By Peter Richards
CMC Caribbean Correspondent
ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, won a third consecutive term in office on Monday, as his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won its fourth consecutive five-year term in power, withstanding a strong challenge from the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP).
Preliminary results show that the DLP had won 15 of the 21 seats in the general election, with the UWO, which had won a mere three seats in 2009, doubling its tally to six.
Prime Minister Skerrit, who comfortably won his Vielle Case constituency, will however, have to do without his Information Minister and DLP deputy leader, Ambrose George, who lost to newcomer attorney, Joshua Francis, while Health Minister, Julius Timothy, lost to Danny Lugay.
UWP leader, Lennox Linton, who had predicted that his party would have won 15 seats in the election, easily won the Marigot constituency, which he took over from former prime minister, Edison James.
In a radio and television interview soon after, it became apparent that the DLP had won the election. Prime Minister Skerrit appealed for unity in building the country after the six week campaign.
“I accept the will and verdict of the people,” Skerrit said, after he watched his 18-3 majority in the last Parliament dwindle to 15-6.
Skerrit congratulated Linton on entering the new Parliament, saying the outcome of the polls showed that the island had become “mature democracy”.
Skerrit said he wanted to thank Dominicans for conducting themselves “properly throughout the campaign and minimizing the incidence of intimidation, violence and destruction, which we often see taking place elsewhere.”
But in an immediate response, Linton told radio listeners that the election had been won by intimidation and bribery and accused the ruling party of orchestrating such a strategy to ensure it remained in power.
“So at the end of the day, the election leaves us with more questions,” Linton said, noting that despite the statesmanlike address given by Skerrit, he and his DLP had “flagrantly” disregarded the code of conduct drawn up by the religious groups, to govern the conduct of the parties and politicians on the campaign.
“The church must ask itself a question of relevance,” Linton said, adding “who fools who,” telling his supporters “let us keep hope alive” and promising that his party would continue with its policy of conducting campaigns that would bring forward the ills confronting the country.
In his address, Skerrit said that the DLP victory had “refuted the simplistic argument, that democracy is about giving parties two or three bites of the cherry, and then send them home packing. The truth is that in any country, especially in developing countries, a party that consistently delivers on its promises and takes the country along a clear path of development can win a fourth consecutive term. Tonight we can celebrate the fact that Dominicans will continue to enjoy the rise in standard of living and quality of life as we had been doing since 2000.”
Skerrit said that he was delighted that the population had studied his party’s achievements in office and that every national had benefitted from the socio-economic policies of his administration.
“I am sure this is your way of showing gratitude, this is why you have decided to give us the new mandate to continue to deliver the very many realistic promises we made to you in the manifesto,” he said, adding the manifesto had been drawn up “not just to win the election, but also to serve as a manual to guide our governance of Dominica during the next five years.”
Skerrit said that the composition of his new administration would be announced at a later date, and that while he was mindful of the need for a relaxation, Tuesday would not be a public holiday.