The Electoral Reform Coalition (ERC) is now convinced that the results of the “Snap” Election held in Dominica on Tuesday 6th December 2022 have sent a very strong message to the Ruling Administration that Dominica is fully ready for the judicious implementation of Electoral Reform on the island and fresh Elections being held within a two-year timeframe beginning from the December 7th, 2022.
This very telling message and resounding call for Election Reform is represented in the Preliminary results of the 2022 “Snap” Elections showing an approximate 28% Voter Turnout in 2022 as contrasted with a 54% turnout in 2019. This sharp decline in Voter Turnout can be attributed to an intelligent understanding by the electorate that Dominica cannot countenance another Election without Reforms to the Electoral Process.
The characteristic peaceful display by the Dominican electorate on Election Day should not go unrewarded if democracy is to be sustained on the island. The ERC now therefore strongly appeals to the Government of Dominica with all its Institutions inclusive of but not limited to the Office of the President, the Electoral Commission, the Supreme Courts in all their jurisdictions, Police, and Public Service to put their “shoulders to the wheel” in a collective effort to enhance democracy on the island.
The ERC strongly requests that the Visiting Election Missions from the Commonwealth, Organization of American States (OAS), and CARICOM Secretariat strongly recommend to their Head Offices that Dominica be afforded immediate Technical and Financial Support to assist the country in developing an envious and model Election Framework that would redound to the holding of Free and Fair Elections. The ERC emphasizes that the “Work” of Sir Dennis Byron, Sole Election Reform Commissioner to the Commonwealth of Dominica be given the highest regard and that this “Work” forms the bedrock for developing an Election Framework that is truly reflective and representative of the will of the people.
In consideration of the totality of the Task that lies ahead, the ERC strongly recommends that all concerned commit to a realistic timeframe within which the following areas would be meticulously explored and acted upon in the development of the necessary Election Reform Framework for the Commonwealth of Dominica:
- A white Paper on the Reform Process, utilizing Sir Byron’s Proposed Draft Legislations and Electoral Reform Recommendations be prepared and widely circulated to Dominica’s citizenry
- Wide National Consultations be held to arrive at a consensus and compromise on the Legislation that would be tabled in Parliament, debated, passed, and assented to by His Excellency The President of the Commonwealth of Dominica
- That the Electoral Commission, be mandated by the President to acquire all the resources required to fully implement the new legislation
- That this mandate should see the Commission declaring a readiness to supervise a General Election within one year of the passage of the Reform Legislation
- That the reform Process incorporates:-
- A National Consultative Process that involves the Electoral Commission ably supported by Sir Dennis Byron and his TEAM, a TEAM of Experts from the Observer Missions Secretariats, all Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations, and
- made within the legislation to institute a body that would investigate and forcefully prosecute violations of the Electoral Laws, especially those committed by Candidates and Electoral Commission Functionaries
- Passage of Campaign Finance Reform Legislation
- Passage of a Public Accounts Committee Act
- Barring people with a conflict of interest biases from serving as Commissioners on the Electoral Commission
- Ensuring that Justices of the Peace are made readily available by the State in all Constituencies to facilitate the timely preparation, and completion of Candidate Declaration Forms to be presented to the supervising Returning/Presiding Officers on Nomination Day
- That a Constituency Boundaries Delineation exercise be undertaken and implemented by the Boundaries Commission
- That the Commonwealth, OAS, and CARICOM Secretariats be approached to provide Technical and Financial Support to assist Dominica in successfully implementing its Electoral Framework.
The ERC verily believes and therefore states very strongly that the workload must be completed and a New Electoral Reform Platform implemented within eighteen months, which would reasonably allow for a fresh General Election to be called by September of 2024.
Dominica Deserves Better and Should Have Better!!!!