Catholic priest, Fr. Nigel Karam has called for “respect, trust and consensus” as the debate on electoral reform continues in the country.
Fr. Karam of the Dominica Christian Council was the moderator of a discussion on electoral reform organized by the Electoral Reform Group.
The Electoral Reform Group includes the Dominica Christian Council, the Dominica Evangelical Churches Association, the Dominica Business Forum In. (DBF Inc.), the Dominica Bar Association, the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU) and the Waterfront and Allied Workers Union (WAWU).
The leaders of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP), the United Workers Party (UWP) and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) were all invited to be part of the public discussion but the DLP failed to show up.
The topic for the discussion was is: “Electoral Reform – Facilitating the verification of identity of persons on the Voter Registration Lists to enhance the process of issuing Voter ID.”
Fr. Karam stated that over the course of the discussion and debate on electoral reform. sometimes things that are unpleasant are said which include, name calling and summarily dismissing each other.
“As a result, I think we need to keep that word in mind “respect” as we continue to discuss an important topic like this,” he said.
“As a maturing nation and people, we need to build consensus among ourselves. It is not only the most powerful that has to gain all its advantage but everybody deserves a hearing. In the hearing, both the minority and the majority, I think we come to a broader sense of what is right, what is good, what is true and what is noble,” the Catholic priest stated. “We have to be able to trust each other…if we are going to have any discussions and have openness and listen to the views of each other, we must have trust; trust our government, opposition, those in minority opposition and those who are seeking the good of the country.”
Meantime, chairman of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) Johnson Boston who was also part of the discussion called for all stakeholders to be considered equal as it relates to the discussion of electoral reform.
“The Freedom party, DLP, Workers party and the voters are all equal in this discussion and no one should feel that they have a monopoly on this discussion…the Commission is an independent commission established by law and they should not be influenced to anything with individuals and or political parties,” Boston said.
He exhorted the Commission to do “what is right for the people of Dominica so that our democracy can be maintained and we can enhance our democracy going forward.”
Skerrit – Caricom support ‘overwhelming’ for Baroness Scotland
15 hours ago
February 20, 2020
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said heads of government of CARICOM have expressed their “overwhelming” support for the renewal of the term of office for Secretary General Baroness Scotland.
Scotland, a Dominican by birth is under pressure from the international community to resign from her position of Secretary General of the Commonwealth.
But Skerrit who spoke on the sidelines of the Thirty-First Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Bridgetown, said the grouping is standing behind Scotland.
He said at the meeting, heads of governments also expressed their gratitude for her achievement during her tenure.
“Heads of governments expressed our gratitude for the range of activities undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat whose added value redounded to the benefit of small island and low lying coastal developing states,” he said.
According to Skerrit who has been one of Scotland’s main supporters, the heads of government also expressed support for the renewal of the term of office of the secretary general.
“We do hope that when we meet in Rwanda, the current holder of the post of secretary general will receive a second term in that very important office,” he said.
Skerrit said heads of CARICOM also engaged Scotland “directly and frankly” on the issues leveled against her in the media.
But he said CARICOM remained satisfied and accepted the responses given by her as “legitimate”.
The questions about Scotland’s future leadership of the Commonwealth came after she was criticized by internal auditors last November for awarding a lucrative consultancy contract to a company run by her friend.
The audit committee report also found that the Secretariat had no register of either tender waivers or conflicts of interest and was unable to explain why not.
That committee also identified 50 occasions between July 2015 and June 2018 when the usual procurement tenders had been waited by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
Baroness Scotland has always denied any wrongdoing
Scotland’s four-year term of office as secretary general comes to an end next month.
The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be backing moves to persuade Amina Mohamed, a 58-year-old Kenyan politician, to challenge Baroness Scotland if she refuses to stand down.