Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced plans to meet with Sir Dennis Byron today to hold further discussions on electoral modernization for Dominica.
He made the announcement while delivering remarks during the First Meeting of the First Session of the Eleventh Parliament today.
Byron was tasked by the Government of Dominica to be the sole commissioner to advance efforts towards electoral reform in Dominica.
“I want to say to the parliament Mr. Speaker, that since the engagement of Sir Dennis Byron and the submission of his first draft report which was submitted in December, I have met with Sir Dennis for this year on two occasions to discuss his recommendations in the draft report,” Skerrit indicated. “There would have been a third meeting yesterday at 3 PM with Sir Dennis Byron and Sir Dennis Byron requested a postponement of that meeting.”
He continued, “Because of the importance which myself and this government [play] on electoral reform I indicated to Sir Dennis Byron that I am prepared to meet with him today, February 7, at 1:30 PM…”
The prime minister added, “So I shall meet with Sir Dennis Byron today at 1:30 PM and my hope is that this will be the final meeting that we will have before he submits his final report.”
He also told parliament and the people of Dominica that in terms of references to the engagement of Sir Byron, the drafting of legislation was not part of it.
“At the request of Sir Dennis Byron and the Chairman of the Electoral Commission I authorized the engagement of a legal draft expert to draft all of the legislation to form part of the submission on electoral reform,” the prime minister revealed.
As minister of finance, the prime minister said he provided all of the resources to pay for the legal consultant to draft the legislation.
“I have said to Sir Dennis Byron and I will say to the parliament of Dominica and the people of Dominica that this matter is the matter that I wish to put to rest, once and for all in our country,” he remarked. “And I wish to come to the parliament to seek parliamentary approval of the new legislation by April of this year so that the process of implementation can begin immediately thereafter.”
Furthermore, Prime Minister Skerrit said he would like to see this process come to an end at the earliest time.
“And I am hoping that we can come to parliament just for one matter, we will convene parliament just for one matter Mr. Speaker and if that day can be a Saturday or Sunday then let it be, just to pass the legislation dealing with electoral reform,” he stated. “So I am saying to all those who are listening to me that if you are serious about electoral reform let it happen. But I will say this to those who do not want it to happen that you can jump high, jump low there will be electoral modernization in Dominica.”
Skerrit argued that there are some who say they want electoral modernization, “but do not want it.”
“Because they want to continue to give the international community the impression that this government doesn’t want electoral modernization or electoral reform in Dominica,” he remarked.
He added, “So I am saying to all that I want it and I want it now and we will put all of the resources to ensure that it happens in the likeness and image of the Dominican people.”
The house was suspended until 3:00 PM this afternoon.