“A cowardly and shameful act by a prime minister:” This is how Leon Chaku Symister describes the move by Head of Government Roosevelt Skerritt, who has called snap elections in Dominica on December 6.
The controversial decision was met with disbelief and disgust – not only in the Nature Isle, but among other Caribbean people who have said it was taken in bad faith.
Saying that it is “not shrewd politics, but shameful politics,” Symister points out that eminent jurist Sir Denis Byron was scheduled to submit to the Government of Dominica – this month – a report on the consultation and investigation he had undertaken into electoral reform.
Sir Denis’ report would have contained both draft legislation and recommendations for new policies to govern the conduct of elections in Dominica.
Symister notes that, for more than a decade, the United Workers Party (UWP) has been calling for a clean-up of the Voters List, leading to a re-registration of voters, as well as the introduction of ID cards.
This is on account of the fact that there were more names on the 2019 electoral list than there were people living in Dominica at the time.
Symister says what Skerritt fears is that electoral reform in his country would accomplish the type of change that it ushered in in Antigua and Barbuda in 2003-04.
Democracy-loving Caribbean people should therefore call out Skerritt and condemn his action, Symister says.
By circumventing changes that would enable free and fair elections to be held, Skerritt is setting a dangerous precedent for the OECS, Symister concludes.