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Dominica: Sole Commissioner Submits Report on Electoral Reform

Source: Loop Caribbean
The Dominica government is in possession of a report on electoral reform undertaken by the former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Sir Dennis Byron.

Dennis had been appointed as the sole commissioner advancing the efforts towards electoral reform, a major issue in Dominica with the opposition parties, the United Workers Party (UWP) and the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) boycotting last December’s general election.

Dennis has written to both Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the UWP president, indicating that he has “completed my review of the electoral legislation, systems and processes in the Commonwealth of Dominica.

“This completes my assignment on the improvement of the electoral process in Dominica,” Dennis wrote in his June 12 letter apologising for not being able to meet the original deadline to have completed the exercise by April 2023.

Dennis said that the package submitted to the government was the draft House of Assembly (Elections) Bill 2023, the draft House of Assembly (Election) Regulations as well as the draft House of Assembly Election Petition Rules 2023 among other documents.

The former CCJ president said that while the presentation of the report may indicate the conclusion of his contribution to the endeavour of enhancing the electoral process, he remains willing to address any inquiries or provide any further support needed to bring the process to conclusion.

In his letter to Linton, which has been made public in the media, Dennis, said “I conducted my exercise independently, impartially and objectively, without fear of favour.

“Therefore, I trust that even if there are some recommendations to which you cannot subscribe you will appreciate that they were made in good faith and that the overall package should produce the best electoral system for Dominica which could hopefully set standards for other countries in our region to follow.”

Earlier this month, the prime minister had said he remained “frustrated” over the delay of the report examining electoral reform in Dominica,

“I want this report and to have the matter dealt with swiftly and certainly so that there will be no other issue that opposition elements in Dominica can use against myself and this government.

“…as we have indicated, it will be made available to the public, there will be a public consultation, and then we will take it to the Parliament,” he said then.

The UWP and the DFP had boycotted last December’s general election over the electoral reform issue, with the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) securing 19 of the 21 seats, with the remainder going to independent candidates.

The opposition parties had been calling for electoral reform, including a clean voters list and identification cards.