Updated: May 29, 2017

On May 25, 2017, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit addressed the nation on his decision to withdraw a very controversial bill before the Parliament.  That bill would have created huge changes to the Elections Act.  Essentially the changes would have weaken the democratic rights of Dominica.
 The bill was met with mass protest by the people which prompted
the Prime Minister's decision. In his address, he warned that he had noticed  that a dangerous precedent  was being set where the "expression of views by some is accompanied, almost always by street
protests, lawless, and violence". What Mr. Skerrit failed to mentioned  was that his administration has not given the people of Dominica alternate ways to  express dissatisfaction. Formal requests are usually ignored. There are no structured ways set up for the public to voice their dissatisfaction?

Currently, there is very little communication between the Labor Party administration and the people. Many decisions are made with little input from the public. The Ruling Administration fail to understand that effective communication will build support for decisions and programs. Or maybe they just don't care.  Why didn't  the Government hold town hall meeting to specifically deal with this matter? Instead, in the leadup to tabling the bill town hall meetings were held to dole out checks. There is no structure set up in this government whereby the citizens voices can be heard.  Many of the state run programs appear to push political propaganda.  Is there  a hotline where folks could lodge their complaints?  How else are they going to voice their dissatisfaction?

This behavior of non-communication seems to be a pattern with this administration. Many times, when members  are asked about pertinent issues they will refer to the Dominica Official Gazette. However, if you tried  to find a copy of the Gazette it is like  searching for hen's teeth. If the Gazette is the major means of governmental communication with the people then shouldn't be it more available? Why is the Dominica Official Gazette  not on line?  This is suppose to be the place where Dominicans learn about what their government is doing.  Why is this important communication not made more available to the general public?

Did you know that to get a copy of of the Gazette you have to pay $50 to subscribe to it? For heavens sake we are in 2017! People are online and on their cell phones. Get with the program! Does  this government really want to provide information, or are they just pretending?

The governing Party should stop referring the public to the Gazette when they know full well that the majority of people will not order a $50 subscription of the Gazette. This an escape hatch!  It would be interesting to know how many copies of the Gazette that were mailed out in 2016.   However, The one time that the administration will engage the public is when an election is  imminent. Lack of government information creates despots. Using technology to inform the public is good governance. But if you want to keep things secret then you make it as difficult for the public to read the information.

Members of the administration enjoy saying "it in de gazette"  It is like a song to them.  They all seem to be singing  the same tune. So here is a verse to add to their chorus.

Where can we find a current audit of government accounts? In de Gazette.
How many Dominican passports were sold ? It in de Gazette.
How much  money are you paying the Agents ? It in de Gazette
When will the Coffee plant be opened ? It in de Gazette
When will the Abattoir be opening? It in de Gazette

Are the names of our Diplomats in de Gazette?
In de Gazette! Are your crazy?

It is time for this Administration to stop singing the "In de Gazette" song. Good communication is an important aspect of good governance it enables people to have confidence in their government. But, if most of the time you ask a member of the administration a question and all they can tell you is their favorite  "it in de gazette" that shows a lack of understanding of the importance of government communication . The administration doesn't seem to understand that that is part of their job. The Labor Party Administration doesn't see the need to communicate because they and their well-to-do supporters  own most of the media. When people are ignored they have to make their voices heard and one way they can do that, is by peaceful protest.
The, current Administration see no need to limit their propaganda if they can hide behind "de Gazette". Citizens need to have input in Government decisions. When ruling parties fail to communicate with the people then the people think they have something to hide.  So repeating "it in de Gazette" is not going to cut it. Seriously, has anyone read a copy of "de Gazette"lately?