ROSEAU, Dominica, December 9, 2019 (CMC) – The leader of the main opposition, the United Workers Party (UWP), Lennox Linton, complaining that the December 6 general elections was ‘rigged”, said his party would not recognise the results of the polls and is calling for fresh general elections in Dominica.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was sworn into office, last Saturday, for a fourth consecutive term, hours after he led his ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) to a sweeping 18-3 victory in the general election, last Friday.
In a Facebook address to supporters, Linton, who was one of the three successful UWP candidates, said even though the party had taken its concerns to the regional and international election observer teams monitoring the polls, nothing had been done to ensure a free and fair election in Dominica.
He accused the DLP, which won its fifth consecutive term in office, of charting flights to bring home Dominicans to vote in the election.
“One of the things we pointed out, was that the biggest threat to a fair election in Dominica was the lack of electoral reform, coupled with the overseas-based Dominicans to come in, to vote in the elections.
“We said to the missions, you have the opportunity, now, to observe that for yourself. In the days before the election, the people will be coming in, in large numbers, by charter flights, by charter ferry services into Dominica to influence the results,” he said.
He said he informed the observers that “it must fall within your remit to look at it, to examine it…to understand what is going on, and to put into perspective its impacts on free and fair elections in Dominica”.
Linton added that he could not believe that the observer teams were still able to indicate that the elections “were free and fair when they knew about these challenges”.
‘We are saying to the people of Dominica, we need, now, to demand fresh elections, because, as far as we are concerned, this illegitimate result renders the elections null and void and renders the government null and void.
“We will not recognise this government, because it is the result of a stolen government. That’s where we stand. We, in the United Workers Party, consider that the three seats that we hold were properly won, because they had nothing to do with bribing or bringing in any overseas votes,” he stated.
Linton noted that the UWP candidates had submitted themselves to the requirements of the constitutional rule of law, “and were elected as the representatives of our separate communities in the Parliament of Dominica”.
“Those, who stole elections in their separate constituencies, will need to answer for what they have done, because what they have done is wrong. Stealing elections is not right and the people of Dominica must rise up, and stand up, to make sure those who have done wrong to Dominica, those who have moved, purposefully, to pervert democracy and subvert the will of the people in Dominica, must be made to pay for it,” he demanded.
“That’s the only (way) how we move on. That’s the only (way) how we stand up and do justice to our….collective responsibility of advancing global civilisations,” he told supporters in his near 20-minute broadcast on social media.
Soon after he won the general election, Prime Minister Skerrit said he would extend an invitation to Linton to participate in the future development of the island, a statement he repeated, after he was sworn into office.
“I also look forward to inviting Mr. Linton to early discussions, as we all seek to unite the nation,” Skerrit said, adding that the agenda for his new administration “is an ambitious and exciting one”.
Among the observer teams that monitored the poll, was one from the Organization of American States (OAS), headed by former Bahamas prime minister, Hubert Ingraham.
The Dominica government had previously not extended an invitation to the OAS, after claiming that the hemispheric body was not being fair in its treatment of the island.
“The OAS, we invited them and we just expect them to be impartial and to give us, you know, not any favours, but to report the facts on the ground, as you see them,” said the island’s Ambassador to the OAS, Vince Henderson.
In its eight-page preliminary report on the elections, the OAS observer team joined those from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in declaring that the polls were free and fair and reflected the will of the Dominican voters.
It said also that in order to strengthen the transparency and accountability of the electoral process, it “strongly” recommends Dominica consider the introduction of legislation to regulate political parties and campaign financing, “including clear limits on campaign spending, the identification of the source of funding, the prevention of anonymous donations and the limitations of private and in-kind donations to political and electoral campaigns”.
Ingraham said in this regard, the OAS is recommending its model legislation on campaign financing that “may provide a useful point of departure”.