(SNO) – A Saint Lucian who has taken part in multiple missions to observe elections in Dominica believes that the Prime Minister of the country, Roosevelt Skerrit’s approach to electoral reform is “unbecoming”
Michael Flood, who was part of a process who provided several recommendations for electoral reform in Dominica and who is also the Commissioner at the Electoral Commission in Saint Lucia, spoke to Choice TV on the matter.
He said without injecting any politics, he thinks that Skerrit should take a better approach to the matter.
“I have been observing, I have been watching his approach to the whole thing, I think it is unbecoming,” he stated.
Skerrit announced that general election in Dominica will be held on December 6, however the opposition and several civic groups have intensify their calls for the reforming of the electoral system on the island.
A joint OAS, Commonwealth and CARICOM mission report which was released in August pointed out to several areas of reform.
But the government has turned a deaf ear.
Flood believes that if the government had listened and implemented some of the recommendations suggested by the mission, some of the political tension now gripping Dominica would not have happened.
“I believe it is unfair to be in a democracy and there is no democracy,” he told Choice TV.
He pointed to one of the issues in the joint mission report in relation to voting by Dominicans who are living abroad.
“You have persons who are living abroad, who have not contributed any way at all to the socio-economic development of Dominica within the electoral cycle which is the last five years,” he said. “But here it is on election day they are planed into Dominica, come in, put their cross and the first opportunity they get, they leave until the next elections. That means they are literally coming in to Dominica impose a government on the people who are striving in Dominica. They don’t care whether the government fail or the government does well.
Flood said he believes this is not fair.
“Whilst it is their country but in order to be entitled to vote in your country you need to have been there at least, like we have in Satin Lucia, six months within that electoral cycle,” he stated.
An OAS report after the 2014 general election pointed out that the matter of Dominicans living oversea coming to vote should be given a closer look.
Another issue highlighted by the OAS after the 2014 general election was the improvement of voter identification, which is yet to be addressed by the authorities.
“What they have now, it gives people the liberty to do many things,” Flood told Choice TV. “The voter ID they have now, that could be duplicated over and over and over again … in the 21st century, that needs to change.”
He said ink on the finger after voting doesn’t prevent someone voting multiple times since it can be removed.
“What guarantees you have, because it is not electronic,” that a hundred yards from here there is another polling station that this person cannot just go and clean his or her finger and find themselves there, Flood explained. “How would the authorities at that station know that this person just had voted.”