ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Dominicans stuffed their support of the Roosevelt Skerrit administration into the ballot boxes on Friday and gave the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) a third consecutive victory, while at the same time condemning the once powerful Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) to the political graveyard on the island.
“We have come to the end of a necessary, but arduous process of electing a new administration, to manage the affairs of government for the next five years. I am grateful, but humbled, that you have once again reposed your confidence in the Dominica Labour Party,” a jubilant Prime Minister Skerrit said in a broadcast soon after the preliminary results were announced.
The DLP won 17 of the 21 seats that were at stake in the elections with the other four going to the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) that had ruled the island from 1995-2000.
For the second consecutive general election, the DFP, which once ruled this island from 1980-1995 under the leadership of the “Caribbean Iron Lady” the late Dame Eugenia Charles, failed to win any seat.
Its leader, Judith Pestaina, a former international public servant, was among the party’s 11 candidates that all lost their deposits having failed to make any meaningful impact on the election that had generally been seen as a two-horse race between the DLP and the UWP.
Preliminary figures showed that Prime Minister Skerrit, 37, whose close alliance with Venezuela had been among the campaign issues, comfortably won his Vieille Case seat, trouncing his challenger, former government minister Maynard Joseph of the UWP by a three to one margin.
“My commiserations are extended also to those who did not quite make it on this occasion. I hope they will be gracious in defeat and will accept the will and verdict of voters,” Skerrit said, telling supporters “there is no room for acrimony or gloating. We accept our victory, with humility”.
By contrast, Opposition Leader Ron Green, 69, was just able to prevent newcomer Petter (Correct) Saint –Jean from winning the La Plaine constituency that he had won by a majority of just under 200 votes in the 2005 poll.
Green received 727 votes, 12 more than Saint-Jean, while former prime minister and UWP president, Edison James comfortably won the Marigot constituency, brushing aside a challenge from the DLP’s Dayton Baptiste with a 833 to 226 margin.
Justina Charles, the wife of the late prime minister Pierre Charles, who died in office in 2004, continued the DLP’s dominance of the Grandbay constituency in the south of the island, by polling 1, 355 votes, with her closest challenger only mustering 122 votes.
Among the notable casualties of the election was Dr. William Para Riveiere, who resigned as an executive member of the DLP a few years ago to form his own party that also failed to have any impact on the outcome of the election.
A record number of 62 candidates representing five political parties and five independents faced the electorate of 67, 200 and electoral officials said they were pleased with the smooth running of the polls that were monitored by observers from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS).
In the 2005 general election, the DLP won 12 seats, the UWP eight and the other seat going to an independent candidate.
Skerrit said that he would be advising his party to suspend formal celebrations until a designated period in the New Year, “when I look forward to expressing our thanks and appreciation to the voters of Dominica, in grand and traditional style.
“It is my intention therefore, after consultation with the private sector, to declare a public holiday in the month of January, so that the country can truly celebrate and savor the achievement of our having conducted a peaceful and conclusive process of electing a new government,” he added.
Tags: Election 2009