Let’s debate the issues – Michael Astaphan

Michael Astaphan

Acting political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) Michael Astaphan has said that Dominica should take a page from the just concluded US presidential elections and tackle relevant issues in political debates.

He pointed to the US presidential debates where the main candidates went head to head on topics which were deemed relevant to the electorate.

According to Astaphan this is not the case in Dominica where politicians go on radio stations or political platforms “to spread rumors.”

He said local politicians should be able to face each other and the electorate to debate relevant issues.

“Our politicians must be able to openly discuss, debate and talk to each on issues,” he said. “People must be educated so they know who they are voting for and what they are voting for.”

He went on to say politicians should stop “lying to the people and be prepared to face opposing parties and show their competencies.”

The DFP acting political leader noted that it is common for those seeking office to to appear in the local media in one-sided discussions. “In the United States whenever issues are being discussed in the media, for example TV, there is always a Democrat and a Republican discussing both sides of the issue,” Astaphan said. “This is something the local media probably needs to look into.”

He fully endorses public debates saying they are good forms of “educating the electorate.”

It has become customary during US presidential elections for the main candidates to engage in a debate. It has been argued that these debates have great impact on the elections and have nearly decided the outcomes; the most famous being the one between between Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

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59 Comments

  1. yes
    November 9, 2012

    The house of Parliament is a debate arena that the Dominican populus hardly listens to. IF THEY want debate go to the house. Leave the campaigns for for elections. if there was a debate EDDO, RON, HECTOR AND PREVOST WOULD NOT SURVIVE. DLP WILL WASH OUT UWP.

    • T
      November 10, 2012

      You are simply one of Labour slaves who can’t understand anything other than to go to the Red Clinic.First of all the AM PM man has polluted all our institutions.People don’t listen to the House of Assembly Debates anymore. It is a forum where those lazy incompetent Reds use to curse insult and to spew venom. It’s not something that our children should listen to…
      The question for you though is why the AM PM man can only curse you all, but he lacks the balls to engage Michael, Eddoe, Pappy in a debate…Think of that please.

  2. hmmm
    November 9, 2012

    So many people against the debate. So how are independent people like myself supposed to get good information. Dominican politics as far as I am concerned is for the blind. Either you blue, red or green. Nothing else matters! And then when you listen to the different sides, its just maypwee they giving.

    As a free thinking individual it is so depressing to vote in a politically backward place like this.

  3. lucky
    November 9, 2012

    Now i see a man with common sense, and i bet d PM cant face d oposition to talk his crap…

    • Observer
      November 9, 2012

      Can the opposition face the PM head on when they talk their crap? Or are they prepaerd to hide behind the microphones.

      I agree somehow with Mr. Astaphans. But the million dollar question is. Are we matured enough in our political discuss to be able to agree to disagree with each other and still maintain our decency? Remenbr who wa the one who invented the “Mute Button” on radio when you do no agree with his line of agreement.

      I agree fro our leaders to debate, but we must first rise above our immaturity as a politically matured people.

      In the Us there is a Presidential bebate commission who organizes all the debates and ensures that the debaters are protected and allowed to sahre their views. let us try it anyway in Dominica and we will judge after.

      • ^
        November 9, 2012

        I no Astaphan and Eddo are mature enough, since i have not heard them curse the people.Don’t think AM PM is mature enough….

  4. mr mayo
    November 9, 2012

    I totally agree… it will educate the people and it will also show the motives of those debating. We will certainly be able to make a better decision in who we choose to represent and lead us as a Nation.

  5. justsaying
    November 9, 2012

    I totally agree with Mr. Astaphan. I would love to see the day when our political leaders engage in healthy/constructive debates, the day when a politician will stand on a platform and tell me what their plans are to push the country forward and not come on platform and tell me who has the biggest nose or the deepest dimples. I think that that is what is lacking in our local politics. Also we as the electorate need to demand more. We seem to thrive on the “maypwi” being hurled at the members of the party we do not support. At the end of the night we go home and we are not any better educated as to the politicians plans for the country as when we got to the political rally.

  6. Jayson
    November 9, 2012

    Agree 100%!!

    The people must be made aware of WHO and WHAT they are voting for.

    What may surface may be disturbing to say the least, when it is discovered that the only difference amongst them may very well just be the colours that they wear…

  7. Another UWP Clown
    November 9, 2012

    UWP supporters can’t handle the truth…they will resort to character assaination when you don’t support their point.

    This debate stuff will not work for us….we too loke what we see on TV…let’s do it our way.

    We campaign in the streets/park/Mero Beach house to house…they can’t do this in America.

    • Mr. Jedi
      November 9, 2012

      They do do that in America as well…

      How can you say lets do it our way? We’ve had less than 40 years to do it, i don’t think we really have a way as yet… we are basically just trying to make something work.

      So how can two or three individuals vying for the post of leader of a country think that a debate about key issues relating to the country they plan to run be a bad thing. If they are not capable of discussion, then frankly they are not capable to LEAD.

      Have a good day.

    • non
      November 9, 2012

      one word. SOTTTTTTTTTTT

  8. Gerald La Touche JP
    November 9, 2012

    A debate is a process whereby we speak and listen to each other to clarify and resolve the issues… sorry we do not do those things in Dominica – we insult, we curse, we humiliate, we embarrass and we disregard – now that is the Dominican way; more ‘maypwee’ please – we like it so! (Sacarsm)

    • Gary
      November 9, 2012

      The process you describe as to what a debate supposed to be, does not apply in a debate between Political leaders running for office, stop kidding yourself.Be honest, tell me if that is what you saw taking place during the US Presidential debate if you watched such debate. First off no issues are resolved at these debates, Politicians do not debate to resolve issues, how laughable is that.I will tell you, they debate to convince us which candidate is the best capable person of running our affairs. The people who they are trying to convince, the electorate never ask questions or challenge them during such debate, instead it is done through a person called a Moderator, what a scam. Let us not be confused about a debate held at a school setting with a topic, a debate between political leaders running for office is much more different, the stakes are different.

      • Gerald La Touche JP
        November 9, 2012

        Gary I agree with you about the farcical American debate – but we do not have to follow the American model – we can set our own criteria and use an appropriate debating method to reflect our Dominican circumstances. Also there is always the universally accepted Chatham House debate model. By the way notice my bracket above (sarcasm)!

      • Greg
        November 9, 2012

        DNO when are you going to start the dumbest comment fun game. I cyan wait to put a cross next to comments like Gary’s comment. Please pretty please bring on the dumb comment of the week contest.
        dNO you gave me a Hmmmm response. Does that mean that you are working on something.

        ADMIN: Thinking

      • ()
        November 9, 2012

        @ Gary Boss if you are a sycophant, go and grovel somewhere on your knees to your God the AM/PM man. When people are demanding legitimate questions of their leaders do not come as a lazy slave talking crap and trying to convince yourself that you are sensible. Dominicans should demand debates among the leaders who want to represent them. I agree 1000 000 000 000 000% with Astaphan. This is what is obtained in many democratic societies/countries. It’s only educated and lazy fools who do not want to work hard but would rather want to grovel like you,that will come up with the nonsensical ideas pretending to imply that debates do not cut it.

      • ()
        November 9, 2012

        Some of the insults: ‘Go to Hell” “Go to Hell” Go to Hell’ “It’s none of your dam business where Labour party get their money”, “Man to Man we will Marsh them up” Blasphemy: Who do you want Jesus or Barabas… Insult tell Linton go and hide himself in a toilet and……………,
        YES I AGREE WE LIKE IT SO,but in the meantime the country is plummeting nose first.

      • Gary
        November 11, 2012

        Reply to 0

        Your description of me being sycophant is not accurate at all. I’m not a servile self-seeker who attempts to win favor by flattering influential people.If this is your description of me you got after reading my comment it is very sad. How can i trust you to listen to a debate between two Politicians to make a very important decision to choose one of them to govern your affairs. I will also tell i do not grovel to any God on my knees with your nonsensical reference of AM/PM man.

        Why is it when someone makes a comment and it does not fit your mode of understanding you are fast to demonize the person and show you Political partisan making assumption that the person is a supporter of the PM and is not in alinement with the issues you clearly outlined.You sound like someone who is frustrated with the current Government and need an outlet to blow your steam, do not blow it on me. What you need to do is challenge the leadership of the Party you are so loyal to tell them how you fell about their leadership.The issues you talk about believing them to be legitimate, why don’t you ask your self questions.Who told you that such issues are legitimate and are they really legitimate issues rather than the leadership of your Party telling you what is legitimate and not you deciding that for your self following someone agenda.You should also look at the facts needed to establish something as legitimate and not someone just telling you so.

      • Gary
        November 11, 2012

        Reply To Greg

        It seems to me you love game shows.So you fell empowered by pressing a button telling someone they are dumb, what a way to empower your self.Why don’t you write something expressing your opinion as everyone does, i guess it is much easier to sit back and press the dummy button.

        To Admin. you have given us a forum to express our opinions keep up the good work This forum should not be turned into some game show with entertainment.

  9. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012

    Mr. Astaphan, the debates in the US this time around was totally hopeless…bobbing and weaving, flip flopping..saying I agree with my opponent so many times, no clear vision was identified. The US system of elections is a farce, this is not one man one vote, which we espouse and uphold in the Caribbean….and still I say one man one vote does not a democracy make. They spend 6 billion dollars on campaigning, unbelievable and the corruption is always there, people buying votes and influence..come on we need another model to emulate not the US system. The GOP are just like the UWP, obstructionist, opposing just for opposing sake. There main plan was to make Obama a one-term pres, just putting roadblocks everytime, evrywhere…like the UWP, they will never come bak in power if they do not change their strategy. The world is too liberal for conservative, constipated ideas. Canada’s electoral system is fairer and clearer.

    • Saysay
      November 9, 2012

      Listen that’s what oppossion is for, to make everything look worse than it is. Debates are a good thing. I remember growing up we had debates in school. I’m saying if school kids cane do it, why not the so called smart politicians?

  10. November 9, 2012

    Mr. Astaphan, debates do not determine who wins election. The debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney was not the deciding factor in the election. Although it is true that all parties involved should engage in debates to let the people know what they are about and how they plan to take the country to the next level, there is more than a debate or two to enable the citizens to make an informative decision. ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS. While we are encouraging the parties to take a page from American politics based on debate, I would encourage taking a second page, which is no Prime Minister should serve more than two terms, just like America. Another thought, debates should not be personal, bebates should be based on what the person wanting to be in CHARGE would do differently to improve the Island on every level. We need IMPROVEMENT, and the person who could bring about the that IMPROVEMENT at a faster pace, and not for their own PROFIT, in my opinion should get that chance to be in charge.

    • November 9, 2012

      Omit the word “the” in front of the word “that” from the line before the last line.

      • non
        November 9, 2012

        dno should OMIT that entire comment….

        how all afraid of a healthy debate like that nuh???

        it’s so easy A CAVEMAN CAN DO IT!

        god help us in DOminica

    • Saysay
      November 9, 2012

      You are contraditing your self right there deary,read the last part of you comment.

      • November 10, 2012

        Saysay, do you even know what the word contradicting means? How is the last part of my comment contradicting? Please advise. I knew enough to realize my error, but you did not yours. The correct spelling is “yourself” and NOT your self.

        non, DNO should OMIT your post because I did not say NO DEBATE, I said a debate is not the deciding factor. No one is hopefully afraid of a debate. I, personally, love debates; that is a forum to let out frustration. I am sure you can CAVEMAN, but would you WIN?

      • November 10, 2012

        Saysay, I realized your other error late, but I came back to bring it to your attention. CONTRADICTING is missing the “C” you should proofread before posting, or at least review after posting and make the necessary corrections.

    • >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      November 9, 2012

      Unfortunately you are telling Astaphan what he already knows… I AM TOTALLY IN FAVOUR OF THE DEBATE(S)…We the electorate should DEMAND IT!

  11. Gary
    November 9, 2012

    Why all this sudden talk about introducing a debate to the electorate in our Political process especially when it makes reference to the US Presidential debate.Why should we emulate something that is fraudulent, bogus,and staged. Why people like being lead by deception.The US Presidential debate is not what most of us think it is. These debates are controlled by both Parties in every aspect with agreements between the two Parties.These arrangements are secret and private and not mentioned to the public, this include the structure as to how the debate should operate, the moderators who are chosen and what kinds of questions will be asked. In other words,they assure that both Parties leave nothing to chance and guarantee that there are no surprise questions. This helps them to set the agenda and choose the issues they think what is important to the electorate rather than the electorate deciding the issues that are important to them. It should be also be reminded why is it there are only two candidates when there are other candidates running, why exclude them.

    Political debates are just another forum given to Politicians so they can tell the electorate what they want to hear. Political debates should not be trusted by the electorate as an evaluation to choose a candidate to Govern their affairs. Politicians running for office should not in any way decide the issues for the electorate they do not have the right to make such decisions since they are we merely elected to act on our behalf to carry out our affairs. Politicians should face off with us not with each other that is where the scam is.

    • Yam Babawoolais
      November 9, 2012

      Dude you are the most arrogant and ignorant blogger since the inception of DNO. In all of the garbage you choose not to make any suggestion on how to get rid of the corrupt electoral system.
      Whether or not the presidential debate is controlled at least there is an opportunity for the candidates to slug it out even if they both wearing head gear protection. At the end of it all people can make an assessment of the candidates.

      Have you ever seen any advertisement or campaign material from the Liberterian Party, the American Freedom Party, Tea Party presidential candidates? Do you really think that America or the world is interested in unknown candidates. Dude you are making such a foolish argument for what? To justify shielding SKERRIT from a intellectual debate with Edisson.

      You yard fowls forgot SKERRIT sent a challenge to Ron Green and didn’t have the guts to follow through. It is no secrete that in 2005 Labor Part campaign organizers decided that it would be a blood bath to allow SKERRIT to debate Edison. I was at that meeting when it was decided that SKERRIT must be shielded. Today is no different and that is why yard fowls making all kind of excuses.

      What is intriguing is the fact that every time those yard fowls come up with dumb excuses be it for corruption , inefficiency, passport , shady ambassadors , tax evasion, Villa ownership etc, the lies and excuses always blw up in their faces. I wonder why Donald peters did not discourage the debate on death penalty after his fellow yard fowls said that Dominicans are too backward for debates.
      Aren’t you yard fowls tired of grazing on gravel.

      • Gary
        November 11, 2012

        Your comment reveled a lot about your self regarding how much you understand the Political process and your general level of thinking.You said that my comment was garbage because I did not give any suggestions how to get rid of corrupt Governments.I will tell you this, before we can get rid of corrupt Governments we should start first by choosing the the proper people to handle our affairs.Do you know most corrupt Governments are elected with the support from the people.Have you not ask your self why this happens. We need to be astute about the people we elect and do not kid your self thinking that a debate between two political leaders slugging it out, (your own words) is going to help the electorate make a better decision. The two leaders should be slugging it out with the electorate not between self.It seems that we forget history and the words of Adolf Hitler quote “What good fortune for governments that the people do not think.”

        The question you posed to me asking quote “Have you ever seen any advertisement or campaign material from the Libertarian Party,The American Freedom Party, Tea Party presidential candidates” Well of course i did and there are hundreds of thousands of People even millions like me who did.When you mentioned the Tea Party in that category as not having campaign material and advertisements presented to the American electorate that just tells you are not informed, and shows your level of understanding, pity you, and you want to describe me as the on that is ignorant, wow. Give your self some home work find out who and is the Tea party, The Libertarian Party and the Freedom Party and,just to mention the Freedom Party is very well known in New York Politics. Your reference to an unknown candidate makes me laugh,wasn’t Obama an unknown candidate to the American Electorate before he was thrust into the limelight becoming a house hold name, ask your self how he got from the unknown to the limelight. The same can be said for Jimmy Carter when he became President.

        Why is it you are so fast to show you Political Partisan and defend it very arrogantly calling me a yard fowl.I’m a human being with a mind and I use it. I try to make sense of things.The opinions I express I do not except everyone to agree with me, it would be foolish for me to think other wise.Do you really think that if there was a debate between the PM and Ron Green or Edison the results of the last election would be different.You have a right to believe what you want and i respect that. It is time we see Politics and Governments for what it is with all the deception when we do this planet of ours would be a better place.

      • YAm Babawoolais
        November 11, 2012

        Gary read properly smarty pants. ” get rid of corrupt electoral system” Read Well yard fowl.

  12. Really n Turly
    November 8, 2012

    So what is preventing that?if it is needed and there is no Dominican to ineciate that,then some organisation in D A should appeal to the regional desk;like ccj or cbu or Mr Larocque and them should be able to convince them to have such forum.
    IF NOT,WE DIE THEN!!!!!

  13. anonymous2
    November 8, 2012

    This election as well as several before have all been frauds.

  14. ___________________
    November 8, 2012

    Good call Mr Astaphan, but trust me you won’t see AM or PM in that. The fear is not only of the questions that will be pumped into AM/PM, but also the possibility that AM /PM will appear stupid among intelligent people.

    • Blunt
      November 8, 2012

      Appear! give me a break be brave and say it like it is. Please do not qualify it in the future. It is what it is.Everyone knows that without qualificatin of the use of the word appear.
      This is whatwe call respe’ ement. If my creoles holds any water.
      The brother speaks niether English Creole nor french what deficiency in addition to the stattering no fault of his,the latter.
      He can be treated.

    • Uncommon Sense
      November 9, 2012

      Too true

    • Joe
      November 9, 2012

      Give us an example of a question that the AM or PM will be asked that he will fear.

      You see this is the problem, all you the opposition people will not debate on constructive issues such as, Foriegn Policies… in fact what are their foriegn policies anyway, at least the AM or PM always articulates his foriegn policy, i never, ever heard DFP or UWP articulate their policy.

      Maybe Micheal can start the ball rolling by discussing pertinent issues and not what Roosevelt Skerrit owns or doesn’t own, and condemn the personal attacks on all citizens that the uwp perceives to be supporters of the DLP.

      • Yam Babawoolais
        November 9, 2012

        Foreign policy? First question Mr SKERRIT . Why is the MOU such a secrete to the entire country and including members of you cabinet.
        Mr moderator- strike the last part of the question. The other members of the cabinet are clueless.
        Peeping Tom- mr prime Minister what explanation do you have for the disappearance of Corello?

        SKERRIT- none of your Darn business and ask Tony Astaphan

        Peeping Tom- what about king.

        SKERRIT: I need a life line . Can I call Hartley Henrey

        Moderator: next question from another member of the selected audience

        Liz4Jesus Mr SKERRIT can you give an account of your regular travel.

        SKERRIT – ask Mano Nathan . He traves with me too.

        Liz4 Jesus mr SKERRIT did you travel on your French passport to Las Vegas as the PM of Dominica to conduct business on behalf of Dominica.

        SKERRIT ask little Tony he said he is a mad liar

        1979: mr SKERRIT how any passports have we sold and exactly how many Diplomats o we have . Is it more than 10 , 20 or 30?

        SKERRIT : this country is too free this country is too free man. I know all of you and at the right time we will deal with you .

        : Mr SKERRIT you understand why we were against any debate.

        Party : yeh I said so too.

        Karbala: we riding this to the end

        SKERRIT : milk and cheese, butter and whip cream, fashion and blood puddin. No cow no cheese.

  15. lawyer
    November 8, 2012

    I think that this is a wonderful suggestion, it is ironic that some people would think that the Dominican populice is so out of touch, quite frankly it darn well rude and insulting to the Dominican people. Dominica has a well politically informed public, and yes, like everywere else in the world people have their preffrences. Having said that I must say I strongly agree that an open debate on issues of concern and the plan of action.That should be a matter of open debate for the general publice to listern, and make a choice on who would better handle matters that affect Dominica.

  16. Pleased
    November 8, 2012

    I agree 100%. It’s time that our political leaders be put to show their level of competency and debate on the major issues facing our nation, instead of bashing one another and making false accusations. It’s time that Dominicans know who they are voting for and what is truth and what is not. For all those of you who are against this or say that it will fall on deaths ear, GUESS WHAT, you are very ones allowing it to fall on deaths ear. You are one of the many who will not listen to it, and that is why our country will not prosper. What makes America different from Dominica. Nothing. We are blessed in our own way and we need to stop looking outside for excuses for what we will not be. We need to begin developing our own country by first changing our attitudes and begin APPRECIATING steps like what was explained in the article that will help educate our people and allow them to make rational decisions which will go a long way.

  17. November 8, 2012

    i thought that was the role of house of paliament

    • ?????????????
      November 8, 2012

      Yes you are stupid enough to have thought so. But politicians in the civilised world do engage in debates on important matters pertaining to their country. Only here it is absent.

  18. dom
    November 8, 2012

    The U.S Presidential debates are targeted to an audience who are able to appreciate the content. In dominica it would fall on deaf ears.

  19. En Ba La
    November 8, 2012

    They do not want people to become aware of anything – they feel comfortable and continue to thrive on the people’s ignorance. They know certain questions or issues will surface during these debates why subject themselves to telling the truth? It makes them feel better to have other people be labelled as LIARS.

    First of all these so called leaders that are running the country to the ground these days – they do not know the level of responsibility they have as leaders – they are a disgrace. Their language, the manner of speech, their conduct everything is questionable.

    So many things are being said NO ONE HAS EVER APOLOGIZED FOR ANYTHING or has taken responsibility or even distance themselves from any of the BORDAGE CHEMIN type of talk coming from the parliamentarians and ministers of government. What debate we are talking about?

    They all have PHDs and everyone else BARELY MADE IT TO GRADE THREE.

    • En Ba La
      November 8, 2012

      MAKE THE RULES AS WE GO ALONG.

    • ...............
      November 8, 2012

      Only in Dominica… He told the people go Hell, but he is actually leading the country there.

      • So it is
        November 8, 2012

        It is already there.Thats the next level guy!

      • Another UWP Clown
        November 9, 2012

        He told Lennox..not people

      • En Ba La
        November 9, 2012

        @another UWP clown I never knew Lennox was plural. Lennox is not the only one wanting answers. He and others who are watching are able to help us see the questionable things these questionable characters are doing.

        By the way see what you said this is what they want us to believe but some of us do not have PHDs but we can see through them too. Independent thinkers

  20. Peace
    November 8, 2012

    It really should be done it gives the population the chance to decide the truth just campaigning and call each other names is’nt enough

    • Gary
      November 9, 2012

      What a silly thing to believe that during a debate people are given the opportunity to hear the truth, a debate between Political leaders is not a forum where truth can be found.In political debates the audience throw away their common sense to the wind and are lead by emotion rather than reason.The Politician know that.This can be also compared to Religious leaders preaching from the pulpit using their emotion to sell the a message meanwhile the truth is buried.When are we going to wake up and see the scam of such things let us not be lead by emotion but reason.

      Let us not forget politics is a game, it has become more sophisticated than the the average man can conceive.We must remember it is not always the best candidate that wins but the one that can convince the electorate with spin, good finance and charisma that he is the best person to handle the people affairs.That thing called charisma can be a an asset to a Politician some have it naturally and some recognize it’s importance and work to develop it. Many elections have been worn by Politicians simply having charisma rather than a good plan as to how they are going to run the affairs of the people.

      Let us not rush to accept things on face valve as they are told to us by people. People telling us things may not necessarily be well informed. Having people elected to take care of our business is serious matter which most of us over look. When we look around the world and see the problems facing us it can be traced to the people we elect and trust to run our affairs that is why electing these people is a serious matter which most of us never realize. Let us stop kidding ourselves believing that a debate is something that is essential or a must thing needed to select someone to handle our affairs. Why are we so naive to believe such thing, what is so funny about this, is that such a belief is not only held by the layman,that is what makes it sad. What i will say is that people should use all their capacities available to them to validate their convictions when making a decision as to who will be the right person to be elected to manage their affairs.

      • Greg
        November 9, 2012

        Second dumbest comment of the week

  21. 1979
    November 8, 2012

    oh beautiful day, when the leaders of my country will participate in healthy debate, that would enrich my thought and nourish my esteem as an ordinary Dominican man..

  22. Agreed
    November 8, 2012

    Something I have been saying for some time now – the need for constructive debate among the party leaders. I would grab at the opportunity to moderate.Seriously.

  23. %
    November 8, 2012

    Pappy and Eddo will accept your challenge at any time, any place anywhere. The last one will tell you “GO to Hell”! “Go to Hell”! “Go to Hell”!

  24. >>>>>>>>>>>
    November 8, 2012

    Iknow of one such person you could be thinking of that cannot engage anyone in a debate? He can’t. If he attempts it there will be questions posed to him that will cause him to send people to hell. POOR MAN!

  25. ja
    November 8, 2012

    here here!
    the press must demand debates

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