Roseau, Dominica – Police on Friday warned they would not tolerate any attempt by persons to block entry to polling stations during Tuesday’s snap general election with Attorney General Levi Peter saying that snap elections in the Caribbean are nothing new.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who led the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) to an 18-3 victory in the 2019 general elections, last month announced the date for the snap poll two years ahead of the constitutional deadline.
The opposition parties here have said they will boycott the elections and the Electoral Office said that following Nomination Day, at least six DLP candidates, including Prime Minister Skerrit, 50, who has been prime minister here since 2004, had won their seats uncontested.
The opposition parties have been calling on supporters to protest the polls and are also urging the international community not to recognise the government that emerges after Tuesday’s exercise.
Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Deputy Police Commissioner, Lincoln Corbette, said the law enforcement authorities have been put on alert for possible misconduct on the election day warning that persons arrested will face the full brunt of the law.
“It has come to the attention of the Dominica Police Force that members of the public will be engaging in criminal actions, namely the blockage and or obstruction of polling stations in Dominica on Tuesday, December 6, 2022 that is election day.
“For the benefit of the members of the public and caution those inciting unlawful action, this serves to inform that any blockage, obstruction or any other interference with the free passage and access to and from any polling station in Dominica constitutes an unlawful or interference with the constitutional and legal rights of the citizenry and it is a criminal offence”.
Corbette said on election day, apart from going to vote, there should be no assembling of people within 100 yards of a polling station and that on summary conviction anyone found guilty is liable to a fine of EC$400 (and or six months in jail.
“Those who are or intent on engaging in any unlawful actions are accordingly hereby warned that the Police Force will not tolerate any attempted blockage, obstruction or free access to an exit from any polling station,” he said adding that perpetrators would be met with “swift arrest and or remedial action and thereafter prosecution to the fullest of the law”.
Meanwhile, Peter, appearing on the stat-owned DBS radio, said that the holding snap elections in the Caribbean is nothing new and that ‘we have had many snap elections in the region.
“The Constitution provides that general elections have to be held within five years of the first sitting of the Parliament,” he said, noting the Head of State may act at any time to prorogue or dissolve Parliament “in accordance with advice of the Prime Minister.
“So that is to say, the Prime Minister can at any poi8t after a general election advise the President to dissolve Parliament and the President is obliged to do so,” Peter added. (CMC)