After 19 years of Dominica Labour Party government the people of our beloved country Dominica are still struggling for a better quality of life including more and secure employment, secure and aesthetically pleasing housing, a thriving economy, more relevant education, better health care and above all, just, transparent and honest government. We are far from tapping into our true potential given that we have so much we can utilize to transform f Dominica into the country we know it can be. Not only are we not doing well economically, but there is too much social and moral decay in our land. When we speak to many of our young people, most of them do not see a future for themselves in the land of their birth. Common decency and courtesy seem to have disappeared from our society and it is a case of every man for himself instead of what we espouse in our national anthem “all for each and each for all”.It is therefore very clear that over the last 19 years our country has failed miserably to provide the economic, social, political and sustainable development which would have put us on par with our sister CARICOM countries. But what is responsible for this? The Dominica Freedom Party is of the view that this has been due to bad governance by the Dominica Labour Party. Our country seems to be heading down the wrong path and if we do not change course urgently, this country will become one where poverty and lawlessness thrive. We are already among the worst performers in the Caribbean in so many areas, but it will only get worse if we do not change direction.
It was because of this situation that over the last four years, the Dominica Freedom Party has been working tirelessly towards revitalizing the Party – a Party which has a reputation for integrity and good performance in government. This was why since 2017, under new leadership, we embarked on building a solid team to contest the 2019/20 general elections. We were doing so in the conviction that the country needed to be led by men and women of integrity as the foremost requirement especially as we were faced with an environment marked by blind political loyalty. In effect, our goal was to change the political culture in the country. But we were also seeking to build a team with the right balance of men and women who were creative, competent, experienced, and who put the love of country before self in keeping with our Motto “People before power, people before privilege and things”.
We are very pleased that our message has reached so many. We are happy that we have contributed to changing the political culture and we will continue to push for that. We have seen the awakening of the political consciousness of Freedomites, Labourites and UWPites. We have indicated that our country can do better and we have explained the challenges that have hindered the country and how a Freedom Party government would pursue development. We have communicated to you through our flagship radio programme – Freedom and You, which is aired every Wednesday at 8.00 pm on Q95 FM Radio Station; and over the past seven months, we have also communicated to you through the Freedom Speaks Column on the weekly Sun Newspaper. We have made many interventions on critical issues facing the nation on other radio programmes and in many other ways. We have also had a few block public meetings within the last four months. We have gladly received your feedback to our messages and so many Dominicans were glad to see the return of the Freedom Party. You have said to us that we are contributing much to educate our people on political and development matters. Many have said that we have awoken their hope and dreams for our country and that they long to see the Dominica Freedom Party back in office. And many of you were waiting patiently for us to publicly declare our candidates.
In that regard, we were able to identify potential candidates in several constituencies who were willing to contest the 2019 general election on a Freedom Party ticket. However, in light of the stark financial realities caused by a weak economy and political victimization which many actually experienced due to their association with the DFP, we have had significant setbacks in moving forward.
Notwithstanding the strong desire of many persons to see our country rescued from the Roosevelt Skerrit regime – a regime bent on cheating and stealing the elections, dividing our country, pursuing self-interest and that of their co-conspirators and enablers ahead of the national interest, and through all of that, a regime that is leading Dominica down a path of being a destitute and rogue country, many of our members, supporters, well-wishers have advised us that we should avoid splitting the votes in such a crucial general election. Many have further advised that the Party should focus on the next general elections (2024/25) so as to allow a straight contest between the United Workers Party and the Dominica Labour Party for the upcoming general elections on December 6th 2019.
Given the political mood in the country and listening to the advice of our supporters and well-wishers, we are of the view that the country’s interest should come first -well ahead of everything else. Hence, at a recent meeting of the DFP Executive Committee, the Party has taken the decision that the Dominica Freedom Party will not contest the upcoming general election.
But the Dominica Freedom Party will continue to work towards ending this reign of corruption which is hanging over our heads. This is important to stop our country from hitting rock bottom. We must embark on a journey of hope and dignity. Our farmers need to be independent again. Our people must be supported to be entrepreneurial. Our people must be able to earn so that they can live well and flourish rather than being dependent on politicians for hand-outs and favours. But that turn-around must begin with a change of government. Many stakeholders in our land are letting their voices be heard with respect to the need to right many wrongs including that related to the fairness of elections, the need to account fully for CBI moneys, the need to place the interest of Dominicans above interest of foreigners with respect to contracts for public works, the sale of passports, the use of CBI funds, and the corrupt use of public resources, to name a few. Since the United Worker Party is in a position of readiness to contest the upcoming general elections, we feel they are best placed to help our country take that first step. The Dominica Freedom Party will, therefore, use its platform to continue to independently call for that first step. Through our radio programmes, our weekly column in The Sun newspaper, and through other means, we will continue to educate and encourage all Dominicans to make informed decisions to ensure the change that is so vital at this stage of our development.
Furthermore, we will bring into greater focus the task of redeveloping the Party not just as a traditional political party, but one with a difference which will engage persons on development issues for bringing real change to our country. Even though we are not in government our work will continue with Dominicans at home and abroad.
Furthermore, as a political force, during the new political cycle, we will hit the ground running and work with the many persons who have shown great interest in continuing to spread the messages and ethos of the Party.
Finally, we want all Dominicans to note that we will not relent on our call for electoral reform. We expect that a new government will progress swiftly towards the cleansing of the voters list, the issuance of voter ID cards and ultimately to pursue other reforms such as fixed dates for general elections and term limits.
We wish to thank the members of the DFP Executive Committee, our supporters, the general membership, and well-wishers and not least our sponsors for their dedication and commitment to the Dominica Freedom Party.
Let us stand together as we stand on the threshold of a new dawn to rebuild and restore Dominica, our beautiful and beloved country
God bless the Commonwealth of Dominica and all her citizens