Dominica’s Skerrit wins third term in landslide

The election results are in and the Dominica Labour Party (the party founded by Phyllis Allfrey and Chris Loblack in 1954) has won a third consecutive term in office. Preliminary results show that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit’s party won at least 16 of the 21 seats contested, four more than it had following the 2005 elections. The main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) won three seats while the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) which held office for three consecutive terms, from 1980 to 1995, lost in all contests.

In his victory speech, Skerrit said he was “grateful, but humbled” that citizens had put their confidence in his party for the third straight time. A celebration will be put on hold until January. “It being seven days to Christmas, I do not want for Dominica to remain divided. I want for us to close ranks and embrace the triumph of our democracy,” he said. “I therefore will be advising my party to suspend formal celebrations after tonight, until a designated period in the New Year, when I look forward to expressing our thanks and appreciation to the voters of Dominica, in grand and traditional style. It is my intention therefore, after consultation with the private sector, to declare a public holiday in the month of January, so that the country can truly celebrate and savor the achievement of our having conducted a peaceful and conclusive process of electing a new government.”

At the same time, he called on those who were unsuccessful not to be sore losers. “To those who wanted change and did not succeed, I say to you ‘the people have spoken!’ The will of the voters has been determined! Please be gracious in defeat and let us move on with the building of our nation,” Skerrit said. “Dominicans today voted for a return of the Dominica Labour Party to office. That is a reality that cannot be denied and is not worthy of challenge! It therefore behooves us all to accept the result, as the will and wish of the country, and to curtail partisan, abusive and empty rhetoric.”

Skerrit said he expects to name his new Cabinet  by Monday, December 28th.

The other parties who fielded candidates in the elections were the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and the Dominica Progressive Party (DPP). There were also six independents, including our good friend Sam Raphael, owner of the Jungla Bay Ecoltourist Resort, who has so graciously hosted out faculty and students during our study trips to Dominica.

Photo: Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales wave at the Alba summit in Cochabamba October 16, 2009. Reuters Photo.

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