AS the results of the Dominica elections rolled in ,a sea of red plastered the 291 sq. miles of the Dominica landscape. The big question however, remains, how was that possible after the current Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt had already served three terms in office? One may pose the assumption that the UWP were simply no match for the heavy artillery of the DLP or Prime Minister Roosevelt Skeritt who was simply too charismatic a Politician. A fair assumption is, Roosevelt Skeritt an Ex-school teacher is indeed a strong and vibrant leader but the contributions from both Venezuela and China over the last several years by way of infrastructure and campaigning assistance cannot be disregarded.
The DLP purchased and occupied every billboard on the island; thousands of pieces of election paraphernalia were available from mainland China and the shortage of donations from these areas simply did not exist. On the other hand, the UWP struggled with their finances in light of the time factor running up to election time. Despite all these challenges, the UWP were able to capture six seats and lost the seventh seat by just two votes. For the UWP to have reached this level in just eighteen months speaks volumes and despite Mr. Skeritt’s command, it will no longer be plain sailing in parliament without ongoing obstacles.
On the slippery side of democracy, Mr. Skeritt will in effect be answerable to the serious contributors who were undoubtedly over generous for the last ten years and fortunately or unfortunately, the price of oil per barrel which has dropped some 35% will certainly have a negative impact on the largesse which originally transpired. This scenario returns to what has been echoed before and that is, the necessity to offer and create sustainable jobs and not what has happened in Dominica over the last ten years where thousands have migrated, leaving the island with a paltry population of some 70,000. International agencies and nations always demand transparency or loyalty or both and Grenada is a perfect example when the island fell short of its obligations to Taiwan. St. Lucia experienced a similar situation when Taiwan was permitted to develop ambassadorial relations.
Finally, as Mr. Skeritt settles down for his new five year term of office, he needs to seriously address the EC $1 billion owed to Venezuela for petrol supplied which he has not been able to adequately address, especially as the Dominican Republic which is similarly indebted to Venezuela for oil supplies has recently entered into an agreement with a large US broker firm to buy off their obligations at a reduced rate, thereby, permitting Uncle Sam to indirectly thrash out this dispute via expensive litigation channels.