Regional Pollster, Peter Wickham – the man who predicted that undecided voters would determine which party is victorious at the December 6 polls – has said that despite predicting a win for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP), he never expected a fifth term government to do as well as the party did, taking 18 of the 21 seats.
However, the regional pollster who is the managing director of the Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES), believes that the events of the last week leading up to election day were to the advantage of the Dominica Labour Party.
He said apart from the fact that the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) did not base their campaign on the pomp, flair and paraphernalia, the violence and protest did not work in their favour.
“The DLP campaign was better. But the UWP tried to demonize the prime minister and that didn’t work. The barricading of the roads, the violence which they blamed on the DLP refusing to implement electoral reform…the optic associated with that was horrible,” he said.
Wickham recalled that many people who came into Dominica who were not associated with the general elections were stuck at the airport.
“That was nonsense and Dominicans rejected that. The UWP wanted to bully Dominica into voting for them for the belief that if they didn’t there would be riot and chaos but clearly Dominicans were not sold on the idea,” he contended.
“The UWP did this to themselves”, he added.
Meantime, in response to vote-rigging claims, Wickham said there is no evidence that overseas voters are responsible for the results of the elections and used figures of 8000 suggested by UWP leader, Lennox Linton, compared to about 2,700 reported by DASPA CEO, Benoit Bardouille, to support his opinion.
He added that the absence of a voter ID does not alone demonstrate that the election was rigged.
“The UK doesn’t have one, the US does not have voter ID…You need to present evidence that people who were not properly identified or eligible to vote participated in the elections…I think the court would take it seriously but otherwise, it’s just talking…”, Wickham said. While it is true that in general the USA does not issue voter ID cards, ,the actual requirements vary from state to state, a form of ID is required to cast a vote.
All this comes as the Managing Director of the Caribbean Agency for Political Advancement (CAPA), Alex Bruno, has said that he will conduct a post-election poll to measure voter support for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) and the UWP in the absence of overseas voters.
The results of a poll which Bruno conducted shortly before the election showed the UWP leading in 11 of the 12 constituencies polled.
He insists that the overseas voters influenced the outcome of the election in favour of the DLP.
Leader of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), Loftus Durand was even more blunt in his assessment of the 2019 election outcome stating that it was beyond doubt “stolen” by the Dominica Labour Party.
Durand did not mince words when he spoke during an interview on Observer Radio last week.
“When a process can be rigged right before your very eyes then those of us who believe in democracy, we cannot just roll over and pretend everything is ok,” he said.
He said there were many discrepancies during the election that cannot and should not be ignored.
“There are instances where people who are dead, persons voted in their names. At the end of the day, the number of people who descended on Dominican soil is alarming,” he stated.
Durand said he saw people in Dominica on the day of elections that he had not seen for 10 to 15 years.
According to the laws of Dominica, once your name is on the electors list you are eligible to vote. However, there is a residency requirement which prohibits anyone living out of Dominica for more than five consecutive years from voting.
Durand insists that his organization is non-partisan. However, he said he is willing to provide evidence to anyone or any party challenging the election in court.
“If they want the evidence, we can give it to them so justice can prevail in the rigged process that we call a general election. We had people at various polling stations, we know who came in to vote…we have all the evidence,” he said.
The CCM leader says despite claims by the election observers that the elections expressed the will of the people, many people were imported, names were duplicated and several Dominicans were bribed.