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The Rule of Law and The Creation of Wealth for the masses

Dr. Denzil Douglas shares two lofty ideals that his in-coming government stands for

Beresford Mack speaks with Dr. Denzil Douglas who prepares to take back the Government of St. Kitts-Nevis

Dr. Denzil Douglas

In the spirit of expanding partnership with those in the diaspora and sharing good governance responsibility, the Political Leader of the NextGen St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party, Dr. Denzil Douglas outlined his leadership vision and governance strategy for the Federation.

Dr. Douglas sat down for an interview with award-winning freelance journalist Beresford Mack and gave these insights.

BM: Dr. Douglas, what are some of the things that you and your NextGen Labour team think are most important for an ordered society?

Dr. Douglas: My young and vibrant colleagues and I hold two goals and lofty ideas as sacred. First, the rule of law must be an essential ingredient in maintaining our democracy. When others have demonstrated a reckless disregard and disrespect for the dignity of the court, we respect the rule of law and the judiciary and take great pride in our long tradition of the fair administration of Justice.

Second, we believe that our in-coming government must create wealth through the enormous benefits we will be bringing to the good people of St. Kitts and Nevis on returning to government.

BM: What are some of the major projects that will create employment opportunities in construction and ignite sustained economic growth across all sectors of the economy starting in 2021?

Dr. Douglas: We are anxious to deliver a bridge between St. Kitts and Nevis, which will open big opportunities and create an economic zone at both ends. This project is designed to consolidate and expand our tourism industry especially with an emphasis in medical tourism.

We will also construct a highway from western Basseterre to the Whitegate Development area. This will bring us additional economic activity for the expansion of the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College campus in Nevis and the western campus in St. Kitts, thus offering our young people a first-class education foundation nearer to their homes.

To further improve our infrastructure, we will build a brand-new airport terminal with several jet bridges to increase the number of new airlines that we will woo to our lovely Federation.

BM: What is NextGen Labour’s vision for sports development?

Dr. Douglas: The Next Gen SKN incoming government is also anxious to begin the construction of a National Sports Academy, through which our young, highly talented and skillful men and women will be prepared to compete professionally in basketball, soccer, tennis, netball, golf, volleyball, swimming, track and field, and netball. They will also be prepared with the social graces, leadership skills, commitment to excellence and resilience, all-important skills and attributes that they will need as productive citizens in their adult lives.

BM: How will local stakeholders benefit from this new economic development vision?

Dr. Douglas: Our building and construction policy is geared towards cooperation with local businesses and international investors so that we provide a fair and transparent framework of conditions that bring solid but sustainable benefits to everyone. Therefore, we envision resuscitating the La Vallee Development Project while at the same time complete the construction of three boutique hotels at Kittitian Hill and building a state of the art Technical Training Institute. I want our people to keep abreast of the latest knowledge and techniques in their fields to perform beyond expectations.

BM: What about healthcare?

Dr. Douglas: The Next Gen SKN incoming government is already engaged in dialogue with several players in the global healthcare industry to build a state of the art hospital, a medical complex, upgrade community clinics and integrate various medical and nursing programs to the deliver the best education and cutting edge health care services to our people. We must be better able to cope with and minimize the impact of global outbreaks on our citizens.

BM: I know that you are a staunch integrationist. What role do you see for St. Kitts and Nevis as a regional player?

Dr. Douglas: I want St. Kitts and Nevis to play a vital role in shaping regional politics and economics. I will promote the formation of a CAPITAL MARKET as an important instrument to raise the finances to fund several of these major projects. My young, innovative and energetic team and I, envision our Federation working together with CARICOM and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States to confront global challenges and share equal responsibility for adapting to new priorities and challenges as they arise.

Beresford Mack is a strategic communications consultant, award-winning freelance journalist and social media marketing specialist. He has worked in the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, and the USA. He has won a Sony Radio award (which is described as the UK Radio Oscars) and a whilst working at London’s biggest Urban Radio Station Choice FM which has now been rebranded as Capital Xtra.

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UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

UK Caribbean Deportations to Go Ahead

St. Kitts-Nevis Observer

By snr-editor – February 10, 2020

Rishi Sunak

A senior minister has defended a plan to deport 50 people toJamaica despite widespread calls to halt the flight chartered by the Home Office.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak insisted today that those being forcibly removed had committed “very serious offences” and their deportations were “reasonable”.

It comes after more than 150 cross-party MPs and peers, including Jeremy Corbyn, wrote to Boris Johnson calling on him to stop tomorrow’s flight.

One man facing deportation is 30-year-old Reshawn Davis (pictured above).

He was convicted of robbery 10 years ago and served a two-month jail sentence for the offence.

Mr. Davis has lived in the UK since he was 11 and if deported tomorrow, would have to leave behind his British wife and daughter – he has said he is “terrified” at the thought of returning to Jamaica.

This is the second flight to Jamaica after the Windrush Scandal, when it emerged that dozens of people had been wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

In wake of the controversy, the government suspended charter flights as they could not guarantee that no wrongful deportations would take place.

The protest was organised by Nottingham East Labour MP Nadia Whittome, who warned that the government could repeat the mistakes of Windrush.

In the letter she said the deportation was intended to oust people who have been resident in the UK for decades and argued that deportations should be halted until a report into the Windrush controversy is released.

The MP said: “The fact is that many of the individuals in question have lived in the UK since they were children and at least 41 British children are now at risk of losing their fathers through this charter flight.

“The government risks repeating the mistakes of the Windrush scandal unless it cancels this flight and others like it until the Windrush Lessons Learned Review has been published and its recommendations implemented.”

But Mr Sunak said he believes the flight is “right” and the British public would expect foreign national offenders to be deported.

“What that plane is about is deporting foreign national criminals. Many of these people have committed crimes such as manslaughter, rape, other very serious offences,” he told Sky News.

Tajay Thompson came to the UK when he was five and has only visited Jamaica twice since

Another facing deportation to Jamaica is 23-year-old Tajay Thompson, who was convicted of a Class A drug offence as a teenager.

Mr. Thompson was brought to Britain as a five-year-old and lives with his mother and younger brother in south London, having only visited Jamaica twice on holidays since.

“I feel like I was born here. Jamaica is not my country,” he said.

“It’s not like I’m a rapist or a murderer, I’ve made a mistake when I was 17 and it’s now going to affect my whole life.”

Human Rights Appeal

An appeal has been renewed for Human Rights organisations worldwide to come to the aid of Caribbean immigrants who are the direct victims of the Windrush scandal.

Foreign Affairs Minister for Antigua and Barbuda EP Chet Greene echoed the call on Sunday on the Big Issues as the UK government gets ready to deport Caribbean nationals, some of whom arrived in the UK as children, and are parents of British children.

A flight, which is expected to depart the UK for Jamaica on Tuesday with approximately 60 deportees on board, is reportedly the second since the Windrush scandal erupted about two years ago.

“We are calling on all those rights organisations to come to the aid of the Caribbean people in the face of this wicked, very vindictive, very unlawful act on the part of the British government of deporting persons who have equity and stake in Britain,” Greene said.

The Windrush scandal erupted in 2018 when it came to light that some migrants from Commonwealth countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, who were encouraged to settle in the UK from the late 1940s to 1973, were being wrongly categorised as “illegal immigrants.”

News of the move sent shockwaves throughout the Caribbean and the rest of the Commonwealth, with many pundits raising alarm over the decision.

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Antigua and Barbuda stands with CARICOM Chair Mia Motley on US Invitation

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley, Chairman of CARICOM

Antigua and Barbuda says it is standing in solidarity with CARICOM Chair and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley on her position in not sending a representative to the announced meeting with US Secretary State Mike Pompeo in Jamaica on Tuesday.

Antigua and Barbuda’s E.P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “We are very much in support of, and identify with the sentiments expressed by the CARICOM Chair, PM Motley of Barbados. As a government, we stand in support of this position.”

PM Motley made her declaration over the weekend when she stated, “As chairman of CARICOM, it is impossible for me to agree that my Foreign Minister should attend a meeting to which members of CARICOM are not invited,” and suggested it was an attempt at divide and rule among CARICOM countries, “if some are invited and not all”.

E.P. Chet Greene, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Foreign Affairs

In a statement late on Monday, Antigua and Barbuda reiterates its stance on fostering stronger intraregional relations and common regional approaches to international relations.

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House approves measure limiting Trump’s authority to take further military action against Iran

President Trump addresses the nation Wednesday about his administration’s standoff with Iran. (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Karoun Demirjian 
Jan. 9, 2020

BREAKING: House approves measure limiting Trump’s authority to take further military action against Iran

The resolution was put forward by House Democrats amid continued fallout from President Trump’s order to kill a senior Iranian general. A similar resolution is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate as soon as next week.

(This breaking story will be updated. )

The House is poised to pass a war powers resolution ordering President Trump to withdraw forces engaged in hostilities with Iran, sending the administration a message of disapproval largely along party lines but one that, ultimately, is unlikely to restrain the administration’s military activities.

The resolution by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), which Democrats unveiled late Wednesday, instructs Trump “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military,” unless Congress has made a declaration of war or there is “an imminent armed attack upon the United States.” It comes a day after the administration’s senior national security officials briefed Congress on the intelligence that informed Trump’s order to kill a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani.

Cracks emerge among Republicans over Trump’s handling of Iran crisis

The House resolution is expected to gain the support of Democrats and possibly a handful of Republicans, despite protests from the broader GOP and its leaders that Congress has no basis to check the president for taking out a known terrorist, especially when the conflict with Iran appears to be de-escalating.

Speaking to reporters Thursday morning, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) argued that Trump’s order to kill Soleimani was not about “promoting peace, but an escalation” — even if the general, whom U.S. military officials have linked to hundreds of American military fatalities during the Iraq War, was a reprehensible figure.

House Democrats chose to state their disapproval through a type of resolution that, procedurally, cannot be sent to the president’s desk to attempt to force his hand. To do that, congressional Democrats will need to rally enough votes around a similar resolution from Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), which is expected to come up for a vote in the Senate as soon as next week. If that measure were to pass the Senate, it can then go to the House.

It is not yet clear that Kaine’s resolution will have the votes to pass. Even if the measure gets through both chambers of Congress, Trump would probably veto it.

Administration officials have insisted the president had legal authority to kill Soleimani, basing their argument on an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) that Congress passed in 2002 to facilitate the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the president’s inherent constitutional right to self-defense of American troops.

Missile strike on U.S. targets ‘did not intend to kill,’ says Iranian commander

But congressional Republicans and Democrats have broken over whether Trump’s operation was inspired and justified, or illegal and reckless, with the dispute coming down to whether Soleimani posed such an imminent threat to warrant going after him without the consent of Congress.

Only a handful of Republicans have publicly objected to the administration’s end-run around Congress and continued effort to withhold information about the operation. Thus far in the Senate, only Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have announced their intention to back a war powers resolution, doing so in heated fashion after emerging from Wednesday’s briefing — which Lee called “insulting” and “lame.”

“They were asked repeatedly what, if anything, would trigger the need for the administration to come back to Congress for a declaration of war or an authorization for use of military force. . . . They struggled to identify anything,” Lee told reporters Wednesday, visibly agitated. “They had to leave after 75 minutes while they’re in the process of telling us we need to be good little boys and girls, and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane. I think it’s unacceptable.”

Lee, Paul and several Democrats complained that the administration had been less than forthcoming with sharing the intelligence behind the administration’s decision to pursue the strike on Soleimani. On Thursday morning, Vice President Pence said on NBC News that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley could not share too much intelligence with Congress during Wednesday’s closed-door briefings because that would have risked divulging sources and methods.

Several Republicans defended Pence’s stance, such as Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.), who said Thursday that “this Congress leaks like the Titanic, and most of the time it’s for political reasons.”

 “That’s why many of these briefings are not sometimes as beneficial as they could be — it’s not the briefers’ fault. They’re scared it’s going to leak,” Kennedy continued, adding that in his opinion, Wednesday’s briefing “was very specific.”

Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) also argued that the administration had provided lawmakers all the information they needed.

“In terms of where there is an imminent threat, General Milley was compelling and chilling about what was going to happen and what had happened,” he said. “I think a third-grader could have believed there was an imminent threat coming from the man that we killed.”

Democrats, however, shared in Lee’s frustration that the administration was withholding information from Congress potentially vital to making a conclusion about whether the strike was justified.

“Accountability to Congress by the administration in matters of war and peace is a foundational principle of our Constitution,” Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) told reporters Thursday morning. “It is critical that the administration and Congress trust each other to act in the best interest of the United States, and that includes sharing classified intelligence because we’re all trying to make sure we’re keeping the American people safe.”

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United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization Undertakes Visiting Mission to Montserrat, 17-20 December

The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization, currently chaired by Keisha Aniya McGuire (Grenada), will undertake a visiting mission to Montserrat from 17 to 20 December, while also holding meetings in Antigua and Barbuda.

Formally known as the Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, the Special Committee is a subsidiary organ of the General Assembly devoted to decolonization and tasked with overseeing implementation of the Declaration.  In order to fulfill that mandate, and in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions on specific Territories, the Special Committee undertakes visiting missions to ascertain the situation of their respective peoples.

The visiting mission’s objective to gather first-hand information on the situation in the Territory, focusing on its political, economic, social and environmental development and challenges to achieve sustainable development, particularly the impacts of the volcanic eruptions since 1995.  The mission’s findings will be presented to the Special Committee in the form of a report that will be made available to the public.

Four members of the Special Committee will make up the visiting mission to Montserrat:  Grenada (Chair), Antigua and Barbuda, Indonesia and Sierra Leone.  Administered by the United Kingdom, Montserrat has been on the United Nations list of Non‑Self‑Governing Territories since 1946.

As of today, 17 Non‑Self‑Governing Territories remain under the Special Committee’s purview:  American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands (Malvinas)*, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands, United States Virgin Islands and Western Sahara.

More information about United Nations decolonization efforts can be found at

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NASSAU, Bahamas Dec. 11, (CMC) – Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands says that weeks after the passage of Hurricane Dorian, there are bodies that remain unclaimed in a refrigerated trailer on the island of Abaco.

“In the trailer in Abaco, a significant number of bodies I believe probably about 50 (have not been claimed). DNA samples have been taken and the expected time from DNA sampling until comparison and conclusion can be as long as six to nine months,” he said.

According to Sands, while the remains of a few storm victims have been to their families, the government might use an independent third party to act as an intermediary to enable undocumented migrants – who may be fearful – to identify the remains.

“Bear in mind that some people may be afraid to come forward if their immigration status is not ideal. This problem is not unique to The Bahamas and so (a consideration is) to have an independent third party perhaps act as an intermediary so that the process of identification can take place,” said Sands, who was speaking outside Cabinet on Tuesday.

He added that health officials would like to curtail the length of time the bodies are kept in the Abaco trailer.

“In Abaco…we’d like to limit the length of time. We have remains in New Providence that would have been here in refrigerated trailers for years. There is no absolute limit as to how long you can keep refrigerated remains. In this instance however at that facility to have a trailer sitting there for an indefinite time is not ideal and so what we would like to be able to do is to be very aggressive in terms of making it safe and easy for individuals to identify.”

Concerning a burial site for the remains for the unidentified remains of those killed by the hurricane, he said that not much progress has been made for the burial site.

Posted in Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Obituaries, Politics, Regional0 Comments

The electorate showed their expectations in the result

The electorate showed their expectations in the result

November 22, 2019

There aren’t many who think of the seriousness, or of the importance of the election of men and women who will represent and lead them in the affairs of governing them and their land.

But when one reads the following from one of a series of articles which have appeared in TMR over the past several months, again it would take those interested in the seriousness and the reality of the men and women of whom this refers to understand that a general election is indeed a serious thing.

The few lines read: “…if our “permanent government” – the senior civil service – is “not fit for purpose” (as former Governor Carriere said in an unguarded, frank moment) then we are going to be hampered every step of the way by lack of capacity, foot-dragging, outright incompetence, and even corruption. And if many candidates for election are cut from the same roll of cloth,[1] that will only multiply the problem.

“For elections to work, we need to have a choice of credible, competent, good-character candidates with sound policy proposals, and if policies are to be implemented, our senior civil service will need drastic reforms led by Cabinet. We will have to fix the DfID-FCO side of the problem, too.“

This part of the problem is why, over the past several years, months and weeks, here at TMR we have looked at the needed Charter of Good Governance and Development Partnership MoU with the UK; which have actually been on the table for several years but were obviously road-blocked. Such agreements and such Resolutions of our Assembly would give us tools to drain the murky waters so beloved of swamp-dwelling chaos-dragons . . . that’s how they can lurk in ambush.

A capacity-building component would help us build a new generation of policy and political leadership. The creation of a priority transformational programme with agreed “catalytic” infrastructure-building projects supported by designated expediters and sound PRINCE2-style governance systems would then move us beyond the stop, study, start, stop, restudy pattern. For sure, without a protected seaport, without an improved airport, without fibre optic cable digital access and without developed geothermal energy, we are a poor investment and growth prospect.

We would like to offer that although towards the end of the PDM government’s term in office the Legislature was divided 5-4 just as the incoming MCAP government will experience, it is in many ways not the same as that experienced by the former MCAP government of 2009-2014. The Reuben T Meade’s government had three newcomers to his government to the six members at the beginning but ended up with two newbies as this government begins with. This government has four experienced parliamentarians in opposition.

The expectations for this new MCAP team can be reflected in the outcome of the election particularly that during this campaign there were some very key issues that were barely mentioned if at all. Good knowledge of all of which will be very vital to any future success or progress that this struggling island could enjoy.

We hope to take the lead in bringing these seriously to the fore in a brand new and hopefully challenging way as the early months of this new Legislature’s reign.

[1] TMR:

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Dominica Labour Party wins general election

By Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Dec 7, CMC – The ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) increased its majority in the 21-member House of Assembly by two seats after it won Friday’s general election, according to the preliminary results released by the Electoral Commission on Saturday.

It said that the DLP, which won its fifth consecutive term in government, won 17 of the 21 seats while the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) saw its seat allocation declined to four from six in the previous legislature.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, 47, who also became the first head of government to win a fourth consecutive term in office, comfortably retained the Vielle Case seat, north of here, which he has been representing in Parliament since 2000.

Skerrit polled 1,105 votes to comfortably brush aside the UWP’s newcomer Clement Marcellin, who received 228 votes.

Skerrit’s wife, Melissa Popone Skerrit, now joins the wives of the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda and Jamaica, who have all successfully contested general elections for the first time.

She won the Roseau Central seat securing 1,056 votes as against 866 for the UWP’s Glenroy Cuffy.

The UWP held on to the Roseau North constituency, where Danny Lugay held off a challenge from former UWP member, Joseph Isaac, who following the 2014 general election switched to the DLP. But the party was not successful in retaining the Roseau South seat, where its former deputy leader, Joshua Francis was trounced by newcomer Shakira Lockhart by 2,214 to 1,915 votes.

Opposition Leader Lennox Linton, who retained the Marigot constituency, polled 728 votes to stave off a challenge from newcomer Gregory Reviere, a former national calypso monarch, who polled 423 votes.

The UWP had contested the election complaining of the need for electoral reform and in his broadcast to the nation soon after claiming victory, Prime Minister Skerrit said the issue will be among the first priorities of his new administration.

“He said that it is important to move beyond the legal and other controversies that marred the general election and begin the process of reform that satisfies the national interest.

“Having reflected on this issue, it is my intention to invite a renowned Caribbean jurist to lead a National Commission on Electoral Reform.

“The work of that Commission, added to all the previous consultancy and election reports from various international organisations, together with the decision of the Courts, will inform the shape of Dominica’s electoral reform,” Skerrit said.

He said public hearings will be held throughout the country and all Dominicans will be able to appear before the Commission and give their views.

“Provisions will be made for anonymous submissions as well as for an open discussion forum on social media sites,” he added.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Chairman, St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has sent a congratulatory message Skerrit on the election that had been monitored by several regional and international organisations, including CARICOM, the Organisation of American States and the Commonwealth.

Chastanet described the victory as “resounding,” adding “the people of Dominica demonstrated their confidence in the policies and leadership of you and your party by returning you for yet another term of office.

“The people have spoken and the results must be accepted in a manner that ensures peace and calm in the country. I look forward to working with the re-elected Government of Dominica in seeking to ensure the goal of a climate-resilient country and region is achieved as we continue to pursue our quest for sustainable development.”

Dominica Election Results

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DOMINICA-ELECTIONS-Roman Catholic Church condemns verbal attacks on Bishop and Cardinal

DOMINICA-ELECTIONS-Roman Catholic Church condemns verbal attacks on Bishop and Cardinal

By Peter Richards

ROSEAU, Dominica, Dec 4, CMC – The Roman Catholic Church Wednesday, condemned the verbal attack on Bishop Gabriel Malzaire and Cardinal Kelvin Felix even as supporters of the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) continued their fiery protest mainly in the northern section of Dominica ahead of Friday’s general election.

“We, the Catholic Clergy of the Diocese of Roseau consider it an act of disgrace and disrespect not only to head of the Catholic Church in Dominica but to the clergy and the lay faithful as well,” the Church said in a statement, condemning the verbal attack on the two religious officials, who were on their way to the airport.

Cardinal Kelvin Felix

“While we recognize the dissatisfaction and passion associated with the issue of electoral reform and political positions in general, we believe that there are more humane and civil methods of expressing concerns and resolving conflicts,” it said, adding that Bishop Malzaire and Cardinal Felix were “subjected to insults and embarrassing questions”.

The protesters have been calling for electoral reform including the issuance of picture identification cards, and a cleansing of the electoral lost and in the statement, the Roman Catholic Church said that

It had spoken on “numerous occasions” about electoral reform.

It recalled a statement made by Bishop Malzaire in his New Year’s Day homily in which he said “of concern to many here in Dominica, especially during the past days is the issue of electoral reform.

“It is a long-standing issue which is impacting and affecting our society.  It is imperative therefore that those responsible, move with some alacrity to see that all is put in place for the appearance of free and fair General Elections, which are due this year.  Brothers and sisters, we are duty-bound to do all in our power to maintain a just and peaceful society,” Bishop Malzire said then.

The statement said that more recently, the head of the Catholic Church made reference to the Code of Conduct prepared by the Dominica Christian Council and the Association of Evangelical Churches, reminding the population “our duty as clergy is to recognize that our basic obligation is to promote unity in our communities,” and “to refrain from saying or doing anything likely to be interpreted as partisan politics”.

Meanwhile, soldiers attached to the Barbados-based Regional Security System (RSS) have arrived here to assist in maintaining law and order.

But Thomas Letang, a member of the Electoral Reform Group here, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the presence of the RSS members would not solve the issue. Because they can’t be here forever.

“If people believe that the way you solve the problems in respective countries is by bringing guys in uniform to really get people scared that itself has to be revisited. What you want is to look at the cause of the problem and to address that problem.

“I am saying what is happening in Dominica now, if the government had listened to people and had done something about electoral reform there would have been no need to bring any regional security force here to do anything,” he said, taking also a swipe at the regional integration movement, CARICOM.

“I always say to myself what it is that these guys discuss when they meet at this table,” he said, noting that “while Dominicans were making noise for electoral reform, CARICOM said nothing,” he added.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who is seeking an unprecedented fourth consecutive term in office, has criticised the UWP and called on its leader, Lennox Linton, to publicly condemn the acts of violence that have so marred the campaign for the elections.

Skerrit is leading the Dominica Labour Party (DLP)  and he told party supporters on Tuesday night that the protests are part of the opposition strategy to disrupt the polls.

“They can try what they want, they can do what they want, they can jump high, they can jump low, there will be elections in Dominica on December 6.”

The United States in a statement on Wednesday said that the reports of political violence in Dominica in recent weeks “are incongruent with the history of stable parliamentary democracy in the Eastern Caribbean.

“Free, fair, and transparent elections are hallmarks of any good democracy and an indication of good governance and leadership.  Equally so, the conduct of peaceful campaigns, rallies, and demonstrations beforehand and the acceptance of the will of the people after a fair vote are intrinsic parts of democracy,” Washington said in a statement issued by its Embassy in Barbados.

The Electoral Commission said it is prepared for the elections on Friday and the Press and Public Education Officer, Elias Dupuis, told CMC that 74, 895 persons are eligible to cast ballots at the 255 polling stations across the country.

He dismissed reports that the Commission had been unable to cleanse the list as called for by the opposition parties saying “with regards to our laws, for any registered elector, it guarantees them the right remain registered until their name is deleted because they would have violated four specific provisions, one of which is the unfortunate case of death.

“Another significant one is the five year limit (in that) you have to be out of Dominica. I understand that much of the contention has been that particular five-year issue but as far as the Electoral Office is concerned we do have to respect the right of any duly registered voter whose name exists on the voters’ list on an election day to be given the right to cast their ballot.

“We are going to ensure that we keep to the law with regards to that and we want to be respectful of anyone’s right to cast their ballot to exercise their franchise,” he said, adding that the laws were created to enfranchise people and not necessarily to disenfranchise people”.

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CARICOM Special Rapporteur wants more access for Persons with Disabilities

CARICOM Special Rapporteur wants more access for Persons with Disabilities

by staff writer

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Dec 3, CMC – the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Rapporteur on Disability, Dr. Floyd Morris, Tuesday reiterated a call for access for Persons with Disabilities as the region joined the global community in observing International Day of Disabled Persons.

Morris, who is also the Director of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Centre for Disabilities, said: “if persons with disabilities are to be brought in the mainstream of Caribbean societies the various stakeholders must create greater access to all aspects of Caribbean life for these vulnerable individuals”.

In his message to mark the global event being observed under the theme “The future is accessible,” Morris cited public facilities, public transportation, educational institutions, health care facilities, community centers, sidewalks, theatres, sports complexes, workplaces and other such facilities that must be made accessible for persons with disabilities.

Meanwhile, a 2019 Report of a project to establish a Regional Disability Index, has indicated that while “it is evident that some work is being done to advance the disability agenda, it is not sufficient and strategic enough to radically transform the lives of persons with disabilities in the region”.

According to the Report, countries within the Region must ensure that their programme of work to realise the 2030 agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for example, include issues relating to persons with disabilities.

The report reiterated that all countries in the Caribbean need to enact legislation to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities as stipulated by the Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), (CRPD) and amplified in the Declaration of Petion Ville of 2013”.

With respect to legislation, the report indicates the scorecard to be a mixed one ranging from descriptions such as “some countries having done good work implementing legislative measure” to descriptions which included “fair” or “poor.”

The report noted that the 2013 Declaration of Petion Ville is an important roadmap that has been developed by policy-makers, technocrats and persons with disabilities in the Caribbean to drive the disability agenda. To this end, it called for its adoption and use by all countries to guide their implementation of programmes and policies for persons with disabilities.

According to the World Bank, disability is the result of the interaction between people with different levels of functioning and an environment that does not take these differences into account. In other words, people with physical, sensory or mental limitations are often disabled, not because of a diagnosable condition, but because they are denied access to education, labour markets, and public services.

It said exclusion leads to poverty and, in a vicious circle, poverty leads to more disability by increasing people’s vulnerability to malnutrition, disease, and unsafe living and working conditions.

Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that of the more than one billion persons with disabilities living in the world, more than 800 million or approximately 80 percent reside in developing countries.

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