EDITOR’S NOTE: Last Friday members of the two major political parties and representatives of the media met at the Bishop Arnold Boghart Center in Roseau to sign an Election Code of Conduct. The code is meant to provide moral and spiritual guidance to both parties for a free and fair election. The entire code is below.
Recognising that the People of Dominica, through the Constitution, have affirmed their belief in principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God and faith in fundamental rights and freedoms;
Acknowledging that men and institutions remain free only when freedom is found upon respect for moral and spiritual values and the rule of law;
and Desiring the continuance of a democratic society in which all persons may, to the extent of their capacity, play some part in the institutions of national life and thus
develop and maintain due respect for lawfully constituted authority;
WE AS POLITICAL PARTIES, POLITICIANS AND PARTY SUPPORTERS AGREE:
1. To address issues and to avoid character assassination and/or mud-slinging (“mepuis”) about our opponents;
2. To avoid half-truths and misrepresentations which confuse issues and mislead the electorate;
3. To avoid language or behaviour that is intolerant of others on account of their colour, sex or creed;
4. To uphold the laws of this country regulating the conduct of elections;
5. To vigorously resist the temptation to use bribery or the threat of victimization in any form or fashion in order to gain votes or to intimidate the electorate;
6. To avoid all forms of violence and to do everything possible to defuse anysituation which might lead to violence;
7. To discourage all persons from using walls and buildings for offensive inscriptions and graffiti; and
8. To remember that those elected to office as parliamentarians are called to be faithful stewards and that accountability in office should be their prime
WE AS CITIZENS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE AGREE:
1. To recognize that every adult citizen has the privilege to vote according to his orher conscience, and therefore the duty not to neglect to exercise this precious
2. To make an effort to know the parties, their aims, objectives and policies in order to make a reasonable choice;
3. To vote as free persons and not to debase ourselves by selling our votes for money or any personal favour;
4. To oppose and reject any candidates who use bribery, intimidation or threats of violence to win votes;
5. To reject any invitation to join in the harassment of those whose political views are different from ours;
6. To consider that integrity, impartiality, good character and sound judgment are qualities required of those to be chosen;
7. To remember that no political or economic system is perfect; and
8. To accept the verdict of the majority, even if this differs from how one has voted in accordance with one’s conscience.
WE AS PERSONNEL OF THE MEDIA AGREE:
1. To remember the tremendous influence we wield over the public;
2. To discharge our responsibility in reporting the news and views with bias toward none and in fairness to all;
3. To avoid the temptation of sensational reporting;
4. To be scrupulous in the search for what is true and honest; and
5. To remember that the freedom of the Press is one of the pillars to build up the community rather than to destroy it.
WE AS PASTORS AND PREACHERS AGREE:
1. To recognize that our basic obligation is to promote unity in our communities, and therefore to refrain from saying or doing anything likely to be interpreted
as partisan politics; and
2. To recognize our responsibility to give, at all times and especially during the period before and up to election time, moral and spiritual guidance to our flocks.