Updated: December 16, 2018

Illegal teargassing of peaceful protesters in Roseau, Dominica.
 Dec.  15, 2018. Credit: 3D

Yesterday, December 15 2018 will be recorded as a critical inflection in the arch of Caribbean history. An event which was promoted as a peaceful gathering to demonstrate against electoral manipulation and the slow pace of electoral reform in Dominica was transformed into the initial phase of a potentially lethal war against people exercising their constitutional rights. How did Dominica get to this stage? Three essential components explain the genesis of this unfortunate and shameful event in Dominican history - a progressively fearful Administration lead by an insecure individual that has installed vacuous individuals to run the Police Services. The result is what we witnessed yesterday in Roseau, Dominica - Dominicans exercising their constitutional rights were exposed to tear-gas from unmarked - adulterated canisters. Were these expired teargas? Was another crime committed against the Dominican People? When fear, insecurity and stupidity merge, the result is typically a toxic soup that can have unforeseen consequences and which usually require drastic measures to rectify.

By way of background, the peaceful event of December 15, 2018 was organized by the Concern Citizens Movement , CCM (Dominica) primarily to call for cleansing of the voters list, voters ID Card and  electoral reform as it relates campaign financing, and  halting the practice of treating, cheating and stealing elections. The two main objectives are like 'Kryptonite' to Roosevelt Skerrit-lead Dominica Labor Party. For the past 3 election cycles, over a fifteen year period, the Electors List has not been cleansed and the Dominica Labor Party has employed the illegal practice of buying votes, treating and cheating, transporting voters from outside of Dominica in order to win elections. They have been so brazen about this illegal practice and, convinced that this their only path to electoral success, that an attempt was made to amend exiting Acts to legitimize the aforementioned practices. The proposed Amendments were shelved due to widespread opposition. The Civil Society organization, CCM, grew out of the need to preserve democracy in Dominica. The governing Labor Administration view them as 'the other, the enemy' specially since they have  a Court Injunction pending against changing the law to legitimize transportation of voters from outside of Dominica and introduce a National ID Card with the sole purpose of maintaining a bloated Voters List.
Peaceful protest by Dominicans on December 15th 2018 in Roseau, Dominica (Credit 3D)

The Dominica Labor Party Administration is deadly fearful of losing power for several reasons. Many of them, PM Roosevelt Skerrit, OAS and US Ambassador Vince Henderson, Deputy PM Reginald Austrie, have done nothing else but live off the Country's Dole for the past nineteen years. They know of no other means of existing and, probably would not know how to exist in the real world, unlike what many on island have had to do; toil for their daily bread. Besides, being in government has been good to them. Secondly, there are large sums of  unaccountable funds, including US $100 million debt acquired through ALBA and recently forgiven by Venezuela in November 2017.  One year later, still no information from Finance Minister Skerrit on 'where de money gone'. The Forensic Auditors will be their worst nightmare. It is no wonder they are so fearful. Accounting for Citizens By Investment, CBI funds, has compounded their fear!!

At present, the Administration is headed by an extremely insecure individual, Roosevelt Skerrit, who harbors dictatorial tendencies and to whom individual liberties is an alien concept.  Skerrit abhors criticism, micromanages everything, is vindictive and wants to be liked by everyone. He will stop at nothing to mask these shortcoming and satisfy his needs. The combination of fear and insecurity is a toxic mix that can lead individuals to manifest irrational behavior that benefits no one but themselves. This brings us to the final stage of the behavior that Dominica in now witnessing. In the name of safeguarding Democracy,  the governing Administration has progressively buffed up the Police Services into a quasi-military outfit to be unleashed on Dominicans whenever the Labor Administration feels threatened. CCM is seen as another such threat by the Dominica Labor Party Administration. So, it is no wonder the Labor Party Administration's Toy Army with dangerous weapons, lead by an imbecilic automaton Daniel Carbon and executed by a malleable nonentity Richmond Valentine saw it fit to unleash illegal teargas in a non-riotous situation. It seems that neither Carbon, Valentine nor their puppet masters in the Labor Administration understand the Riot Act nor its application.

So, what should be done to stop the brutality currently been meted out on Dominicans by the Roosevelt Skerrit Lead Labor Party Administration. Firstly, every effort should be made to ostracize the the current Administration in Dominica without hurting the Dominican population. The Police's action on Saturday violated the United Nation's Charter on Human Rights, articles 19 and 20, of which Dominica is a signatory.  As has been done with other repressive regimes, there are various vehicles available to target and isolate persons in Dominica who are hell-bent on oppressing its people without affecting the suffering Dominican population. Similar to the case of Venezuela and the Russian Federation, it is time for the large Dominican Diaspora in the USA and European Union to lobby their respective government to initiate sanctions and restrictions against those in the Labor Administration and key members of the Police Services who are committing atrocities against Dominicans.  Specifically, the foreign assets of the current President, Prime Minister, Minster of Justice, Attorney General, Police Commissioner, Deputy Police Commission and Police Superintendent(s) should be a minimum step.  Administrations which believe they have power over the people who elected them only respond to power.  Its time for these ruthless individuals in the governing Dominica Labor Party Administration and the upper hierarchy of the Dominica Police Services to receive the 'Venezuela treatment'.  Roosevelt Skerrit should ask Maduro and his henchmen / henchwomen how that is working for them.  And, by the way, Roosevelt Skerrit and his conspirators need to be educated about the Global Magnitsky Act 2016 in the USA which allows the US Government to sanction foreign government officials implicated in human right abuses anywhere in the world.

It is time for the Dominica Diaspora to flex its collective muscle to save Democracy in Dominica. Continue providing financial support to CCM in Dominica and start lobbying your local representatives in the USA and European Union.  Solicit the International Press, Human Rights Organizations, anti-corruption organizations to ensure that human rights in Dominica are protected. Dominicans on island should continue to advocate for their constitutional rights; they are entitled to use all available legal means to ensure their constitutional rights are protected and upheld.  Finally, a word of caution to the cowards in the governing Labor Administration who are hiding behind the skirts of the Chinese-armed police services;  nothing last forever! Recent world history is littered with failed Dictators whose fate has been most unfortunate. Ignorance of history can be your worst enemy; lest we forget! When legal measures fail, the alternative available to the electorate are quite limited, yet decisive!