DOMINICA-Group warns of possible unrest if electoral reform is not properly addressed ahead of next general election

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President of the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC), Pastor Randy Rodney, is warning that “something will erupt” if the upcoming general election is perceived as not being fair.

Rodney, is a member of a group comprising church, business and civil society leaders who have been lobbying for electoral reform ahead of the next general elections constitutionally due by March next year but widely expected to be held before that date.

President of the Dominica Association of Evangelical Churches (DAEC), Pastor Randy Rodney (center) speaking to reporters (Photo courtesy Dominica Newsonline)

“The group was and still is concerned that given the unfinished business of necessary electoral reform, should the general election be held with the public perception that its outcome does not reflect the…majority of the eligible voters, there is a chance that civil unrest and disturbances may ensue in the country.

“There’s an issue of public confidence in the genuine interest and industry towards the current electoral reform effort, hence our efforts have been and still are to attain some reasonable compromise that will resonate well towards the overall interest of our beloved country in facilitating the holding of a general election which will usher in a government in a peaceful environment,” Rodney added.

The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has been calling for electoral reform here and the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says it has taken several measures to advance the process.

It said these included the decision to introduce a National I.D Card; the provision of funding for the necessary equipment to facilitate the administration of the card; the creation of legal instruments on electoral reform and the tabling of bills entitled Registration of Electors (Amendment) Act 2017 in the Dominica parliament.

However, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM), which late last year, organised street protests, said that the Organization of American States (OAS), the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat and the organisations that have sent teams to Dominica to monitor general elections in the past, have all called for electoral reform.

Rodney said that the group has met with representatives of the various political parties and other stakeholders in the electoral process.

“We delivered a letter to the Prime Minister on 13th February 2019, and requested a meeting with him. We met with the chairman of the Electoral Commission, the Chief Elections Officer on 18th February, 2019, we met with the opposition political parties…jointly with the Concerned Citizens Movement on February 26, 2019.

‘We met with his Excellency the President and a team from the Attorney General’s office on 28th February 2019, “ Rodney said adding that a decision had been taken to delay meetings with the general public until “after the electoral efforts are either well underway to bear fruit or are deemed frustrated by one or more stakeholders.

“We recognize the need to engage in an education process with the general public, to guide and remind the citizens on the elector’s role, the responsibility in electoral reform and the citizens’ shared responsibility in maintaining a good environment to live, work and do business,” he said.

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