Tue | Feb 27, 2024

PM urges Dominicans to vote despite opposition boycott

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2022 | 9:03 AM
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit - Contributed photo.

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is urging Dominicans to go out and cast their ballots in the December 6 general election even though the main opposition parties continue to encourage supporters to stay away.

Skerrit called the polls two years ahead of the constitutional deadline.

Speaking at a public meeting of his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP), Skerrit, 50, who has been prime minister here since 2004, said that “not voting cannot be a choice in this election.

“We want to ensure that we get a resounding victory on December 6. As I have said on many occasions, not voting cannot be an option in this election. Voting is a choice each of us must make, but we always have to make the right choice.

“We cannot sit back and say Labour has won and I am not voting. It is absolutely important that every vote is counted in this constituency and that the entire constituency says to Fenella Wenham you have our support,” Skerrit told the rally in Portsmouth on Monday night.

Skerrit, one of six DLP candidates who had been nominated uncontested for the December 6 poll, said it was therefore important for Dominicans to go out and vote and ensure the party's victory for control of the 21-seat Parliament. 

In the 2019 general election, the ruling DLP won 18 of the 21 seats in the Parliament with the remaining three going to the United Workers Party (UWP).

Last weekend, the main opposition UWP) elected economist Dr Thompson Fontaine as its new leader, vowing to continue the party's position on electoral reform through legal means including civil disobedience.

Thompson, who urged the membership to join hands with the new team to establish “a just and ethical system of governance in Dominica,” said in the coming days, the party will spread the message of unity throughout the island by “knocking on every door and going to every settlement to consult with the residents about the best course of action.

The UWP is boycotting the December 6 general election, insisting that electoral reform, including voter identification cards and a new voters list, must be dealt with prior to holding the polls.

The UWP, as well as the other major opposition party, the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) have been urging citizens to boycott the elections until Sir Dennis Byron, the former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), completes his assignment as the sole commissioner advancing the efforts towards electoral reform.

Sir Byron had proposed presenting the first phase of his report by the end of November with the Parliament tabling the Register of Electors legislation in December and the plan to enact it in January 2023.

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