Dominica opposition party says election was rigged

Dominica opposition leader Lennox Linton

ROSEAU, Dominica –Leader of the main opposition United Workers Party, Lennox Linton, complaining that the December 6 general elections were “rigged”, says his party will not recognise the results of the polls and called for fresh elections in Dominica.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit was sworn in to office last Saturday for a fourth consecutive term, hours after he led his ruling Dominica Labour Party to a sweeping 18-3 victory in the general election last Friday.

In a Facebook post address to supporters, Linton, who was one of the three successful workers party candidates, said even though the party had taken its concerns to regional and international election observer teams monitoring the polls, nothing had been done to ensure a free and fair election in Dominica.

He accused the labour party of charting flights to bring home Dominicans to vote in the election.

“One of the things we pointed out was that the biggest threat to a fair election in Dominica was the lack of electoral reform coupled with the overseas-based Dominicans to come in to vote in the elections.

“We said to the missions you have the opportunity now to observe that for yourself. In the days before the election, the people will be coming in in large numbers by charter flights, by charter ferry services into Dominica to influence the results.”

He said he informed the observers that “it must fall within your remit to look at it, to examine it…to understand what is going on and to put into perspective its impacts on free and fair elections in Dominica.”

Linton said he could not believe that the observer teams were still able to indicate that the elections “were free and fair when they knew about these challenges.

“We are saying to the people of Dominica, we need now to demand fresh elections because as far as we are concerned this illegitimate result renders the elections null and void and renders the government null and void.

“We will not be going to recognise this government. That’s where we stand. We in the United Workers Party consider that the three seats that we hold were properly won because they had nothing to do with bribing or bringing in any overseas votes”.

Soon after he won the general election, Skerrit said he would extend an invitation to Linton to participate in the future development of the island, a statement he repeated after he was sworn in to office.

Among the observer teams that monitored the poll was one from the Organization of American States (OAS) headed by former Bahamas prime minister Hubert Ingraham.

The Dominica government had previously not extended an invitation to the OAS after claiming that the hemispheric body has not being fair in its treatment of the island.

In its eight-page preliminary report on the elections, the OAS Observer team joined those from the Commonwealth and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in declaring that the polls were free and fair and reflected the will of the Dominican voter.