THE POWER OF THE 4TH ESTATE -General Elections

DLP Political Leader, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit (left) UWP Political Leader, Lennox Linton

One of the issues emerging in this election cycle is the lack of information coming out of Dominica on the progress of the election campaign.

As a non- domicile Dominican myself, I rely on whatever news is available from local media as it appears on their on-line platforms. For me, this includes print media: The Chronicle and the Sun; Radio: DBS Radio, Kairi FM, and Q95 FM; Television; Marpin 2K4 and Government Information Service of Dominica, as well as online magazines: Dominica Vibes, Dominica News Online and Emonews.

Social media – the 5th estate

Social media networks such as Facebook and YouTube are also an outlet for numerous ad hoc interest groups, political figures, political parties; advocacy groups, commentators and individuals. Additionally, social media is also a platform where regional and international media agencies publish their content.

Social media is also a great opportunity for individuals of any persuasion to air their views and respond to issues and news in general.

Seeing I am not on the ground, there may be other outlets or periodicals that do not have an online footprint.

His Excellency Charles Savarin met media practitioners yesterday. Marpin 2K4’s Channel 5 News, reported that among other suggestions, he admonished journalists to take a “measured” approach to reporting during this General Election season so as not to inflame political passions. Savarin, also asked the media representatives to condemn political violence.

Media engagement

Political Leader United Workers Party (UWP) Lennox Linton on party promotional poster

Having said all of this, I am unaware of any non-partisan talk shows or commentary forums that discuss the prevailing political landscape, or offers any electoral information.

I know that in the past that there has been calls for a US-styled political Leader debates. But what is missing is a lot more general information. Such as analysis of the past 3 elections and voter percentages. Similarly, an introduction of the candidates from both sides of the current political divide as television and radio guests, or the subject of news paper columns would be informative and helpful.

Political Leader of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit on party promotional poster

Media hosts could design programs that feature party hopefuls; Vox pocs that interview the man in the street; in-depth interviews with outstanding members of the community. Another area that could be highlighted is the actual voting process. Why not invite representatives from the electoral commission to explain the process for first-time and long-time voters alike. Explain the dos and don’ts of what is expected of the electorate in the run-up to Polling Day, December 6th. A repeat of the location and returning officers of the polling stations would also be welcomes, I think.

Journalists should also not shy away from investigating the many issues that have surfaced and dogged the campaign thus far. For instance, is there, or was there, an application for an injunction to halt electoral reform? What about getting behind the allegations contained in the ‘Immunity for sale: Diplomatic passport trade’ documentary released yesterday by Al Jazeera? what about diaspora voting and Dominica’s Foreign and CARICOM Minister’s position in regard to the OAS intervention?

I know tradionally, nobody likes to work unconventional hours, but how about hitching a ride to cover any of the many political rallies. Can you prepare piece on a daily or weekly basis so as meet audience expectations?

There is really no end of subjects and topics that can be discussed. The Chief of Police, yesterday announced that he would not be granting permission for any political, campaign motorcades. Interview him, seek reactions from political leaders or candidates and the public as the police cheif said, they are alos road users. Compare previous election campaigns of 2004, 2009 and 2014. What is new? What are the party’s campaign issues? Why has one party not yet released its manifesto? Where are the pundits? Senior citizens with many decades of living in Dominica through the changing political landscape? And so on.

The popular vote

Here’s hoping that the Day Of Decision will be a peaceful experience. That Dominicans will be able to exercise their civic duty in peace and safety, and that the results will be accepted by all as free and fair, as well as, free from fear, and that when the curtains come down on this historic election cycle that the adversarial antics and sentiments be put aside so that the country can heal and learn from this period and that together we can continue to build Dominica in the image and likeness of the choosing of the Dominican electorate.

Dominicans go to the polls Friday December 6. Two parties: the incumbent, Dominica Labour Party (DLP) whose symbol is the Shoe and party colour red, and the United Workers Party ( UWP) whose symbol is the saw and party colour is blue, are both contesting all 21 seats. The Dominica Freedom Party announced that it has pulled out from the race. Meanwhile, People’s Party of Dominica (P-POD) was a no-show at the November 19 nominations. There are also no independent candidates in this election.

The 42 candidates contesting the twenty-one constituencies

Roseau Central – Melissa Skerrit (DLP) , Glenroy “SoSo” Cuffy (UWP)

Roseau North – Danny Lugay (UWP) , Joseph Isaac (DLP)

Roseau South – Chekirah Lockhart (DLP), Joshua Francis (UWP)

Roseau Valley – Ronald Charles (UWP), Irving McIntyre (DLP)

Grand Bay – Edward Registe (DLP), Nept Pacquette (UWP)

Scotshead – Samuel Christian (UWP), Denise Charles (DLP)

Petite Savanne – Kenneth Darroux (DLP), Rosana Emmanuel (UWP)

Mahaut – Felix Thomas (UWP), Rayburn Blackmoore(DLP)

St. Joseph – Monell Williams (UWP), Adis King (DLP)

Colihaut – Catherine Daniel (DLP), Nicholas George (UWP)

Salisbury – Hector John (UWP), Nicholson Esprit (DLP)

Portsmouth – Ian Douglas (DLP), Jefferson James (UWP)

Vielle Case – Clement Marcellin (UWP), Roosevelt Skerrit (DLP)

Paix Bouche – Rosalind Paul (DLP), Davis George (UWP)

Cottage – Marcus Romain (UWP), Reginald Austrie (DLP)

Wesley – Fidel Grant (DLP), Ezekiel Bazil (UWP)

Marigot – Lennox Linton (UWP), Gregory Riviere (DLP)

Kalinago – Cozier Federick (DLP), Anette Sanford (UWP)

Castle Bruce – Ernie Jno-Finn (UWP), Octavia Alfred (DLP)

Grand Fond – Greta Roberts (DLP), Pharo Cuffy (UWP)

Laplaine – Francisca Joseph (UWP), Kent Edwards (DLP)

Further reading (2019). Constituencies – Electoral Office. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].