In his remarks to this week’s OAS meeting, Deputy US permanent representative to the OAS Alexis Ludwig said “We recognize that Prime Minister Skerrit has the constitutional right to call elections at any time.
“However, we believe that implementing the recommendations would have contributed significantly to the fairness and transparency of the elections that all Dominicans seek, but also reaffirm the OAS’ and international community’s confidence that Dominica wants to ensure that its elections meets the standards of the OAS Democratic Charter and the international norms for organizing and holding elections,” Ludwig declared.
He conceded that” the OAS Missions have issued a number of recommendations, a few of which have been implemented.”
He said “at the invitation of the Government of Dominica, just this last August there was a joint special mission by CARICOM, the Commonwealth, and the OAS to Dominica.”
“The August joint report identified three main areas of concern the government needs to address to ensure that elections are fair, free, and transparent: 1) Removal of deceased persons and ineligible voters from the current electoral list; 2) Issuance of photo identification cards to electors to facilitate more accurate identification at the polls; and 3) Removal from the current electoral list of all diaspora voters who are ineligible to vote by virtue of being out of the country for more than five years,” Ludwig pointed out.
“As we know,” he noted, “the OAS Electoral Observation Missions are the gold standard in ensuring free and fair elections.”
He went on to say that the situation in Dominica is growing worrisome, adding, ” There have been numerous demonstrations throughout the year to raise concerns about the fairness and transparency of elections, and unfortunately, there was an outbreak of clashes this week in Dominica.”
However, prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit has accused the United Workers Party (UWP) and other advocates such as the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) of stymying electoral reform by opposing legislation which he attempted to take to parliament.
The electoral reform proponents have insisted that their opposition targeted amendments that attempted to legitimize certain unlawful aspects of the existing legislation. Skerrit has pointed out, that elections have been held under the same laws that have governed the democratic process in Dominica since Dominica attained its independence.
“Both the current Labour government and the UWP opposition have been elected through this exact process and under the same laws and conditions,” Skerrit reiterated in an address to the nation on Tuesday. “It is this same process and those same laws that saw the United Workers Party increase its seat count in the last general elections in Dominica.”
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