Acting political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), Michael Astaphan, has said that in 2013 he will focus on rebuilding the party and educating Dominicans on what he described as “the mismanagement of Dominica.”
“My present mandate from the party is to rebuild while educating the people on the mismanagement of Dominica and how the DFP could manage it differently and better,” Astaphan told Dominica News Online.
In late October Astaphan took over the helms of the party after its then leader, Judith Pestaina, confirmed that she was stepping down for ‘personal reasons.’
Astaphan is acting as political leader of the party until a more permanent replacement is found.
He said his strategy is to “check the heartbeat of our people on the ground” while making decisions that are in the best interest of the country. “We are going on the ground, hear what our people are saying, what they want us to do, where to put our energy and how to focus on rebuilding the party,” he stated.
He is also going after mismanagement, which he said is evident in Dominica. “It is a fact that this administration put Dominicans last,” Astaphan said. “When you have projects, Chinese come first, then you have Cubans, then you have Venezuelans. Nobody is saying that you shouldn’t take these people but it should not be done to the detriment of your own people.”
Astaphan wants Dominicans to understand that a party that is interested in them always put Dominicans first. “We cannot be bringing people from overseas to push barrow and to mix cement and to measure drains,” he argued. “We have many competent people here in Dominica who can do that and who are willing to work.”
He said no one should support a party who put other nationalities before Dominicans. “China wouldn’t do, Venezuela wouldn’t do, Morrocco would do it. Why are we doing it? ” he asked.
Pressed as to whether the DFP would be forming alliances with the Dominica Labour Party or United Workers Party if the need arises, Astaphan said all options are on the table. “We are not closing our doors on anything. Dominica always comes first,” he said.