Unrest poses threat to Dominica's tourism sector warns Skerrit
Monday's unrest in Dominica will impact the country's tourism industry.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the country will undoubtedly take a major hit from all the violence and anti-social behaviour being pursued by the opposition in the lead up to elections.
In an address to the nation broadcast earlier today, Dominica's nomination day, Skerrit strongly condemned the actions of the United Workers Party (UWP) and its supporters, which he said, signaled the intrusion of violence into the election campaign in a manner that is unfamiliar, unnecessary and unproductive.
“In 18 days a general election will be held in Dominica, at which time supporters of the UWP can make their opinions clear in the ballot box. Surely then, election reform cannot, therefore, be the real reason for these protests?” he asked.
Skerrit said the elections on December 6, are being held under the same electoral laws which have governed Dominica’s free and fair elections and democratic process since their Independence. He said both the current Labour Government and the opposition UWP have been elected through this exact process and under these same laws.
“Why are they seeking to tarnish and destroy the image and economic well-being of the country they are confident of receiving the mandate to lead in 18 days? Something about their behaviour does not add up!”
Under Dominica’s constitution, the opposition and their supporters have every right to protest, however Skerrit said they must do so within the confines of the law.
Claiming that guests at the popular Fort Young hotel were left traumatised by Monday's riot, he urged the UWP leadership to take stock of their actions and lead by example.
“In all this, the image and economy of Dominica stand to suffer immeasurably. No investor will come into such instability. No tourist will knowingly expose themselves to what guests at Fort Young were exposed to, last evening. So already, the economic impact is clear.”
The Prime Minister said it now remains to be seen if Cruise Ships will abandon their calls on Dominica, during the crucial December and January peak period.
“This is the approach of the current leadership of the United Workers Party to conflict resolution. Whatever is the issue, their first order of business is violence and destruction of our beautiful island. Today, they marvel, as Dominica is portrayed to the world as a violent, unstable country, not worthy of investment, not worthy of business or recreational visits and not worthy of investment citizenship.”
He said Dominica's history of free and fair elections won’t continue if the UWP is determined to introduce a new level of danger, violence, risk, and damage to persons, to property and to Dominica’s reputation in the international community.