Saturday 4 April, 2020

Skerrit promises electoral reform as DLP wins 18 out of 21 seats

As his party basks in a landslide victory in Dominica's General Election, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said electoral reform is at the top of the agenda for the new administration of the Dominica Labour Party.

During his victory speech on Friday night, Skerrit announced plans to initiate electoral reform proceedings, soon after being sworn in.

He said: “For some time now, and certainly during this campaign, the issue of electoral reform has been a vexed one. Although they have called for it, the UWP blocked the legislation and process for reform by protest action and an injunction in the High Court.”

Skerrit said it is time to move past the controversy and finally bring closure to the issue, in a manner that satisfies the national interest.

He announced plans to appoint a National Commission, whose primary responsibility will be to inform the shape of Dominica’s electoral reform.

Citizens will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion, as public hearings will be held throughout the island.

Skerrit said the DLPs legacy is one of development and it’s because of his party’s efforts, that the country is now poised to become one of the leaders in the region.

He said the electoral process was bruising, and the government must now address the social rifts, economic damage and reputational concerns as a matter of urgency.

He said it’s time to put Dominica first.

“The elections are over. The UWP failed to delay or stop elections through legal means. They failed to provoke our security services. They failed in getting the country to take up their call for widespread violence and unrest. And they have failed in the ballot box.  It is not for me to advise them, but perhaps, they may wish to consider that a campaign of lies and acts of national harm are not the way to woo the electorate and win an election” he said.

He said the people of Dominica have spoken, and it’s now imperative that parties on both sides of the political divide set differences aside and work together for the advancement of all citizens.

The Prime Minister said the opposition's campaign of road blocking, recklessness, intimidation and abuse will not be allowed to continue indefinitely and unabated.

“In the interest of the country, I call on the UWP leadership and supporters, to halt the conduct and behaviour of the last few weeks. Concede defeat and let the country come together. I, therefore, want to appeal to Dominicans in every constituency, to let us move forward in unity.  Many votes go into ballot boxes, but once the results of those votes are known, we must emerge as one people, focused on the important tasks of national healing and nation-building” he said.

He said the essential healing and rebuilding after the events of the last few weeks, can only take place in an atmosphere of restraint, respect and calm.

The DLP won 18 out of 21 seats in Friday’s election. 

 

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: