Updated: January 27, 2019

Elections with integrity and credibility are the foundations of Democracy. Since the 1970s, it was believed that one way to ensure democratic integrity was to create Independent Electoral bodies that would be accountable to the people for all aspects of the electoral process. It is imperative that that those organizations be seen as impartial and independent in discharging their duties effectively and diligently. Independent electoral commissions make important contributions to democracy and the rule of law. They help promote public confidence in Elections. However, elections that are seen to as flawed undermine democracy. Decisions made by those electoral commissions, if done in a transparent manner, should not influence elections outcome. Conversely, manipulation of electoral commissions and, or their activities, can have a significant impact on election outcome.  Accordingly, if elections are rigged, manipulated  and are seen as corrupted  this can greatly undermine Democracy. 

At present, The Electoral Commission in Dominica  is not viewed as being independent due to the fact that the Chairman of the Commission appears to have very close ties to the governing administration. He also has a conflict of interest in that he is a CBI Agent. So, his loyalty and impartiality  is already in question.  Hence, it was astounding to learn that when this Electoral Commission voted unanimously to clean up the Voters List, and that their request for Funding of $300,000 from Cabinet was not honored.  This fact should have been made known to the public. There must have been credible reasons for the entire Commission  to vote to clean up the list of electors. So, why is the Commission acquiescing to being held hostage by the Governing Administration. By deliberately not funding the clean up of the voters list this Administration  is preventing the Commission from accomplishing its mandate of ensuring that the people of Dominica participate in elections  that are free and fair and therefore legitimate.

It would be fair to assume such a unanimous decision by the Commission  would have been seen as important by the current Administration and, they would try their utmost to accommodate. They have chosen not to do so. Then it is up to the Electoral Commission to go out to the public to inform them of the existing facts.  This is critical because the legitimacy and integrity of the election is essential for Democracy to survive; the political parties, and other stakeholders, should see the election as being free and fair and that the outcome is not predetermined through manipulation of the Electoral Commission.   So, it is hoped that if this Administration decides to call the General Elections without a Clean Voters, the Electoral Commission will see it within their constitutional mandate to inform the President that they are not ready. Because, if elections were allowed to proceed under those conditions, it would be seen as being a sham, lacking credibility and its legitimacy could be  challenged.  The Electoral Commission would also be a target of any such challenge.

The Labor Administration appears to be tone deaf. They are not mindful of the dignity of each individual in Dominica to have a say under Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration states, in part, "the will of the people shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections".  Elections are the fundamental tradition of representative governments. If an electoral commission is seen as independent, then the process will be seen as legitimate and binding. Otherwise, there is a high risk that  one will see the chaos that is happening in Venezuela. Are Dominicans and Dominica Labor Party ready for the chaos that is now engulfing Venezuela. Is Roosevelt Skerrit and his incompetent cabinet of ministers ready for the international isolation now faced by Maduro and his useless Cabinet? The Electoral Commission need to think strongly as to whether they want to be the architect of a situation similar to the dire state of affairs that is currently engulfing Venezuela?