Dominica: protestas en reclamo de una reforma electoral son reprimidas por la policía y generan acusaciones a líderes políticos

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Líder de la oposición en Dominica responsabiliza a la Policía de incidentes

El líder del opositor Partido Unificado de los Trabajadores (UWP, en inglés) de Dominica, Lennox Linton, responsabilizó este miércoles a la Policía local de los incidentes registrados en el pequeño territorio caribeño la noche del pasado lunes.

Linton se refería así al choque entre la fuerzas del orden y cerca de 200 manifestantes que protestaban para exigir una reforma electoral que incluya la introducción de tarjetas de identificación para votar y la actualización del registro electoral, entre otras medidas.

Linton, en conferencia de prensa, respondió además a las declaraciones del primer ministro y líder del Partido de la Libertad de Dominica (DFP), Roosevelt Skerrit, quien durante un discurso a la nación el martes culpó al UWP de organizar las protestas que tuvieron lugar en la ciudad de Roseau.

Las imágenes de los incidentes que circulan por las redes sociales mostraban a manifestantes bloqueando carreteras, quemando basura y destrozando mobiliario urbano.

Las protestas provocaron un enfrentamiento entre la Policía y manifestantes cuando los miembros de las fuerzas del orden trataban de retirar las barricadas.

Linton sostuvo que el UWP no dirigió ninguna acción de protesta y que los incidentes del lunes por la noche en Roseau fueron responsabilidad de la Policía.

El líder del UWP aseguró que los manifestantes protestaron para exigir elecciones libres y justas como eje del sistema democrático de Dominica.

‘Quiero aclarar que el incidente de la noche del 18 de noviembre fue instigado por miembros de la Policía’, sostuvo.

Linton indicó que el uso de gases lacrimógenos contra personas que sólo portaban pancartas fue un acto de violencia policial, además de denunciar que Skerrit violó su cargo, el cual juró servir.

‘El señor Skerrit ha atacado violentamente el derecho del pueblo a tener elecciones libres y justas, además de lacerar implacablemente la Constitución y el buen gobierno en nuestra nación’, dijo Linton.

Señaló que el UWP apoya firmemente las protestas del pueblo de Dominica en defensa de sus derechos y de la reforma electoral.

Más de 200 personas se enfrentaron a la Policía la noche del lunes en Roseau, lo que provocó la respuesta de las fuerzas del orden con gases lacrimógenos.

La antigua colonia europea, con una población cercana a los 75.000 habitantes, celebra elecciones generales el próximo 6 de diciembre.

El opositor UWP ha estado presionando al partido gobernante para que promulgue reformas en el sistema electoral, en concreto a través de la introducción de tarjetas de identificación para votar y la actualización del registro electoral.

El comisionado de la Policía de Dominica, Richmond Valentine, informó que más de 200 manifestantes se enfrentaron contra agentes del orden cuando intentaban llegar hasta la residencia del presidente, Charles Savarin, el lunes por la noche para pedir reformas.

Los incidentes se saldaron sin muertes ni heridos graves, según el parte policial.

En un discurso televisado el martes, Skerrit dijo que la protesta significa la intromisión de la violencia en la campaña electoral ‘de una manera innecesaria e improductiva’.

Valentine dijo que los manifestantes querían llevar sus protestas al presidente para defender un control riguroso de los registros de votantes y la prohibición de que los ciudadanos expatriados pudieran votar en más de una ocasión.

El DFP controla 15 de los 21 escaños en el Parlamento del territorio caribeño.

Una delegación conjunta de la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom), la Mancomunidad Británica de Naciones y la Secretaría General de la Organización de los Estados Americanos visitó el pasado agosto Dominica para interesarse por la reforma electoral de Dominica.

Diario Libre


Linton urges RSS member governments to stay away from Dominica for general election

Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, has issued a call to regional governments who are part of the Regional Security System (RSS) stay away from the situation in Dominica and allow locals to deal with the matter.

There are reports, that given the increased protest action in Dominica leading up the December 6, 2019 general elections, that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit may have asked the RSS for help.

“The next few days and weeks are going to be very interesting. We expect the international community to continue keeping its eyes of Dominica. We are also asking the governments of CARICOM, to refrain from sending members of the Regional Security System (RSS) to Dominica to help the local police to brutalize citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica simply expressing their democratic right to protest for [their] rights,” Linton said.

He also called on the international community to pay attention to what is happening in Dominica.

“You have one man and a small group of people fighting against the right of the people to “free and fair elections.”We have made our positions known to the international community and we are receiving favourable feedbacks from the friends of Dominica around the globe,” he stated.

The Regional Security System was created in 1982 to counter threats to the stability of the region in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On 29 October four members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) namely, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Barbados to provide for “mutual assistance on request”. The signatories agreed to prepare contingency plans and assist one another, on request, in national emergencies, prevention of smuggling, search and rescue, immigration control, fishery protection, customs and excise control, maritime policing duties, protection of off-shore installations, pollution control, national and other disasters and threats to national security. St. Kitts & Nevis joined following independence in 1983, and Grenada followed two years later after Operation Urgent Fury, a combined U.S. and RSS invasion of the country. The MOU was updated in 1992 and the system acquired juridical status on 5 March 1996 under the Treaty which was signed at St. Georges Grenada.

The RSS initially started as a U.S. instrument to combat the spread of Communism in the Caribbean region. As of 2001, the RSS further cooperates with the CARICOM Regional Task Force on Crime and Security (CRTFCS).

Dominica News


Turmoil in Dominica as protesters and police clash

There was turmoil in Roseau, Dominica on Monday night as police clash with protesters who have been calling for electoral reform on the island.

The protesters have been gathering peacefully for days now near the official residence of President Charles Savarin, saying they want a meeting with him on the matter. Some even slept in the area but were kept at bay by police barricades.

It is unknown what was the tipping point which led to the unrest, however videos began circulating on social media of groups of people in Roseau burning debris, uprooting plants, breaking bottles and spreading garbage on the streets. Explosions were heard, which people said was the result of gunfire.

Near the presidential house itself, the barricade was taken down by protesters as they clashed with the police.

The police responded with a volley of tear gas.

The protesters dispersed but the country remains on edge. Many Dominicans have taken to social media, wondering what is going to happen next.

Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, is expected to address the nation at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.

Electoral reform

Recently Skerrit announced that general election will be held in Dominica on December 6, 2019.

However, the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) and several groups on the island believe the polls will not be fair without electoral reform.

They have been calling on the Skerrit-led Dominica Labour Party (DLP) administration to clean up the voters’ list, issue voter identification cards, regulate campaign finance and grant equal access to state media resources to all political parties.

To compound the situation, a Commonwealth Observer Mission to Dominica for the 2014 general election stated, “the election was not necessarily fair, due to: the lack of balance, and in some cases lack of professionalism of the media; the absence of campaign finance regulations and the resultant lack of transparency on financing, coupled with the exponentially increased expense associated with campaigning”.

The Observer Mission proposed a laundry list of recommendations, among them a house to house re-verification exercise of voters.

However, the government said it was unable to accept such a recommendation saying it is “unworkable and if implemented will cause confusion and disruption contrary to best practice and importantly will not result in the required updating of the list”.

“It will not result in the mandatory use of the photo ID and will not be properly updated and cleansed. The recommendation of the house to house is not supported by Dominica’s laws and even if it was, it could not properly update or cleanse the voters’ list as proposed,” Attorney General Levi Peter said.

St. Lucía ONLINE


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