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UWP election court challenge moving ahead; supporters urged to assist

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UWP president, Isaac Baptiste. File photo

The United Workers Party (UWP) is well on its way to filing election petitions challenging the outcome of the December 6, 2019, general elections in Dominica.

UWP president, Issac Baptiste said they are progressing with preparations to have the petitions filed within the next 21 days provided for under the law.

The United Workers Party has maintained that there were voting irregularities during the elections which the Dominica Labour Paty (DLP) won by a margin of 15 seats (18-3) and have accused the DLP of stealing the elections.

In a recent radio interview, Baptiste called on UWP supporters to assist with the battle ahead.

He said his party will need financing to meet the cost of the challenge that they are going to take to the judiciary.

“You can make your contribution either through the UWP website, through your candidate at the various constituencies; in a party office you can also do that,” Baptiste said. “Soon we might have a radiothon to raise funds but, most importantly, we have our membership cards.”

He said persons can purchase a membership card or renew theirs for $EC5.

The UWP official said he is certain that if the 16,000 persons who voted for the UWP purchase their membership cards, this bring in some funds to compensate the attorneys who will be working on the matter.

Baptiste said further that the UWP believes that the institutions of the state – the President of Dominica and the Electoral Commission did not facilitate a free and fair election adding that it is an “established fact” that the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) under the leadership of Roosevelt Skerrit seemed to have perfected the art of “stealing elections”.

He contends that because of what they have witnessed in the 2019 general elections, their position on electoral reform must be reviewed.

Prime Minister Skerrit hs promised to initiate the process of electoral reform within the first 100 days of his new administration. He said recently that former CCJ president Sir Denis Byron has accepted his invitation to perform the role of a one-man commission in this process.

Skerrit has also urged the UWP to fully engage in the electoral reform process and implored them to put the “destructive rancour and revolt” behind them, pointing out that all the observers, “including your friends, have pronounced the elections of Dominica free and fair.”





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Dominica employs national contact tracing and sampling committee in its fight against COVID-19

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As part of the strategy to respond to Covid-19 outbreak in Dominica, a national contact tracing and sampling committee has been established in the Primary Healthcare Services Division of the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment.

“The Committee is being spearheaded by myself, the Director and comprises of the Permanent Secretary of Tourism, the Chief Dental Officer, Coordinator for National HIV/AIDS Response Unit and our two senior community health nurses,” Director for Primary Healthcare Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Laura Esprit said at a news conference recently. “There is one team leader assigned per region who is reporting directly to the Director of Primary Healthcare Services.”

Dr. Esprit said each district has a smaller team comprising the District Medical Officer, the Senior Community Health Nurse, a Community Health Nurse, other nurses and a driver.

“These persons are then responsible for contact tracing, follow-up and surveillance,” she explained.

She said the committee has been sub-divided into two teams: an administrative leg and a mobile sampling field team.

The administrative team is responsible for outgoing patient investigation and care and the mobile sampling field team provides support to “surge capacity.”

“This means that this team is deployed to the relevant district or communities whenever it becomes necessary,” Dr. Esprit indicated. “This enables prompt sampling of all suspects over a shorter period of time.”

She added, “This team is also critical in identifying further contacts.”

The mobile sampling field team comprises a medical doctor, a family nurse practitioner and a registered nurse trained in infection control who will be responsible for staff welfare.

She noted that for ease of administration Primary Healthcare Services has always been subdivided into two administrative regions.

Region 1  comprises the districts of Roseau, Grandbay and St Joseph, while Region includes Portsmouth, Marigot, Castle Bruce and Laplaine.

Dr. Esprit stated that the district administration teams are responsible for providing data on probable or suspected clients, tracking the number of clients identified and sampled and tracking availability of supplies to name a few.

She explained that once a patient is contacted and identified the team is required to take a specimen from each contact, “that is where the swabbing comes in.”

“The samples are then transported to the medical lab ensuring that protocols for transportation of infectious material are maintained,” Dr. Esprit said. “Results are available within 24 to 48 hours.”

The Primary Health Care Director urged the public to cooperate with the officials of the Ministry of Health and to maintain home quarantine when asked to do so.

“We have major challenges, in that many persons have not heeded the instructions of social distancing and self-quarantine and have not taken these recommendations seriously,” Dr. Esprit remarked, pointing out that while the number of patients is in the minority in Dominica, there is a potential for exponential spread and transmission of the disease to most of the population.

“Bear in mind that there are very vulnerable people in our communities who will be negatively impacted and may even die from this highly contagious disease,” Dr. Esprit warned.





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ANNOUNCEMENT: Closure of credit unions

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COVID-19: Police break up church gathering in Antigua; church leader to be charged

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Lawmen in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday dispersed a church gathering in a village called Bolans because there were more than 25 members assembled.

In fact, the Jamaican pastor, Uriah Taylor and a deacon were taken into police custody and could possibly be charged.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Gaston Browne declared a state of emergency and ordered a mandatory curfew which officially took effect Saturday night.

For the next two weeks, the nightly curfew will be in place from 8 pm until 6 am and no more than 25 people can be in any social gathering at any one time, including a church.

Police say when they arrived on the scene were met hostile members who tried to restrict the actions of the authority.

Attorney General, Steadroy Benjamin, said the police were sent to put an end to the illegal service and arrested one of the members who was also charged for the battery of a police officer. He is accused of pushing the officer and preventing him from carrying out his duties.

The attorney general stated that despite the advice given by the established churches last week Sunday, he is appalled that this gathering took place. Benjamin urged Antiguans and Barbudans to adhere to the guidelines set out by the government to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Police Public Relations Officer, Inspector Frankie Thomas, corroborated Benjamin’s account of the events and said that when lawmen arrived at the Bolans New Testament Church of God, they were obstructed during the execution of their duties.

He said the pastor will be charged.

Here’s the video that circulated on social media.

 





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