The vision of the United Workers Party will be brought to Dominicans in the diaspora from the 11th of January when members of the party begin their North American campaign trip.
Speaking to Dominica News Online on Monday, UWP candidate for The Roseau South constituency, Joshua Francis, explained that the main purpose of the trip is to bring the vision of the UWP to the Dominicans living in the diaspora.
“The purpose of this trip is to speak to our brothers and sisters in the diaspora mainly and specifically the United States of America. It is a six city tour which starts on the 11th of January. We will be in Washington DC, New Jersey, New York, followed by Atlanta, then Miami and finally Houston.”
Dominica News Online has since learnt that Canada is also on the schedule for the team’s visit.
Francis added that they will be meeting with Dominicans mainly to apprise them of the socioeconomic and political situation in the country.
“We will be sharing our vision, our goals and aspirations for a better and more advanced Dominica. We will also speak to them about the current situation as it relates to the incumbent party; the Dominica Labour Party led government intending to encourage Dominicans who are in the diaspora to come and vote under illegal circumstances.”
In recent times, allegations were raised by members of the opposition and other members of the public, accusing the Roosevelt Skerrit-led administration of purchasing tickets for Dominicans residing abroad and providing an amount of $500 per person to facilitate them coming to the island to vote during the 2009 elections. A trend, which Francis says, is happening all over again.
“Our party is not discouraging Dominicans to come and vote. We will be reminding Dominicans in the United States that based on the House of Assembly Act, any Dominican who would have stayed outside of Dominica at least five years and of course, more, without being in Dominica may be ineligible to vote and as such if that person wishes to vote in the next general election he or she ought o come here and follow the legal procedures.”
He noted that the issue of bribery will also be brought up.
“We are not going there to further illegality but to enlighten and discourage Dominicans who wish to partake in any illegal act as it relates to our general election, to have a change of mind and a change of heart but the most important objective is to connect Dominicans abroad to the realities in Dominica.”
According to him, a brain bank will also be facilitated consisting of trained Dominicans in the United States who are willing to contribute to the island’s development.
Meanwhile leader of the United Workers Party, Lennox Linton, said the reception to this idea has thus far, been “wonderful” and people have been calling to find out when the party is going to be in,or near, their area.
“We are going to six cities in North America where a number of our brothers and sisters reside. It is important because we have an ongoing relationship with our brothers and sisters in the diaspora and we think it necessary as a political party contesting the next general election to engage in a meaningful way with them so that they understand what our vision for the new better Dominica is.”
He also emphasized that voting in Dominica must coincide with the law.
“The rule of law is the constitution that sets up our voting privileges. The rule of law is also the House of Assembly Elections Act that determines how elections are conducted in Dominica and that Act has provisions against bribery, it has provisions against people who are Dominicans, registered but have been living overseas for more than five years to be barred from voting.’’
He maintained that the problem is not Dominicans coming home to vote but Dominicans coming home to vote illegally.
“We are not the ones who set the grounds for illegal voting. Those grounds were set up in the legislation in the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica which we all should live by,” Linton pointed out.
A three-man team comprising Linton, Francis and Dr. Thompson Fontaine, will represent the United Workers Party on the tour.
Organizers of the UWP campaign in North America, say that the tour will cover seven cities in the United States and Canada between the 11th and the 21st of January.