’ List? so what were you doing all those Years, receiving pay from the work. taxes of Dominicans, and tricking them into an election without reforms? Who are you fooling, Burton? Why were you not truthful to the people? You all tricked the people, making them think, you all were interested in reforming the electoral system to ensure FREE and FAIR Elections. Your actions or in-actions spoke louder.

    But Dominicans knew all along, that you would do everything in your power, as Chairman of the “Independent” Electoral Commission, to block reforms and cause heavy political influence to have their way, thereby ensuring the Commission lose its “Independence”, renege on its initial calls for reforms. and instead facilitate the cheating, stealing, rigging of the elections.

    How could the Voters’ List have more people on it than the population of the Island? The numbers just don’t add up. Madness is happening. The population is forced to go into yet another election, without the necessary changes to the process. How could that election be FREE and FAIR?

    What will the OAS and CARICOM report about the election, when their recommendations they put forward last election, 2009, re. producing Voter ID Cards and cleaning the bloated Voters’ list, have never been implemented? In fact, things are worse. Bribery of voters has increased. Deliberate stubbornness to block, stall reforms to ensure that the ruling Party wins. That’s all. Facilitating the very same things that the Electoral Commission is supposed to guard against, i.e. cheating, stealing, fraudulent elections.

    Our beautiful country, Dominica, is sliding into full dictatorship. Massa days. Its tentacles are spreading like wildfire. Subtle actions. Buying of all News media, print (Chronicle) and audio/video (Marpin), on top of GIS, DBS, KAIRI FM., preventing King Dice from singing his songs in a WCMF,, framing up of Linton re. leaking of Supremo info to the IPO, corruption to the T, fire-bombing, kick-backs, secret passport sales, just name the evil deeds that Dominica has been swamped with and drowning in.

    While all those things are happening, the majority of the people are becoming poorer and poorer, while a few are getting richer and richer. Madness is happening in my country. Mental Slavery is killing my people. The ILLUMINATI has illuminated sections of our nation so much, until some have been turned into Zombies.

  9. jucyfruit
    December 6, 2014

    skerrit good bye and your reign is over

  10. follower
    December 6, 2014

    This is not about freedom party right now. If you all are smart you should read between the lines and see who is in benefit of this letter as the freedom party is not taking part in this election. What I am seeing is Mr Astaphans pleading to we freedomites out there to rally behind the United Workers Party as this corrupted so called new Dominica Labour Party need to be buried alive come December 8th. Dominicans be smart follow the voice of a wise, honest Dominican leader and do the right thing by voting wisely. Mr Astaphans has been voicing his concerns for the past years if many of you were and are still listening to the programmes of the Dominica Freedom Party via radio (Q 95). Freedomites come out and vote them out.

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      Only fools, the senseless will pay heed to him and his evil propaganda, wrongfully accusing the Electoral Commission with what which is not their intention and far from their minds. It is not even on their minds.
      Michael is making his mind work overtime for nothing and placing fear in Dominicans. You read between the lines and know that he is up to no good.

  11. Desperate
    December 6, 2014

    My boy, creating innuendos and smoke screen is in no way helpful. to your party it always bounce back! We cannot be fooled. I have a little secret for you, don’t go measuring the curtains to the Presidential state house you will be embarrassed.

  12. Jaime Lewis
    December 6, 2014

    As a supporter of the Freedom Party, I am disappointed that the party has not been more vocal on this topic. Why wait till the eve of the election to take this action? This should have been part of your action plan for the past year. You should have been public about your requests to the Commission.

    Why is it the Freedom Party has not been able to contest the general elections in at least 3-5 constituencies? No matter who wins in 2014, the Freedom Party must begin its work to contest the next elections. We need more than 2 parties. We cannot rely on Pappy – he does not have stamina to join this political battle.

    • Views Expressed
      December 6, 2014

      Have yo attended meetings to find out. Who is te Freedom party yo are referring to…..? Where are you…..who makes the Freedom the.
      I applaud Michael and those who are demonstrating for good governance and by this the move to kick out Skerrit ad the DLP out of Government…they are corrupt………there is a wave of change and Freedomites and DLPites and standbyittes must vote UWP…TEAM DIMINICA

      CHANGE IS A MUST

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      He waited now because he has an agenda. Can you not see that?

    • lookeett
      December 7, 2014

      What u trying to say is pappy doesnot have the testicular fortitude and u so rite freedom should have contested the elections in dat way giving uwp a better fighting chance to win this critical election.

  13. Yuyu
    December 6, 2014

    Shut up Astaphans you all killed my party The Dominica Freedom Party . I am going to cast my vote to another Party with a heavy heart because I am a Freedomite to my backbone. Your duty as leader of the DFP was to build back a powerful party to win the 2014 general election and form the next Government. You should be a shame of yourself. You are not in the race shut up.

    • Views Expressed
      December 6, 2014

      who is the Freedom party…where have you be…? Where was this voice of yours…?

      To build a party a people was gather and talk in a room… not blame and absenting themselves and shouting from the tree

      go vote team Dominica…….

  14. AGAIN
    December 6, 2014

    Mr. Astaphan, why did you take so long to confront this issue. I am pleased that the DFP has finally broken their silence but you have not come out and openly endorse the UWP party, Team Dominica. The labor party has operatives all over bribing people to come to Dominica to vote; people who have not been to Dominica for years and are only there because they were given tickets. There is a reprobate in Virgin Islands, namely Paul Alexander who is on facebook boasting of all what he is doing for the labor party and challenging people to do something about it. This man, Lorraine Bannis and others have been giving people tickets to travel to and from Dominica for the elections and it is no secret. The call from the DFP and others to have the voters list cleansed should have come a long time ago but you all remained silent, so they have these people coming to Dominica to try to sway the elections.

    Dominicans know the people who have come down just to vote and they should not allow them to do sol they should make a citizens arrest because they are knowing violating the constitution of the island.

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      Can Michael and others as you prevent Dominicans, their right to vote in the upcoming election? Did you ever give this a thought, that they may be entitled to vote but do not have the financial means of traveling to do so? Why deny them their patriotic right? It is not bribing them.
      UWP has done that before and I am certain this time around they did the same. Why do you not question Linton about that? The very same plane he was contesting and planned a demonstration at the airport, some of his supporters may have been on it. In your eyes Linton can do nothing bad.

  15. kramez
    December 6, 2014

    Freedom party should be taking part in the election they are have let their supports down and now they want to make statement

  16. Joe
    December 6, 2014

    Micheal why didn’t you quote the section knowing well you intended to publicize the letter? Are trying to ‘Bend’ the mind of the few unsuspecting readers? for those who don’t know here’s what the section states, and you can find it on http://www.dominica.gov.dm/laws/chapters/chap2-03.pdf :

    A person registered pursuant to this part SHALL REMAIN REGISTERED unless and until his name is deleted from the list because:

    a) Has Died
    b) objection to his registration has been allowed
    c) HE HAS BEEN ABSENT FROM DOMINICA FOR A PERIOD EXCEEDING 5 YEARS or
    d) he has become disqualified under this Act…

    The key section is section C that you refered to, I want others to interpret it for themselves.

  17. Clement Rabess
    December 6, 2014

    Mr. Astaphan, your letter should have been copied ton the international observers who are on island to observe the elections.

    This is a very important issue, if our democracy is to survive.

    When members of the electoral commission are to be chosen by politicians, they will be beholding politicians. Clearly, our system of checks and balances can be surmounted by unscrupulous individuals.

    Officials must understand that they have an legal obligation to uphold and defend the letter and spirit of the constitution and not private agendas that undermine the constitution.

    The challenge for this young nation is to develop ways ensure that high officials are held accountable for dereliction of duty, duty as defined in their oath of office. In the pursuit of the challenge we must be mindful of the fact that our sociopolitical environment is much different from that in which our structure of governance was developed. We must consider and incorporate the peculiarities of our historical and cultural experience in national governance. As a small island nation and piddling population of limited diversity we cannot do things as we would in a metropolitan society with its well developed sociopolitical infrastructure and entrenched institutions. Because of the immaturity and fragility of our sociopolitical infrastructure and institutions we must have other direct ways to ensure good governance. This has to be a public discussion if there is truly to be a change and good governance is to become the norm. We cannot depend on the good nature and voiced intentions of our elected officials to ensure good governance. I am calling on us all, and particular the political parties and lawyers to foster this public conversation with the goal of reducing the occurrences of bad governance. We should bear in mind that some constitutional adjustments maybe in order and we should not be afraid of that. The Constitution must reflect our realities.

  18. Goodwill
    December 6, 2014

    DFP Rest In Peace. I heard Michael Astaphan say in the media he is only the caretaker for the DFP. He should have said he is the undertaker. He is now signing this letter as the leader of the DFP. Which is it Michael? FYI read the elections legislation and ask a lawyer to explain it to you.

  19. The Facts
    December 5, 2014

    “occasions” – who spelt it wrongly?

    Michael, only now you are coming up with this? You had the whole year or more to make a fuss over the voters’ list and have it rectified, if you thought a problem existed with it. Why now? You sound like a tormented person. Trying to create more trouble in Dominica? You are making a huge mountain out of a molehill.

    • fantastic4
      December 6, 2014

      The FACTS : well the Commission spoke long time in fact since after the 2009 election and and it is a FACT that they have not done anything to have their demands for electroral reform carried out between the time they spoke and now because nothing has changed. So the FACT is Micheal is just reminding them of their failure to act. But I guess you like the Commission is trying to put the responsibility on us ordinary citizen who do not have the authority the Commission has as a constitutional and independent body to act. So the mountain of failures, the mountain of ineffectiveness, the mountain of incompetence, the mountain of distrust and the mountain of accommodating yet another election where the ruling party will be able to manipulate the election process , people like you want to treat it as a mere mole. But trust me this huge mountain created by the Commissions failures and by people like you who seem to want to justify such blantant corruption will not go away just so. It will remain in history that an Electoral Commission with constitutional power and with independence was subdued by the wishes of a political party in government. This is a fact and will remain as a the legacy of this Commission – what a travesty to the people of Dominica.

    • La Terre
      December 6, 2014

      He said they have written to the electoral commission several times over the past NINE YEARS, so how can you ask “why now?” Did you not read and understand the letter?

      • The Facts
        December 6, 2014

        You did not comprehend what I stated and meant. I said why now? Why at this time when election is near and bringing it up then. It is as Dr. Benjamin and St. Hilaire. They wait at the last minute to broadcast their views. Why now? All of them have an ulterior motive. It is too bad some of you are not able to comprehend that and read between the lines of his reason – their reasons.

  20. Canadian Dominican
    December 5, 2014

    Mr Astaphan,
    What you need to do right now is to release your members, and allow or even tell them to join UWP in this election. That’s what was done to help Labour in 2000 by the now president of Dominica. Stop sugar coating things and act. We need Labor out before Dominica goes DICTATORwise. I am counting on you to help liberate my country. It is the Freedomites who put us in this in 2000. While I can’t fault you – you are the current President of this party.

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      Some of you are imagining what will occur to Dominica. You cannot make this rash judgment. For one, you are not God and you do not hold the future in your hands.
      I have confidence that no such thing will happen to Dominica. Dominica will continue to do better under the leadership of PM Skerrit.
      The other way around, many of you will be wailing, biting your fingers, shaking your heads in disbelief and saying, if only we knew.
      If there is any dictatorship, it will be under Linton if the majority of Dominicans are so foolish to vote for him and his Party. Note his words of threat. Do not trust that man.

  21. Citizen
    December 5, 2014

    Dominica Freedom Party :?: :mrgreen:

  22. DANZIGER
    December 5, 2014

    I rest my case good bye DFP.

  23. D-Dimed and Doomed
    December 5, 2014

    This is election is the worst of all. The extremely dirty PM and his cabal fail to listen to the cry of the nation. Why has the diab in skerrit infiltrated the commission head. It is very sickening that the ways things are running. Skerrit you will pay full force. The diab is deadly and it can end up where you least expect in full force. Rgen the ones who you think will be showing you sympathy, will be turning their backs saying with a big roar ‘ we ain’t know you no more.’

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      So you think. Are you not dirty yourself? :twisted: :mrgreen: You think your soul is clean? :twisted: :mrgreen:
      What goes around comes around, on you two-fold. Whatever you dish out to others, so shall your receive and two-fold. Therefore, be careful of stones that you throw.

  24. BLUNT
    December 5, 2014

    gobble de corruption and stay fat on it. i hope some of those electoral people choke on their corrruption.

  25. slavery again
    December 5, 2014

    Gerald Burton do you live on a separate planet are you untouchable? Do yo have family? are you the Devil it self?

  26. linux
    December 5, 2014

    i hope the oas mission is reading this. this labar corupted party needs to be discipline also what a UN amb. vince henderson campagning so hard when he knows he should not take part in that

    • Desperate
      December 6, 2014

      Stupess, his job is political, SO he has to sing so WHAT! My boy I like your style, it is a pity 90% of your followers are UWP and 50 out of the 90% are overseas readers. So we cannot be fooled by your desperation.

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      It will not sway them in the least. They would be stupid to believe what people as you state and take it to heart. They are aware that all countries experience such problems especially at election time and people have their opinion depending on which Party they support.
      This is why you have to cease your narrow-mindedness and negativity. Some of you act as if a disaster is coming on Dominica if the majority vote for the Labour Party.
      I am informing you, Dominicans will be better off with the ruling Labour Party. Open your heart and mind to this.
      What have you done for Dominica and nationals? You people excel in criticisms but do not lift a finger to help Dominica and other nationals. You have an obligation to fulfill to your country. Be a useful and fruitful one.
      You, as a national also have the right to offer suggestions (not demanding ones) to the government.

  27. Anonymous
    December 5, 2014

    Get Burton out, he is incompetent as the chairman of this commission as well as a lawyer.

  28. BEB
    December 5, 2014

    If u are saying that request was made by u in 2000 to sanitize the voters list, let me remind u that the UWP governed during 1995 and 2000 which means that the UWP caused the voters list to be bloated. Are u saying that any Electoral Officer has the right to delete from the list any body’s name who had been duly registered?I do’nt think so, there are rules to go by

    • fantastic4
      December 6, 2014

      WHAT IGNORANCE BUT THATS ALL YOU GUYS DO AFTER 14 YEARS JUST WANT TO BLAME EVEYTHING ON THE uwp- yOU ALL CAME INTO OFFICE WITH THE PREMISE THAT THINGS WOULD BE DONE DIFFERENTLY BUT WHAT HAS HAPPENED – YOU ALL DO THINGS AND WHEN CORNED YOUR JUSTIFICATION IS OH UWP DID IT IN THE PASS. SOUNDS SO IMMATURE AND CHILDISH.; SO GO AHEAD BLAME IT ON SOMETHING.

      • The Facts
        December 6, 2014

        DNO stated, “No Capitals.”
        Are you stating that nothing good and beneficial were done under the Labour government? How blind are you? This is the height of wickedness.

    • PROUD
      December 6, 2014

      Thanks Very Much

  29. badjoe
    December 5, 2014

    mister want notice man, why did he not run for some place in DA lol

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      He was asleep. He recently woke up and seems to be confused. :lol:

  30. AA
    December 5, 2014

    It is a fact that the commission have been eating the tax payers money and have not served the taxpayers. but this is not surprising as the labor party have been milking the cow. these people are disgusting and they should be made to account to the people of Dominica for their transgression.

  31. looking
    December 5, 2014

    People read this, learn it, recite it, share it with your family and friends before you cast your ballot.
    Mathew Chapter 6:1-4
    6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

    2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    • The Facts
      December 6, 2014

      Some of you use Holy Scripture out of context. It is time to cease doing so. This passage of Holy Scripture does not apply to governments and during election. Elected candidates who are campaigning for another election have the right to inform and remind constituents what they have done for them, for the country during their tenure. It is not bragging.

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