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The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) congratulates the majority of the Dominicans who reside in Dominica for rejecting Roosevelt Skerrit – who has headed an evil, vicious, vile and repugnant political gang that has been presiding over our country which they are plunging into a state of lawlessness, despair, poverty and lack.
The will of the people who reside in Dominica has been negated during the December 6th 2019 general elections by the effort of the Skerrit-led political gang at stealing the elections. These efforts were massive and resulted in the Dominica Labour Party capturing 18 seats of the 21 seats. The Dominica Labour Party “captured” the seat, but they did not lawfully “win” many of the seats. Consequently, the Dominica Freedom Party does not recognize these general elections results as being legitimate.
The elections were stolen through the unlawful importation of voters and by other election fraud which were pursued on a grand scale. It has been estimated that at least 7,500 voters who no longer reside in Dominica were bribed to return to Dominica to vote. Such bribery is contrary to the laws of Dominica. Moreover, many of those returning to vote had been outside of Dominica for more than five year and consequently by law their names should have been removed from the voters list. If these unlawful voters were not allowed to vote, then the elections would have been won by the United Workers Party (UWP). The UWP would have won the popular vote and would have possibly won 13 out of the 21 seats.
Virulent election fraud included significant instances of improper and illegal registration of voters, and on elections day, significant instances of impersonation and double voting. Ahead of the elections, many persons were registered wrongfully in constituencies in which they do not reside in order to give the labour party an unfair advantage in those constituencies. Voter impersonation was reported to be rampant with some people asked to use the names of other persons (who are either deceased or whom the Labour Party planners knew were not available to vote in person). There were even some instances of underage voting and voting by persons while they were overseas and prior to election day. Such grand election fraud were possible for a number of reasons, including, corrupt elections officials who favoured and collaborated with the Labour Party; a voters list that contains the names dead persons and the names of persons who are no longer eligible to vote due to their absence from Dominica; and the absence of proper voter identification. The bloated voters list along with inadequate means to identify voters facilitated voter impersonation.
The DFP has also received information that suggest that there were polling stations that were not generally known to the public or to some elements of the public, and we have heard about an instance where one such polling station was dedicated to overseas-based voters.
The DFP has also received reports that some persons who were lawfully on the voters list and who supported the opposition were removed from the voters list. All instances of alleged fraud need to be thoroughly investigated.
Much of this fraud could not have been observed by the Elections Observers, where they observed the elections in the customary manner. For instance:
Be that as it may, the election observers were in a position to observe the irregular movement of persons coming from overseas into Dominica and it would not have been difficult to estimate the number of such persons and the reasons for these persons coming as it is very unusual for such numbers of chartered planes and ferries transporting so many Dominicans for one or two day visits at this time of year. They could have established reasonable indications that the importation of votes was related to bribery and treating and that some of the persons coming in to vote had not returned to Dominica for more than five years. To do that, the elections observers simple needed to have a reasonable framework for observing and investigation the elections beyond what happens at the polling stations on poling day. Such a sufficiently wide mandate for the observer missions was absolutely necessary in the context of the cries of the people of Dominica that the elections would be stollen if the voters list was not adequately cleansed and if voter ID cards were not issued among other effort to cause the elections to be free and fair.
A broader elections observer mandate should have been insisted on by the organizations fielding the elections observer mission given that these very organizations (the OAS, CARICOM and the Commonwealth Secretariat), were party to the August 2019 special mission that recommended that the voters list should be cleansed, that voter ID cards should be issued and that persons that have been out of Dominica for more than five years should be removed from the voters list ahead of the general elections.
In their initial field press conferences, although the election observer missions recognized the complains that the opposition had voiced, it appears that they made inadequate efforts, if any, to corroborate these complains, or they appeared to have ignored or did not report on significant and highly pertinent elements of their observations. The Dominica Freedom Party is therefore calling on all three election observers to produce final reports that does not leave out material observations that pointed to potential unfairness of the general elections in Dominica and the breaching of election laws.
Additionally, the DFP expects Election Observers in their final report, to discuss the weakness of the current legal framework that need to be addressed to contribute to making election free and fair in light of the complaints they heard from the people of Dominica.
The Dominica Freedom Party wishes to call on the international community encourage and even demand a full investigation into the legitimacy of the December 6th general elections in Dominica. We ask the OAS, the Commonwealth Secretarial and CARICOM to support that call and to be willing to participate in such an investigation.
The DFP expects that political party agents at various polling stations would have raised objections in cases of suspected fraud where theses could be reasonably identified. But we would expect that the agents of the opposition party may not have had adequate knowledge to object to all the actual illicit voters; and as such they may have had some of the same challenges that the Elections Observer Mission member had. However, there are eligible voters who were in the voting queue who would have observed cases of fraud. We urge these voters to provider the names of persons that they suspected to have voted illegally, along with other relevant information, to the opposition party contestants. We urge these persons to be willing to provide testimony on these cases in court. The Dominica Freedom Party therefor will support a comprehensive effort to challenge the elections result in the court of law, based on irregularities observed on elections day, as well as irregularities in the registration process and the insufficient efforts by the Electoral Office to address over 1000 objections made prior to the election with respect to persons on the voters.
The Dominica Freedom Party calls on the high court and the court of appeal to give these matters urgent attention when it gets before them and the DFP hopes that the slop process of the court with respect to a 2014 elections petition matter, would not be experienced again in relation to challenges or petitions to be brought before the court in relation to the 2019 general elections. There is need for swift delivery of justice on this matter in order to reflect the true will of the people of Dominica at the December 6th general elections.
To add further insult to injury, the machinery of the Dominica Labour Party for stealing the general elections were finance through illicit funds. We believe that such illicit funds included proceeds from the unethical sale of diplomatic passports to unsavoury characters, or perhaps the misappropriation of state funds. Calls have been made for the accounting of EC$1.2 billion from the Citizen by Investment programme that was not deposited in the consolidated fund contrary to the financial laws and regulations. Possibly, there were other sources of illicit funds including contributions from those involved in drug trafficking. We urge that all of these matters be investigated by the international community given that this illicit regime is a threat, not only to the people of Dominica, but also to the security and other interest of many countries of the western hemisphere including the USA.
The illicit campaign funds also provided the basis for the Skerrit-led Labour Party to engage in significant bribery and treating – something that has become their standard mode to attract supporters. The Skerrit-led administration also engaged in bribery and treating using state resources including through the housing programme. Further, the regime denied the opposition political parties fair access to public media, a tactic that has also become standard practice for the Skerrit-led regime.
The odds were greatly stacked against the people of Dominica with regards to their desire for free and fair elections. Pleas for these have made since 2005, but have being constantly rebuffed by the Skerrit-led administration while pretending that they want electoral reform. Where they proposed electoral reforms, they made provisions for changes that sought to legitimize corruption and that would serve to subvert the essence of our democracy. The regime has defied the people and engaged in police intimidation tactics including the December 2018 Police tear gas attack on persons who were having a peaceful public meeting. Even in the face of recommendations by the international community for electoral reforms, the Skerrit regime has remained defiant.
What were a people to do to protect their democracy and their freedom and to stop the country from sliding into lawlessness and widespread poverty? The people were surely prevented from doing so through their right to freely and fairly chose a government. This situation existed during the 2014 elections, but the means to prevent free and fair elections became much more brazen during the 2019 general elections. The administration ignored every peaceful attempt to get them to be reasonable and in particular to pursue a voter-reregistration exercise and to issue voter ID cards. They ignored every reasonable recommendation from local stakeholders, from elections observers of the two previous elections, and from the special joint mission of August 2019 fielded by the OAS, CARICOM and the Commonwealth Secretariat of. So great were the odds stacked against the majority of the people, that once the elections were eminent, a significant number of persons felt that only way to redress the situation was to physically prevent illicit voters from voting in the elections. The people therefor made reasonable efforts to disrupt communications without endangering life and without the destruction of public or private property. But this effort was rather spontaneous and the DFP is not aware that these efforts were planned or coordinated, but they certainly appeared not be.
But the just efforts of the people were crushed by the police with the support of the Regional Security System (RSS). In the most vivid moment of the crushing of the people’s will, the RSS moved to clear the blockage to the road on the west coast highway at Salisbury. Rather than concentrate on the local area in which the blockage occurred, the regional military forces moved well beyond what was necessary when in the early hours of the morning they tear-gassed the entire village while the residents were asleep. The government forces and the RSS had no regards for the sick, the elderly, the pregnant women, and the children.
This attack was non-discriminatory, not necessary, and was simply meant to punish the people of Salisbury, the majority of whom supports the opposition. The attach was meant to instil fear in the population. The military attack on a sleeping village is the epitome of wickedness and a crime against humanity. Reasonable force was not used. As for that matter, three persons who were not resisting the invading forces were shot, and apparently, the invading forces had permission to use lethal force should they have encountered resistance.
It is also the understanding of the DFP, that the first wave of attack on the people of Salisbury was undertaken by the local forces alongside foreign mercenaries and local criminal elements. These crimes need to be investigated by the international community and by the countries that allowed their forces to participate in the RSS and who were used to allow Roosevelt Skerrit and his political gang to secure the physical space that allowed the Skerrit-lead political party to steal the general elections.
Given all that was said above, the Dominica Freedom Party supports the call for the elections to be annulled and for an interim government to be installed or for elections to be held within the soonest period once the adequate electoral reforms have been enacted. We asked for peaceful effort in that regards and for the democratic international community to implement strategies to help us achieve such ends. But a mere cleansing of the voters list and the issuance of ID cards is no longer sufficient. The laws must now be amended in keeping with the spirit of the law, to reflect a requirement that persons will not be eligible to remain on the voters list if they have not been residing in Dominica for five years or more (even if they visited during the period), rather than requiring that they have been out of Dominica for five years or more as is stated in the current law. Further, there is need for campaign finance reform to reduce the potential for illicit funds to be used in elections campaign and to regulate what expenditure can be allowed in an elections campaign.
While a majority of those whole live in Dominica, who are eligible to vote and exercised their franchise, rejected Roosevelt Skerrit and his vile political gang, the nation has been bitterly divided in the wake of the elections. The wicked Skerrit-led political gang has managed to infiltrate the minds of a significant minority who reside on the island including the “book smart”, the “street smart”, the young, the old and even some of those who claim Jesus as their lord and saviour. They have also made similar physiological inroads with some Dominicans living oversee who have formed an unholy alliance with Roosevelt Skerrit to hurt their fellow Dominicans living in Dominica. The Skerrit political gang have designed a society of dependants and they have still managed to control the perceived image of Roosevelt Skerrit as the Saviour. This my fellow Dominicans, is the worst form of Tyranny. This is mental Slavery!
At this point in our history, a significant minority of our people are not heeding the call of our national Anthem that says:
“…And a people strong and healthy,
Full of Godly reverent fear,
Alas, many have lost their fear of God.
Another part of the national anthem calls out,
“Come ye forward, sons and daughters,
Of this Gem beyond compare,
Strive for honour sons and daughters,
Do the right be firm be fair…"
Many of us are not doing the right thing and we know it! We have decided to approve a political game that does not go by the playbook of true democracy and rule of law. Like Judas, we are doing this for “thirty shekels of silver". We are betraying our fellow Dominicans. We are betraying our God!
After all, a former Prime Minister – the deceased Honourable Rosie Douglas said in his speech during the swearing in of Cabinet in 2000, “Let our Country breathe the fresh, pure air of the new millennium, as only Dominica can supply. Let us see ourselves as we really are, a very small island-state which has evolved into a nation state of law-abiding people with long and robust Judo-Christian traditions, values and principles. And it will remain that way under this administration. We are a democratic Christian nation.”
But alas Rosie died much too soon, and his successor – Honourable Pierre Charles, who was seeking to keep our country on the same Godly tract as Rosie saw it, also died much too soon.
But since the days of these great statesmen, we have been losing the essence that makes us a Dominican people – a people full of Godly reverent fear! We have been moving away from what it is to be the Commonwealth of Dominica! It should should mean - “All for each, and each for All".
But my people, don’t lose hope. Many of us in this nation still love our God. And the scriptures declare that all things work together for good to them that love the lord and to them who are called according to his purpose.
I declare that the purposes of God will be fulfilled in Dominica through his people. I declare that those who have turned away from our Judeo-Christian traditions will be convicted of their wrong by our God and that they will return to the fold and together with the rest of us, they will fight to return this nation to one that is indeed democratic Christian nation.
I say to you that the Dominica Freedom Party will continue to place the interest of the nation and people above the interest of the party and you saw how we did so during the run-up to the December 6th general elections. We believe that at this point in our nation, the Dominica Freedom Party is well poised to put the party on course to guide our nation in the not too distant future. So while we will engage in efforts along with others to right the wrong of December 6th 2019 general elections, we will also heed the call of many who meet us on the streets and say that it is now time for the Freedom Party to emerge with the fire of God and the fire of the people under its wings.
As a party, after next week, we are going into a four-week period of reflection and prayer. We desire direction from my God in all we do. You see, the way it looks right now, we need God’s help to solve this political problem that now appears to be insurmountable solely through our own peaceful efforts. But I am comforted that God does not need an election to remove Roosevelt Skerrit! God will do the difficult and impossible for us. He will cause the right nations to align with the people of Dominica. He will allow the right alignment of circumstances to unravel. Wait and see what the Lord will do.
So, I appeal to you the Dominican People, to allow the Freedom Party to lead our country into victory. As the Political leader of the party, I remain available for the task at hand. My energy is by no means daunted by the display of elections thievery we have just experienced.
I chose to do it God’s way and as a Christian Democratic Nation, I ask you to join me in that approach. Is there anything too hard for God to do?
I thank you my Fellow Dominicans.
Dominica Freedom Party