Thu | Feb 9, 2023

D-Day for Dominicans in boycotted election

Published:Tuesday | December 6, 2022 | 12:11 AM

ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC):

Dominicans vote for a new government on Tuesday in a snap general election called by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, two years ahead of the constitutional deadline and which is being boycotted by the main opposition political parties.

Skerrit, 50, who has been prime minister here since 2004, is among six Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidates assured of a seat in the 21-member parliament after they were nominated unopposed for the election that the opposition parties have described as a “sham”.

The Electoral Office said 45 candidates will contest the 15 remaining seats. The DLP will be represented in all seats and Team Unity Dominica in five. There are 10 independents.

Chief Electoral Officer Ian Michael Anthony on Monday reminded voters of the secrecy of the ballot, adding that the protection of that secrecy are of ultimate importance and guaranteed by law.

The police have already warned they will not tolerate any attempt by persons to block entry to polling stations on Tuesday.

Deputy Police Commissioner Lincoln Corbette said the law enforcement authorities have been put on alert for possible misconduct on the election day warning that persons arrested will face the full brunt of the law.

“It has come to the attention of the Dominica Police Force that members of the public will be engaging in criminal actions, namely, the blockage and/or obstruction of polling stations in Dominica on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, that is election day.

“For the benefit of the members of the public and caution those inciting unlawful action, this serves to inform that any blockage, obstruction or any other interference with the free passage and access to and from any polling station in Dominica constitutes an unlawful or interference with the constitutional and legal rights of the citizenry and it is a criminal offence.”

Corbette said on election day, apart from going to vote, there should be no assembling of people within 100 yards of a polling station and that on summary conviction anyone found guilty is liable to a fine of EC$400 and/or six months in jail.

The Electoral Office said 81,000 persons are registered to cast ballots in the 21 constituencies. But the opposition parties, namely the United Workers Party (UWP), which had three seats in the last parliament, and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), say the voters’ list is bloated.