DLP, UWP differ on aspects of electoral reform

Although the two major political parties generally agree that there is a need for electoral reform in Dominica, they disagree on major points on how to implement such reforms.

Proposed amendments by the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) government, for confirmation or registration of Dominicans living overseas, in the Registration of Electors Act have become a sticking point

31.1 of the amendments of the Act reads, “In order to facilitate confirmation in accordance with this part of persons residing overseas, the office of any mission or embassy of the State or any other place approved by the Commission may be designated as a registration office and the registering, enrolment officer and assistant registering officer shall be appointed under the direction of the Chief Registering Officer for that purpose.”

The Opposition, United Workers Party (UWP), led by Lennox Linton, said it is “uncompromisingly opposed” to the proposed Amendments which will allow specially designated voter registration offices overseas.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the political leader of the DLP, has said he will not allow anyone to disenfranchise Dominicans, whether they are on the island or overseas, from voting.

At a press conference recently, Linton made the UWP’s position on that matter clear.

“The United Workers Party is uncompromisingly opposed to the proposed Amendments to the Registration of Elector’s Act seeking to authorize confirmation of persons on the list of eligible voters at specially designated registration offices overseas,” he said. “The explanation we have heard from a government that such action is necessary to protect the right to vote and thereby prevent this infringement of voters living overseas is seriously flawed and absolutely without merit.”

According to him, “this infringement cannot be prevented, nor can infringement be secured through a process that is inherently discriminatory and specially designed to confirm and further facilitate the Dominica Labour Party’s dishonest operating procedure of stealing elections with illegal overseas votes.”

According to Linton, the UWP will not retreat from its position on the matter, saying that citizens vote in Dominica for a government to run the affairs of Dominica for Dominicans living in Dominica.

“Under the existing laws citizens who are entitled to vote become qualified to vote by being resident in a particular polling district in Dominica for at least three months prior to registration,” Linton explained. “A violation of the residency requirement by being absent from Dominica for more than five years disqualifies that citizen of being on the list of eligible voters.”

He mentioned however, a disqualified voter does not lose the right or the entitlement to vote and can easily be qualified again through the re-registration process provided in our election laws.

“The only way to present fairness to all and to prevent the government from involvement in states sponsored actions that disenfranchise overseas voters is to conduct a confirmation process exclusively in Dominica,” Linton noted.

But Prime Minister Skerrit is also similarly uncompromising.

“I will say this,” he stated. “As long as I am Prime Minister of this country, I will not allow anybody to seek to disenfranchise Dominicans from voting, including Dominicans resident overseas. Dominicans resident overseas are Dominicans. They are Dominicans by birth, they have properties here, they have investments in Dominica and they visit Dominica more often than most people. They have a greater stake in Dominica than many of us who reside in this country.”

He stated that is is a retrogressive step when other countries are seeking to embrace the diaspora and their citizens living elsewhere that Dominica should seek to cut Dominicans off from their contribution to the island.

“There is no way that this government will allow this to happen, there is no way we will go to parliament to pass legislation that will seek to disenfranchise persons on the voters’ list,” he stated.

The Prime Minister remarked that in many countries people went through serious problems to gain the right to vote.

“So those who want us to go to Parliament to remove Dominicans who are on the voters’ list legitimately because they are residing overseas, that will not happen,” he said.

The government originally planned to take the amendments to parliament this week but has put this on hold for further dialogue with stakeholders.

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26 Comments

  1. Jonathan St Jean
    September 19, 2018

    Skerritt once again contradicts himself and for those who have intelligence they will see that his intentions are to try to buy or steal elections. Why should he want to spend scarce taxpayer dollars to go overseas to register people he claims who have interest in Dominica and come back to the country regularly? This makes no sense because these persons can take care of their registration. Instead he wants to register some dominicans who have lost their registration because they have lost legality by staying away for over 5 years, and so unless they return and spend 3 months in the constituency they intend to vote in their registration is illegal. This illegal act must never be tolerated

  2. donkey
    September 19, 2018

    Migrate to have a better future, you then become an outsider. You are not welcome to vote but you can send your barrels and money home smh. Anyone who would take their precious time to return to Dominica to vote whether Jesus or Allah pays his passage in my book is a damn patriot… e-voting and absenteeism voting are voodoo practices.. A commonwealth citizen can vote in Dominica if he/she resides in Dominica 12 month before an election but a Son or daughter born here registered here, his grandmother and father born here should not vote. Its a disgrace that you can’t be away for more than five years to be eligible vote. That’s evil. Linton do you know you received six time more of the new vote in 2014.Do you have to win for the election to be deemed free & fair by you and your minions. You doubled your seat in 2014 for Jah sake..Labour has FIVE sure seats foolish man the rest are tossups.You had your widest margin of loss in Mahaut. Reform your head Linton its clearly clouded…

  3. Laplaine Observer
    September 19, 2018

    Why should Skerritt amend this legislation that is unfavorable to him? That’s how he gets his bread and butter. This form of complacency where the Government is facilitating the process of illegal voting by manipulating overseas voters with cash and airplane tickets, MUST stop.

  4. Jonathan Y St Jean
    September 18, 2018

    Since the latest polls by both parties and also by independent study shows that Skerritt will likely lose the next election he is determined to stay out of jail in Dominica or the US by trying to find ways to remain in office. Why isn’t he focused on cleaning the voters list? and issuing voter ID cards? Instead he wants to selectively go to a few cities in developed countries to register persons who have disregistered themselves by exceeding the 5 year limit and who must return and spend 3 months in the constituency where they intend to be re-registered. This will open the flood gates to eventually lead to fraud and corruption, for example the underhaded registration of none qualified persons who don’t meet the requirements. Based on the track record of corrupt practices by this regime, nothing is off limits, so this piece of proposed legislation must be stopped by all means necessary. Failure to do so now will lead to a river of red blood later. Better now than later.

  5. Local Investor
    September 18, 2018

    ” “I will say this,” he stated. “As long as I am Prime Minister of this country, I will not allow anybody to seek to disenfranchise Dominicans from voting, including Dominicans resident overseas. Dominicans resident overseas are Dominicans. They are Dominicans by birth, they have properties here, they have investments in Dominica and they visit Dominica more often than most people. They have a greater stake in Dominica than many of us who reside in this country.” ”

    So Mr. Hon Prime Minister’s argument is that there are more people abroad who have higher stakes in Dominica than those who reside here…therefore they have the right to determine who governs? So the persons who do live here and do business here and work here and invest here….while LIVING here, under circumstances the Government so fashions…what are we to do? Apparently he only cares about the people with “greater stakes” who choose not to live where they are so HEAVILY invested coming to do his bidding…

  6. KID ON THE BLOCK
    September 18, 2018

    You,%, You are sick and need immediate medical mental assistance. Wonder what nwill be your condition be like after this coming elections after the DLP wins and Skerrit RULES again.
    Yes Skerrit must go on to keep you vagabons out of office. Viva SKERRO!

    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      September 19, 2018

      @ Kid On The Block, you know a vagabond by the company he/ she keeps. How about Monfared, N G Lapsing, Madweke, Coralo, Maduro, and the list goes on.

  7. Paul Rossnof
    September 18, 2018

    Skerrit, once again just nonsense you are talking and trying to fool Dominicans. You are in no way on the side of Dominicans but more to the point on the side of DLP voters. So be clear and call the child by its name. You are the most dishonest and sly human being I’ve ever come across.

  8. Think for YOURSELF
    September 18, 2018

    I am certain that part of the Voting Act speaks to prejudice against voters; thus enforcing the point that ALL should be given the opportunity to vote. In this regard, if registration is been carried out overseas, this should mean every single Dominican reside aboard should have the EQUAL chance to register.
    With this being said, how does the oversea registering process allow for the EQUAL chance to vote? Does this me that persons who live in Australia will be facilitated? Considering these countries are huge, does that me registration areas/rooms will be set up in every district?
    Take for example, a registration room is set up in NY because there are 100 Dominicans living there… will a registration room be provided in San Francisco for 2 Dominicans living there? How does this work and how will prejudice be eradicated from this process?

  9. Not A Herd Follower
    September 18, 2018

    So, it very clear that Skerrit does not want the bloated voters’ list to be cleaned. He wants overseas Dominicans who have not been to Dominica in the last five years to come to Dominica just to vote and get out the following day, which is contrary to the law of Dominica. Skerrit’ s position is not surprising, given his avowed statement that no law, no Constitution can stop him. I tis not up to the people of Dominica to decide if they will allow Skerrit to ride roughshod over them once again.

    • Paul Rossnof
      September 19, 2018

      As per usual he is prepared to support electoral reform but only if it works in favour of the DLP. The real issue of cleansing the outdated voters register, he is not even prepared to talk about. But establishing registration offices for voters overseas he is happy to do because it would favour his party in upcoming elections. In my opinion this proposal should be vehemently opposed by the opposition because it would be a very costly exercise and in essence would only work in Skerrits favour.

  10. MTP
    September 18, 2018

    Is the people in the prison of DOMINICA eligible to vote? Aren’t they Dominican living in DOMINICA using it’s resources? And yet they don’t have that right. I’m a DOMINICAN and will always be. I Don’t live in DOMINICA but comes to visit once or twice a year.i make weekly contribution to the local economy. I DON’T think it’s right for someone not living in DOMINICA to decide the government for the people who are on island. NO NO NO PM. 100% in favour with the LEADER of the OPPOSITION.

  11. Red Ants Bite
    September 18, 2018

    I am now calling on all Dominicans whether they are supporters of the DLP, UWP, DFP, Pappy or the new online party; I am calling on all Catholics, Seventh Day Adventist, Pentecostals, Baptists, CUM, JW’s, Yaweh, Gospel Mission, Rastafarians all religions, to stand in the defense of our country, from the evil hand of Roosevelt Skerrit. Right now this man is on a mission to destroy our country, just to stay in power so he could hide. I am a laborite and voted the DLP since 1980 up to 2009. I along with others gave Skerrit a fair chance to help build our country. But instead, he used the opportunity to develop himself while Dominica is slipping deeper and deeper into the pit every single year. Skerrit destroyed everything we had whether it was our Banana industry, Ross University, our community spirit, sports you name it. Right now the man cannot do anything to help us as his only interests in politics is to hide. We need to rise up on every street, village and town in defense of DA.

    • Ibo France
      September 19, 2018

      Red Ants, you are absolutely correct. Your comments should be considered truth to power. I have repeated this numerous times. Skerrit and his sycophants sole motivation is to hang on to power, nothing else. This man and his enablers are a destructive force. They have destroyed or downgraded everything good in Dominica. They have left nothing untouched. Let’s mention just a few very major things: the economy is in a deep coma, national security in its present state should be dubbed national insecurity, the condition of the health services alarmingly deplorable, many roads and bridges are a present danger to everyday commuters, agriculture severely stunted and sports and sporting facilities a national disgrace. Why does anyone expect a Skerrit and his submissive disciples to rectify the country’s ills when they are responsible for the dilapidated condition of the country.

  12. Fake News
    September 18, 2018

    I must admit that this is a very poor piece of journalism on the side of DNO. I mean this article is empty to say the lease. They told us about 31.1 of the amendments of the Act reads, and jumped right into what Skerrit and the DLP think verses what Lennox and the UWP think. But what about us the people? What about the existing requirements for Dominicans residing abroad? Do we not have a law in place for Dominicans residing abroad that wish to come down to vote? I think to help readers understand what’s really going on DNO should also put out the portion in our Election Act that says what Dominicans residing abroad need to do in order to be eligible to vote. I have not seen it myself but I heard the existing law states that Dominican residing abroad simply have to reside in Da three months prior to an election. If that is so, then is Skerrit aka the cheater, going to do away with this requirement and replace it with his confirmation of voters residing abroad? It’s time for change!

    • Jaimous Thomas
      September 18, 2018

      sir, as long as your name is on the voters list NO ONE can Stop you from voting. The critical thing is if you are residing out of Dominica and is already on the voters list, to remain on that list you MUST have visited Dominica within the last five years.

      Don’t make them fool you.

      misleaders

  13. LifeandDeath
    September 18, 2018

    There has to be something more behind the whole curtain of “such a caring PM”, that Skerrit would go to all lengths to try to make a case for this level of absurdity only to NOT, disenfranchise Dominicans living overseas. When any simple logistic will indicate that it is by far easier for 20,000 Dominicans overseas to find Dominica, than for Dominica to set up overseas offices in a few cities around the world with the hopes of giving EVERY Dominican an EQUAL chance to re-register. By this very act he would be setting an unequal platform to deliberately disenfranchise more Dominicans as opposed to simple implore visiting Dominicans to Re-register when they visit. Dominicans leave by their own free will, and they should come back to vote by their own free will. Skerrit stop this nonsense and spend time and money where there is real need in Dominica. Kingdoms rise and Fall but none last forever!! Your day of Reckoning soon come. What more garbage Dominicans can tolerate my ppl!!…

  14. %
    September 18, 2018

    Skerrit I will always refer to you as a dunce or dullard.You and your corrupted DLP is the one disenfranchising Dominicans.Will you be going to every corner of the world where there are Dominicans???The answer is NO!!! You will only be going where Labourites have been recruiting people to vote for DLP illegally.
    This confirmation thing abroad,should never see light of day.Why should DLP start the process at an advantage? Take you pending defeat ..Your lazy MISLEADER.
    Who can trust a process abroad conducted by a Skerrit led DLP?Has DLP done anything above board?The answer is No …Our 2005,2009,2014 elections have all been stolen. Ask the Commonwealth
    Election Observers.
    We need campaign Finance reform and ID cards…You don’t seem to be interested in those.Your fascination is only to get illegal votes.
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    Lazy Skerrit Must Go Now

  15. Franky
    September 18, 2018

    Boss why are these people living overseas??? If Dominica so nice why they not loving here?? Garbagel u talking … let them come here and register .. why they can’t spend there money to come here and register or for confirmation… why does the government has to open offices to get them to register overseas .. let them come isn’t it good for the economy when they spend money to come here???? Skerite lookng for all ways to voleh a election .. my brother comout there my brother… u doe see u need to cget out of there man.. ur damn qwaypeh!

  16. Wrong is Wrong
    September 18, 2018

    Another move by Skerrit to stay in power at all cost. Are not all Dominicans on the list eligible to vote, as long as they resided in Dominica 3 months prior to an election? What confirmation Skerrit talking about to even want to send people abroad for confirmation? In confirmation is necessary Dominicans residing abroad should just come to Dominica to confirm thei participation in an election. In all of my years voting in Dominica I was only registered once and NEVER had to go back to confirm that I am still a Dominican. Skerrit cannot look for ways to cheat and making cheating legal. It is not fair to have people living abroad all of their lives and come and give us a government of their choice. My brother has been residing in Guadeloupe for 45 years along with his Dominican wife. They and their children are French and they have no interest in Dominica, except that they are laborite. In the last 30 yrs they have NEVER spend 5 days a year here. Why should they come and vote and go?

  17. weh
    September 18, 2018

    As the PM once said no law or constitution can stop him

  18. Patty
    September 18, 2018

    You see it’s this kind of arrogant attitude by the PM I cannot take in!

    What does he mean by “they have a greater stake than many of us who reside in this country”??

    So what are you implying Mr. Prime Minister, that the job that I hold and file taxes for over 20 years; the house that I built and the car that I drive, buy gas for are not stakes that I have in this country?

    Why should I be happy about overseas voters coming in to muddy the electoral process when they don’t have to stay back and suffer the fall-out from your hare-brained ideas and empty promises?

    My son lives overseas, he is a registered voter but he has absolutely no interest in coming to vote EVEN IF he were to get a free ticket. As far as he’s concerned “Mom, let the people who live and work here decide who they want as their government, I am not interested.”

    So, Mr. PM, we the native voters are just as important as your importees, ok?? Bon!!

  19. Goat
    September 18, 2018

    Not about the topic OK.
    Dno but today marks one year since maria and you guys haven’t said a thing. We have to give Gid thanks for his mercies. And I sympathize with those who lost their loved ones. Let’s continue to trust Gid throughout the season

  20. %
    September 18, 2018

    The DLP should NEVER be allowed to go abroad to register or reconfirm voters. This is because this party is not TRUST WORTHY..DLP with their own supporters and zealots in embassies and consulates abroad will use the opportunity to ensure that their people are carefully selected to vote in constituencies where they are weak …
    Presently they do not have the numbers on the ground to guarantee them a victory,so those dedperates are desperate.!!!.
    I don’t TRUST this move,and we should stop those LOSERS…Let Skerrit see what it means to be out of office Is he wanted abroad??
    Skerrit Must Go
    Skerrit Must Go
    Lazy Skerrit Must Go Now

  21. duck1951
    September 18, 2018

    The way I see ; if they visit regularly then they should be able to register to vote within a certain periodwhen they go home . If someone is Dominican by birth and is a citizen of another country and never visit why should they be entitled to vote ? Keeping registration local will eliminate fraud .

  22. Iamanidiot
    September 18, 2018

    Serious question, say you are living, working, residing in Russia, why exactly do you need to come to vote?
    Anything that happens here, be it good or bad doesnt effect you. So why do people feel they need to come back to Dominica, elect a government, spend three days, and go back.
    If you live here, you will only know what you know from news or here say, or what your mother’s opinion is you wont see things for yourself.
    So again, what’s the point, id like to be enlightened on this.

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