As the community of Grand Bay prepares for the upcoming by-election which will be held tomorrow ,November 25, a few Grandbarians with the support of other citizens are letting it be known that if their demands for a review of the nominated candidates aren’t met, they will do “whatever it takes,” to stop the by-elections.
Yesterday, the protestors gathered outside of the electoral commission office, voicing their concerns over what they claim to be the ineligibility and illegality of Vince Henderson’s, candidacy.
Henderson who is the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate in the upcoming Grand Bay by-election is one of three candidates in the race vying to fill the vacant position following the passing of the former Parliamentary Representative for that constituency Edward Registe on September 1, 2021.
His candidacy came under question as he has been accused publicly by the leader of the UWP and several different sources of not tendering his resignation as the Ambassador of the Commonwealth of Dominica to the United States of America (USA) and the Organization of American States (OAS).
According to one of the protesters known in the community as Lion, “there will not be an election in Grand Bay, because we’re going to stand. Unless Vince can show us proof that he has resigned as an ambassador there will not be an election, because we are not going to take that easy.”
He and others encouraged other citizens to join together as he said they were going to “disrupt the election in Grand Bay on Thursday.”
A letter bearing the signature of Loftus Durand, Artherton Martin, Judith Pestina and Dr Irvin Pascal has also been sent to the Chairman of the electoral commission Duncan Stowe expressing concerns about the legality of the nomination process, leading up to the by-elections.
According to the protestors, they were assured that the commission would respond to their letter by midday. With no word from the commission, they moved their action into the city of Roseau outside the offices of electoral commissioners, attorney at law Alick Lawrence, Lennox Lawrence and then to ,chairman of the electoral commission, Duncan Stowe‘s office.
During the gathering, Martin revealed the concerns that were raised in that letter were supported by documentation from the OAS Secretariat in Washington, DC, which confirmed that Henderson had improperly stated the situation in the statutory declaration as part of the nominations process.
“It appears that the person we know as Ambassador Henderson is still Ambassador Henderson, still in the employ of the state of Dominica, and still in receipt of emoluments under that arrangement, under that contract with the state, and as a result of that cannot be an eligible candidate for election, whether it be local elections, national elections, or as in this case, a by-election,” he declared. “So, in fact, Henderson has told a lie, he has offered an untruth. The statement of his statutory declaration, part of his nomination process is improper, is untrue. And as a result, he needs to be removed from the list of candidates.”
Martin further added that they have taken the “very soft, a very gentle and kind approach,” by writing to the commission on November 22, 2021, but believes that time is running out and action can only now be taken by the people of Grand Bay.
“The people of Grand Bay know what they have to do and I can assure them, that people like myself, and the other signatories of that letter will be firmly along with them on the journey and the option that they decide to take whatever it is, as long as it is not an option that’s going to compromise your principles, your ethics, your heritage of the struggling people are the brave warrior people. As long as it is not something that will break down, you could be assured that you have our support,” he said.
Dominica News Online (DNO) has since learnt that the protesters intend on gathering in the community of Grand Bay this evening where their protest actions will continue.