Opposition describes by-election victory as a demand for fair democracy
A by-election in Dominica on Friday, 9th July has resulted in the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) retaining its two seats declared vacant by the Speaker of the country's parliament.
Preliminary results indicate that former Prime Minister Edison James and his United Workers Party colleague Hector John both held on to their constituencies.
Their seats were declared vacant in April by speaker Alix Boyd Knights after the two opposition members boycotted the parliament in protest at what they claimed were irregularities in the December 18th general elections.
Mr Edison James told SAT TV News that the UWP is comfortable with the victory.
“We’re very comfortable with the victory, it speaks to the concerns of the people of Marigot and for the national issues that we have raised in the past. This speaks primarily to electoral reform and the local issues to do with the fact that government has simply turned their backs on Marigot, on the basis that Marigot people have not voted for them, so Marigot people were not getting the attention. That is the message coming from Mr Baptiste, when he said that the only way we will get development in Marigot is to vote for the Dominica Labour Party,” James said.
While the UWP continue to argue the basis on which their seats were made vacant, Mr James said that the UWP’s attendance at parliament is not an issue as opposed to parliament’s response to their concerns.
“It’s always been our intention to attend parliament. We believe in the parliamentary system, but we just have issues with the people who are in there and the approaches they’ve taken over the years. The question is, does Mr Skerrit have intentions of responding to the requests that we’ve made, particularly with respect to electoral reform? We will see how that fears out…people have to understand that we are working in the interest of the country. As it turned out we’ve gone back to the people and they have endorsed the position that we’ve taken,” James added.
UWP’s candidate for the Salisbury constituency, Hector John who amassed more votes in the by-election than the general elections, said that the victory sends a clear message to the world that the country demands fair democracy.
“Salisbury constituency, right where we are right now is the birth child of independence and we are sending a message right here to the world that we want independence in Dominica. We want a thriving democracy and when the people of Dominica ask for something, the government has to respond because the people elected you to represent us and not to treat us like we are your servants. That is why we are sending a clear message today to make it clear that the people of Salisbury, Morne Rachette and Coulibistrie is in solidarity with the people of Marigot, Roseau Central and Dominica, by extension.
Political leader of the United Workers Party, Ron Green said that his parliamentarians will seek to address the many issues affecting the country at parliament.
“…we have the issue of parliament and the issue of the budget, there are other very critical issues that’s emerging day by day, the issue of crime and money laundering, issues of agriculture going nowhere; so there are issues in abundance,” Green said.