The campaign to elect a chief to run the affairs of Dominica’s indigenous people is beginning to heat up.
On Tuesday four men were nominated to enter the race to be Kalinago Chief for the next five years.
They include: two former chiefs, Charles Williams and Irvince Auguiste, present chief Garnette Joseph and newcomer, Jumadine Frederick.
Dominica News Online will do a brief profile of each candidate in order to get an idea of what they have in store of the Kalinago people.
We begin with Irvince Auguiste and Jumadine Frederick. Charles Williams and Garnette Joseph will follow.
Irvince Auguiste served as a Kalinago Chief from 1984 to 1994 and has been a member of the Kalinago Council since 2004.
He is the coordinator and a founder of the Caribbean Association of Indigenous people and has served with the National Development Foundation of Dominica, Dominica Social and Investment Fund, among others.
Auguiste is also a founding member the Karifuna Cultural Group and at present is a tour operator.
He told DNO that he is vying for the position of Kalinago Chief again because he is not satisfied with the stewardship in the Territory.
“My interest for contesting the elections again is because I am not satisfied with the stewardship and I believe that a number of opportunities have come to the Kalinago nation that have not been properly utilized,” he said.
He noted that among his plans, if elected, is to restore a level of dignity to the office of Chief and council, making use of the recognition that the Kalinago people have attained over the years.
He is keen on harnessing fresh and educated Kalinago minds coming home from studies at institutions of higher learning.
“We need to be able to harness that and get them involved in the governance of the Territory,” he noted.
According to him these young educated Kalinagos must be given a chance to be involved in the development process of the Kalinago Territory.
“I believe that is absent,” he pointed out.
Other areas he intends to work on include networking globally with other indigenous people and learning from their successes and to better position the Kalinagos to improve their economy.
“I believe our economy can be improved,” he stated.
Auguiste suggested setting up micro development plans for agriculture and tourism since the Territory is already heavily into these, a workable system to access loans and a Kalinago diaspora network.
“We have a number of Kalinago people living in the diaspora and these people need to be connected in a way that they can make their own contributions from wherever they are,” he noted. “So this is my vision, this is what I would like to do.”
Jumadine Federick, 37, is a former Prison Officer in Antigua and Barbuda and now Tour Guide and Security Officer.
He describes himself as a youth enthusiast and sports lover who wants to set up a cricket academy for boys 13 and under in the Kalinago Territory.
He told DNO that he decided to contest the poll because he has a vision for his people.
“I have a vision for my people to develop them socially and mentally,” he said.
Frederick stated that the Kalinago people have been voting ‘experienced leaders’ for a very long time, yet there is little or no development in the Territory.
“Too long we have been voting the so-called experienced leaders and really and truly the question is begged, what is stopping our development?” he noted. “Is it that our leaders do not have vision? Or is it something in the government that is stopping our development? I intend to find out what is the roadblock to our development.”
He noted that there is a lack of accountability and transparency in the running of the affairs of the Kalinago people and there is a “lack of motivation to try new things.”
He said his campaign includes the old saying, “where there is no vision, the people perish.”
Frederick said he is the president the Labor Youth Organization in the Kalinago Territory and is a relative of former Carib Chief, Hillary Frederick, who introduced him to politics.
He said he is “quite confident” that he will top the polls and said he has been active on the campaign trail. As a matter fact when he spoke to DNO he was doing house to house visits and spreading his ideas among the electorate.
Polling date for a new chief is July 7, 2014.