Updated: February 06, 2019

by JamberPress Contributor

"When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right" Victor Hugo

Most modern dictatorships do not usually arise out of a military coup or from a Monarchy. Quite contrary, many of these deranged systems are controlled by individuals who were initially 'legitimately' elected, that is, through parliamentary or Presidential ballots. These deeply-flawed leaders, engineers of dictatorship, then proceed to use their newly-acquired powers to wrought havoc on the country and those who elected them. Case in point: Hugo Chavez was elected as President of Venezuela then proceeded to dismantle all constitutional mechanisms, seize, expropriate  and nationalize privately-run enterprises and manipulate the military and courts in order to consolidate power. Maduro followed Chavez. He proceeded to stack the Supreme Court with sympathetic lackeys as judges. The latter body came in handy when Maduro decided he did not like the results of 2017 Congressional elections where his party was resoundingly defeated.  So, he used his corrupt Justices to nullify the will of the Venezuelan people by annulling the National Assembly and all its decisions. With the blessing of sympathetic supreme court and contrary to Venezuelan constitution, Maduro forged ahead, formed  a Constituent Assembly to wrest power from the elected congress and called Presidential elections. He declared himself winner despite only 20% of the voting population participating in the elections last year and jailing rival opposing politicians. What a con? 

So, what does this have to do with Dominica? To understand where this Caribbean island stands, please review the awkward performance by Lorraine Bannis at the United Nation HQ last week. Observers were wondering why is this tiny Caribbean country supporting Maduro - talking about 'duly elected President Maduro' and a whole lot of 'hot air'? The fact is, PM Skerrit of Dominica and Muduro have much in common; it is no secret that PM Skerrit is one of Maduro's closest allies in the Caribbean. Hence Lorraine Bannis served as an 'empty vessel' to echo that similarity on the world stage. The reality is, Dominica, a small Caribbean island, has been headed by a pathological liar Roosevelt Skerrit, with mixed characteristic of extreme narcissism and anti-social behavior, who feels no shame about manipulating susceptible individuals to advance one person, himself. Ambassador, Lorraine Bannis, was channeling Skerrit at the UN.

Roosevelt Skerrit gained political power following the untimely death of two Prime Ministers (Roosevelt Douglas in 2000 and Pierre Charles in 2004). As a conniving upstart, Roosevelt Skerrit, with the help of co-conspirators wrested power from the Labor Party hierarchy in 2004 and through cheating and stealing elections has progressively transformed Dominica into the state as it currently exist. Today, Dominica exist as a faltering nation dominated by a Prime Minister who believes he is the only one who can run this state. No one else is entitled to that role and he will do whatever it takes to maintain power.  For that matter, the PM Skerrit has openly stated that ..Dominica does not need an Opposition Party..? How did the island get there and how is this dysfunction sustained?

Electoral Maleficence and Dirty Money: Commencing with the 2004 general elections, when Dominica Labor Party 'miraculously' acquired seemingly unlimited financial resources to buy votes and transport overseas Dominicans for the purpose of voting, the atrocities have escalated. By the time of the last general elections in 2014, the Labor Party was able to expend more than $30 million over a 30-day campaigning period to once again steal an election; this amount was more than twenty times that expended by all other parties combined. The source of the funds remain unclear, but central to these  irregularities are actors in Barbados where arrangement for voter transportation, printing of election paraphernalia and other nefarious activity emanated. As the next elections draws near, money is flowing around the constituencies like hot bread, both from government coffers and elsewhere. The primary aim is to buy another electoral win. In addition, the five-member Electoral Commission in Dominica has been stacked with three Labor Party lackeys who are also CBI passport-selling agents. How can they be independent?  However, these actions by themselves while critical, are insufficient to sustain dictatorial behavior.  What are the other key ingredients?

A Dazed Population is Essential: The principle factor responsible for development and sustenance of dictatorship in any society is a tolerant and somnolent populace which has been hoodwinked into believing that the potential dictator and his/her administration cares. Dominica has been no exception to this tenet. As long as the population remains in cocoons, believing they will gain some benefits, tyrants will continue to do as they wish.  However, like all evil persons, Roosevelt Skerrit and all those in developing dictatorship never temper their action. Like Maduro (Venezuela) or former Peruvian dictator Fujimori, they are slow to learn that when the populace turn against you, the gig is up. All these characters, with personality derangement, utilize charm to cloud the minds of susceptible individuals then this rapidly devolve into abuse and prosecution. Today, Roosevelt Skerrit has convinced sufficient Dominicans that Dominica will not survive without him and/or the Labor Party. It is not uncommon to hear citizens ask "if not Skerrit and Labor then who?" The perversion has gone to Skerrit's head so he now believes that he is Dominica and if he is criticized, then Dominica is being criticized. This PM is very much  like past 'model legislators' Duvalier in Haiti or Fujimori in Peru, where  the charm devolves into brutality, imprisonment and eventually death of citizens at the hands of their 'elected government'.  

Co-opting the Police Force  This is coming to pass in Dominica, now the only CARICOM country where the Police force has been transformed into a paramilitary machinery primarily to protect and uphold the existence of the Labor Administration.  The upper echelon of the force is now stacked with 'low capability' persons whose only abilities seems to be to intimidate the public rather serve and protect, solve crimes ecetera. An inarticulate, weak police commissioner sees his only role as issuing threatening statements to the public whenever his master (Roosevelt Skerrit) feels his power is threatened. The officers under his command routinely appear in public armed with military weapons and have used expired, adulterated teargas against Dominicans on 3 separate occasions in the past 3 year. The people have accepted this, so the abuse continues! 

Corrupting the Courts:  Another important mechanism for developing and sustaining dictatorships is co-opting and corrupting the Courts . The courts in Dominica are contaminated with political stench and need to be cleansed. How else can one explain the injustice being meted out to the parliamentary opposition party. To those on the outside of Dominica who do not believe this, one case is illustrative. In 2017, Roosevelt Skerrit and his co-conspirators in the Police force concocted a story of attempted 'coup-by-flatbed truck with speakers' involving members of the UWP and DFP as the cheif suspects. The conniving Labor Administration  enlisted the services of external 'police investigators' from other CARICOM countries at cost exceeding XCD $100,000. The investigation was fruitless, so another story of 'incitement' has been brought against a smaller number of persons in the UWP.  Without a doubt, these allegations and charges are geared to disqualifying Mr. Linton, Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition,  from being eligible to contest the next election. In fact, the hired gun, a racially-intolerant, bigoted SC from Trinidad and Tobago said this much to the Magistrate: "... this case need to be expedited as Mr. Linton may be the next Prime Minister of Dominica..". What does a court matter have to do with politics? This case demonstrates control of both the Police Force and Courts by a corrupt Administration. This case is winding its way through the Dominican court system. In contrast, cases brought against high ranking Labor party officials have been languishing for years with no movement through the courts. For instance, a case related to cheating and treating by members of the Dominica Labor Party during the 2014 General is on a go-slow in the Courts. Stay tuned!

Creating Dependency: An extremely important and necessary action in this 'dictatorship-creep' in Dominica has been to render many government bodies non-functional. These include entire ministries, statutory bodies like Public Works and most importantly hamstringing the Electoral Commission to undermine  electoral Integrity. These action renders the government and its sympathetic cronies as the major employers on island. This is akin to what has occured in Venezuela. In Dominica, persons supportive of the Labor Party Administration now control the Supermarkets, hotels, construction companies, petrol distribution.  To eat, you cannot speak ill against the Administration. To complicate and complete the circle, the Prime Minister is now minister of Finance, Minister of Housing and has taken over Social Services with 'The Red Clinic'.  Skerrit's  sidekick, Reginald Austrie, for whom the unconstitutional position Deputy Prime Minister was created  is permanent Petro Carib Boss, minister of agriculture among other portfolio.  All of these actions are meant to create dependency.

Destroying Productive sectors and promoting Dependency serves the important role of having dependents being prepared to  defend the Provider (Roosevelt Skerrit's Labor Administration)  at all cost. This also confounds the state's ability to effectively manage its resources. Eroding state ability to function and appropriate allocation of resources is entangled. This is simultaneously tied up with the madness of
Abuse of incumbency.  It is clear to see that incumbency renders advantages to the party in power when it comes to using state resources for their benefit; this is primordial weapon of  misuse of state resources during election. This approach have being used recurrently to skew political systems throughout the globe. In general and by-elections, the current labor administration has, on multiple occasions, used its incumbency to gain electoral advantage.

Media Control to Propagate Misinformation: A critical aspect of creation and sustenance of dictatorship is control of the Press and other aspect of mass communication.  Other than the web, all major media of communication  seems to be  controlled by the members of the Labor Administration and their sympathizers; See Press acquiescence . The few (at least 1 radio station and one newspaper) not directly under their control are constantly threatened with law suits or currently before the courts for 'defamation'. In addition, no opposing parties have access  to the Nations Station (Dominica Broadcasting Corporation). Furthermore, the government information service is used as a propaganda vehicle for the DLP.  Gaining media control sets the stage for propagating lies without limitations. For instance, after the devastating impact of hurricane Maria in 2017, the world came to Dominica's aid. Through efforts of UN affiliated agencies (World Food Program, International Organization for Migration), the World Bank and governmental assistance (UK, EU, Australia, Canada, USA), the island is recovering. However, because of media control and information manipulation, Dominicans now hear only 2 stories - the World helped Dominica because of the DLP Administration and all the rehabilitation currently occurring  on the island is because of CBI (Citizenship-By-Investment). Both of these are lies, but they are constantly being peddled to the extent that a significant proportion of the populace now believe and repeat these lies.

Role of Chinese and Venezuelan Government:  China and Venezuela have been a major part of the problem in Dominica. For example, Petro Carib  agreement have clearly bolstered the financial bottom-line of a few closely aligned with the Labor Administration. However, Dominica as a country has seen little benefit. How else does one explain that part of Dominica's Petro Carib debt totaling a staggering US$100 million (XCD 265 million) was forgiven in in November 2017, yet 14 months later the Labor administration has failed to account for all this largess. As a collateral consequence, the Madura Government has now acquired a cudgel to ensure Dominica's loyalty; DLP must remain in power suppress the fate of these Venezuelan funds while simultaneously defending Maduro. Likewise, the Chinese government claims it's sincere in its effort to assist Dominica, but the facts show that much of this assistance could be  'Predatory Lending' and has had the unfortunate effect of destroying Dominican small business, construction companies and private enterprise in favor of Chinese businesses. How do these actions help Dominicans? Those are Foreign governments who see the opportunity to buy influence from corrupt administration which have no qualms about disadvantaging their population for the purpose of maintaining power and establishing a one-party state? 

Possible Solutions
So what can be done in Dominica to halt this rapidly deterioration situation?  All steps needed to curtail illegal activities should be pursued. Period! Firstly, the population should standup for their rights. Two key factors make the corrupt Labor administration feel invincible, an unsuspecting naive public and a Police Service that feels beholden to the governing administration.  However, no Police Service or Army is a match for the population.   Just take a look at the population's response to the dire situation in Venezuela where they have decided that change is needed to save their country.  Finally, as in the case of Venezuela, the International community must play it's role. Indeed,  political scientists Bruno Speck and Alessandra Fontana have recommended withdrawal of non-essential donor aid to governments accused of abusing resources for elections.  As seen in Venezuela, once the International Community stands behind a movement, a peoples' wish for change, no measure of Dictatorship whether China or Russia can stop it. Those dictatorships brutally oppress their people  especially if they hold views contrary to the dictatorship. There is no place for this system of governance in Dominica!