Updated: January 20, 2019

By Jamber Press Contributor
At the start of each year, people, companies, organizations and sometimes countries make commitments that they hope to achieve or plans to chart an entirely new course. Of course, most of us never meet the goals as envisioned, but this practice helps us keep the future in sight and permit us to modify and manage our direction in life. For Dominicans, 2019 marks a critical inflection in the history of the country. General elections will be called sometime within the next 16 months. This is indeed a most appropriate time to reflect on where Dominica has been in the past 15 to 20 years and where they wish to see the island move in the future. 

Contrary to the propaganda spewed by the Labor Administration and it's diehard apologists, the island is not doing great. Health Care is in shambles, agricultural and other previously productive engines of the economy have been crippled and critical institutions (courts, church, police services, village councils, Electoral Commission, Public Works Department, statutory bodies) have been hijacked by the Labor Administration lead by a sociopath, Roosevelt Skerrit. This individual, the Prime Minister of Dominica, lies effortlessly, cheats and steals elections and breaks laws with impunity. Dominicans seem powerless to abrogate or neutralize his insults on society and their sensibility. This year, through the ballot box, is possibly the last opportunity to halt this insult on Dominican society.

Besides the destruction of the economy and neglect of its citizen's healthcare, Dominicans have had to contend with a myriad of failed election promises.  Just imagine in 2004 they were promised a New and Modernized flagship hospital and, subsequently, an International Airport has been promised on numerous occasions since 2009. In addition promises for broader markets for farmers,  boats to transport agricultural products and all sorts of  infrastructure projects that have never materialized. Instead, Dominicans have gotten hospitals-in-the sky, seen demise of  Marigot hospital services, witnessed the destruction of agricultural production and deterioration of an extensive farm access feeder-road system relegating agriculture to a 'ghost of its former self'. Above all, energy cost remains sky-high as Geothermal production has stalled and despite mass injection of Capital (more US $100 million) by Petro Carib into the Energy Sector. In 2011, the Labor Administration and  Roosevelt Skerrit in particular, boasted that they had "struct gold" with the Geothermal Project. Yet, after 8 years and expenditure of more than US$65 million, not a single kilowatt of energy have been generated! Now, another elections looms and the lies and hyperbole are escalating to intolerable decibels.

In his year in review 'love fest' with a shameful grouping of select 'Reporters' on January 8 2019, Skerrit boasted of how well the island is doing. He further boasted that Dominica received help after Hurricane Maria because they, the Labor Administration, have friends in the International Community. Does Mr. Skerrit believe that World Bank cares who is running Dominica? He must really think alot about himself.  The World Food Program, UNESCO, IOM, World Bank among others exist to help people irrespective of location, not Administrations.  Given his lack of empathy and disregard for others, Roosevelt Skerrit and his handlers clearly believe that Dominicans are 'stupid enough' to believe his lies and drivel.

Lets address the lie that Dominica would have done better were it not for  Tropical Storm Erika (August 2015) and Category 5 Hurricane Maria (September 2017). Nothing can be further from the truth. Dominica has done poorly because of  mismanagement, misplaced priorities, abuse of resources and outright incompetence. Health Care deteriorated before TS Erika in August 2015. Marigot hospital services were already non-functional before TS Erika. Agricultural output was already in the doldrums and the tourism product was already damaged by a an Administration that was more interested in selling passport to crooks and criminals (while executing diversion),  rather than creating the enabling environment to lift all Dominicans.

Over the past 19 years (January 2000 - January 2019), Dominica would have enjoyed more funds (conservatively estimated at XCD $15-20 billion) than any other time in its history. This is primarily due to the value-added Tax (VAT) on numerous products, remunerations and investment from the Diaspora, a Citizenship-By-Investment (CBI) program on steroid and grants and loans from friendly foreign governments (especially Venezuela and China) and International agencies like the World Bank. Yet, in most aspects, the island has retrogressed relative to its other Eastern Caribbean Neighbors. Why is this so? Why is it that previously agricultural-rich Parishes like St. Andrew and St. Joseph are now among the poorest on the island? Why are there no passable Feeder Roads to many Farm holdings? The answer is simple. These were not priorities for the Labor Administration which has been in power for almost 20 years. According to one former Minister of Tourism, Agriculture is a 'has been' industry; Dominica should concentrate on Tourism. Never mind that the island remains the least accessible of all the Eastern Caribbean States because of a misguided decision of not developing Airports and Seaports on the island. In the end, the past 19 years have been a nightmare for many on island. Dominicans have the opportunity to alter the trajectory of ongoing failure or languish in the dustbin of history as a 'failed state'.

By taking a decisive leap to reorient the island's course,  Dominicans will be simultaneously ridding the island of perpetual Corruption in Government,  economical stagnation, interference in local government and statutory bodies and shortsightedness in managing the productive sectors of the economy.  Most importantly, Dominicans have to make a critical decision about how they elect their representatives and how they plan to protect the Constitution, the supreme law of the land. They have to decide whether they plan to participate in another sham election in which the number of persons on the Voters' List is greater than the current island's population. In this regard, we should highlight another blatant lie that Roosevelt Skerrit uttered in his sham Interview on January 8, 2019. He stated that electoral reform was being held up by a Court Injunction requested by the United Workers Party acting through their Agency, the Concern Citizens Movement (CCM). There are two falsehoods in this statement. Firstly, CCM is not a part of the UWP and secondly, there is no Court Injunction against proposed Electoral Reform. The requested injunction was not granted because the Administration withdraw its planned changes to the Electoral Act. Why is it so difficult for Skerrit to speak straight or speak the truth? Why does Skerrit and his Chief handler, Senior  Council Anthony Astaphan, continue to peddle lies to the Dominican public?  Is it because these two characters have absolutely no respect for Dominicans? They believe that Dominicans have 'memoir poule' and will not remember anything that was uttered in the previous year.  2019 will be the year to prove them wrong.

For 2019, Dominicans must resolve to rid themselves of an Administration that favors dependency of its population (akin to Venezuela) rather than independence of the citizens such that they are free to pursue life decisions that does not depend on handouts. Indeed, last week the world got a raw view of this dependency culture when several hundred persons gathered at the Financial Center in Roseau to get their 'handouts' from Chosen One (Roosevelt Skerrit). This pathological character was so incensed when the photos went viral that he hastily arranged a fake-outrage statement blaming everyone else but himself. Enough! In 2019, Dominicans should take the examples from the population around the Caribbean and kick the bums out. Dominicans should get rid of an Administration that has sullied their name on the world stage by selling Diplomatic passport to International Crooks and criminals (Madueka, Coralo, Lap Seng), has little qualms about indulging in corrupt practices like awarding no-bid contract to foreign companies in Barbados and Trinidad (to optimize diversion) and which has survived by cheating and stealing elections.  Dominicans have to decide whether the island can survive another 5-years with an Administration that lost Ross University Medical School, left many business stranded and is up to its ears in Corruption. Is your head spinning yet? Indeed, this is a 'Make-it or Break-it Year'. Dominica needs a cleansing, or else it will be relegated to the dustbin of history as a failed state.