Updated: September 07, 2020

Dominica joins CCJ 2015. Its 2020. Time to call in a favour?

On December 17, 2019, eleven days after the contentious December 6th General Election, Roosevelt Skerrit did what all aspiring dictators do. He announced the formation of a one-man commission to be headed by his friend, Dennis Byron. In his typical pretentious, deceitful and lying ways, Skerrit faked sincerity and asked the Opposition to join him for the sake of Dominica. What was missing are the following: Denis Byron is a friend of both Roosevelt Skerrit and his diminutive legal Advisor / carnival barker,  Anthony Astaphan. Secondly, his unilateral decision was disrespectful of Dominicans.  If he indeed wanted peace, then he would have avoided unilateral decision; these things should be negotiated.  Thirdly, Skerrit should stop lying - pretending that Byron will be neutral when he is  socially connected to persons in DLP and Skerrit's social circles. Unfortunately, the responsibility was on Byron to refuse the offer knowing that he would not, could not, be an unbiased 'commissioner'.

Despite Bryon's personal accomplishments and purported legal abilities, this is a major faux pas; one which he will likely live to regret.  He is aware that his friend Skerrit and the myriad of crooked lawyers who feed at Dominica's trough cannot exist otherwise or, in any other country on Earth. Byron is also aware of the contentious sticking points for electoral reform in Dominica. These were the reasons for protest in Roseau, Marigot and Salisbury in the run up to the last General Elections in 2019. These were the reasons Roosevelt Skerrit, Former Chief of Police (Daniel Carbon) and a contingent of Regional Security System goons committed crimes against humanity by teargassing Salisbury people while asleep.  Byron is either manifesting early stages of memory decline or he is just as malicious as the Skerrit-led DLP Administration. For the record, a large portion of the Dominican population will not accept integration of Treating and Cheating , transportation of Overseas voters or elimination of the residency requirements for voting into the Electoral statutes. Byron, for obvious reasons, but mostly for money and greed will not exclude these aspects from his recommendations. That is why Roosevelt Skerrit has stated a prior that he will accept Byron's Recommendations. Everything is Fete Accompli and all that is needed is for Parliament to rubber-stamp Byron's garbage report.  Heck! the report is probably already written.
In 2018, Bryon lamented the lack of interest of the other Caribbean islands in 'descending' to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as final appellant court for the CARICOM  Countries. In particular, fifteen years after its inauguration in 2005, only 4 countries (Barbados, Belize, Dominica and Guyana) use CCJ as the final appellant Court. The biggest players Jamaica and Trinidad have not accepted CCJ.  Referendum in Antigua and Barbuda has failed once and similar efforts have failed twice in Grenada. The most common reason for concern is that CCJ is not immune from political interference. Many see people like Byron as the face of CCJ. Although purportedly designed with multiple layers to mitigate political interference, including a Trust Fund and Board of Trustees, CCJ remains susceptible because of some of its ruling have raised red flags. Many Dominicans, probably do not trust the CCJ, because of the manner in which Dominica descended into CCJ's jurisdiction. Dominica's 'descent' to CCJ was a rushed job in which Dominica's constitution was amended without a constitutional referendum. The DLP simply used its stolen majority in Parliament to rush a bill, pass it into law and amend the Dominican Constitution.  Rightly or wrongly, Byron comes with an historical baggage of distrust and will not be warmly greeted by those who do not support DLP's agenda to rule Dominica forever at all cost.
Denis Byron need to be forewarned. He is walking into a heated environment that is inevitably going to get hotter; the activities of the last election demonstrated this. The International Election Observers felt the anger of some Dominicans after presenting nonsensical summaries in the face of widespread irregularities that occurred while they were active on island during the 2019 General Election. Rather than make thing better, Byron's presence in Dominica is expected to open old wounds, especially given the manner he was selected - no consultation, no discussion; he was picked because he is a friend of Skerrit and Astaphan.  Unless, Byron was hiding under a rock over the past 15-years of DLP transgressions against Dominica, he should be smart enough to turn down this assignment because his presence Dominica is not likely to be a filled with calm. Byron should be cautioned that because things are quiet in Dominica at present, they will not remain that way once he steps foot on Dominican soil to start doing DLP and Skerrit's dirty work. That is, unless he plans to do his Commission charade via Zoom Conferencing!