New Year Message of the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Fellow Citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Nature Island of the World, at home and abroad. As the sun sets on the challenging year of 2022 and rises to new hope for 2023, I find it appropriate to deliver this message to you in my capacity as the parliamentary representative for the Salisbury Constituency and the Leader of the Opposition in the parliament of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

As you are aware, on Nomination Day, November 18th, 2023, I presented myself as an independent candidate for the Salisbury Constituency for the sole purpose of preventing the Commonwealth of Dominica from falling into a one-party state. On December 6th, 2022, the people of the Salisbury constituency heeded my call and elected me as their Parliamentary Representative.

In consultation with Honourable Anthony Charles, the Parliamentary Representative for the Marigot constituency, we decided that the office of the Leader of the Opposition will be rotated and that I will take up the position for the first 18 months. Honourable Charles and I will collaborate to bring effective representation to the Dominica parliament on the behalf of ALL Dominicans.

Now that Dominicans have endured another general election without electoral reform and  the Christmas 2022 Gas Disaster and in spite of all the pain and suffering, you managed to salvage some type of enjoyment for the celebration of the birth of our Loving Saviour, it is time for Dominicans to reflect and seriously consider whether what exists for our governance is the best the nation deserves.

Never in the history of the Commonwealth of Dominica has a single action of its government  inflicted such devastating pain and suffering on its citizens both at home and abroad. The government of Dominica created a national crisis for its citizens that is unprecedented even in failed states.

For the first time in Dominica’s history all its citizens are affected by a political, economic, social, moral, cultural crisis created by a high level of  incompetence in government which does not appear to have the intellectual capacity to resolve and instead of seeking the necessary assistance they embarked on a mission of blatant lies and to intentionally mislead the population.

The Dominican people deserves the truth and nothing but the truth. All Dominicans grow up with the common understanding that the truth shall set you free and this moral principle has been part of our moral fabric from time immemorial until in recent years when the Government introduced lying as part of its national policy as witnessed in the recent Elections where all promises for electoral reform were disregarded and subsequent statements made by the Prime Minister and other government officials with respect to the gas crisis.

The Dominican people were told that sea swells created the problem, the tanker could not dock, and a plethora of lies which should not be repeated to avoid disseminating false information to a gullible population who appears excessively willing to find excuses for an abusive government.

CAUSE

The root of the present crisis is the refusal of the Government of Dominica to negotiate with one of the main suppliers of petroleum products to the island, Rubis, and the  Government’s apparent intention to take over the Rubis facilities to hand over to its enablers. The people of Dominica must recall that Petro Caribe was established to receive petroleum products from Venezuela to be distributed to the population at a lower cost and the government had access of up to 60% of the funds. The Petro Caribe deal fell apart, they no longer import products from Venezuela and all their products are imported from West Indies Oil in competition with the other petroleum importers such as Rubis.

It is understood that Rubis has the storage capacity of up to 52% of the gasoline imported into Dominica and as a result of their discontinuation of operations in the Commonwealth of Dominica, because the government refused to negotiate with them, Dominica no longer has the storage capacity to supply products to the Dominican consumers. The ships which bring in the fuel are now required to bring in the same amount of fuel more frequently to meet the demand but anyone who has a basic knowledge of international trade should know that ships are not going to supply Dominica with the same amount of fuel with increased shipments. Therefore, the Dominica fuel crisis is expected to become a recurring experience every two or three months.

EFFECTS

The effects of the government’s decision are numerous and quite visible. Every man, woman, child and even the unborn are suffering the consequences of the actions of the government. Every sector of the economy has been severely affected and the private sector, particularly small businesses will experience considerable financial loss. Christmas 2022 will go down in the annals of history as the worst Dominican children has ever experienced. The effects of this  disaster are definitely more devastating on the minds of the Dominican people than all the natural disasters experienced by the island. Natural disasters attract international sympathy and support, but this  government disaster has only attracted international ridicule, humiliation and the Nature Island has now become the laughingstock of the Caribbean and the rest of the world. Images of Dominicans in a gas crisis have people wondering what on earth is going on when there is no problem with the global supply chain of fuel.

Given the situation at hand and the government’s inability and unwillingness to admit their mistakes, take responsibility for their action and have the matter resolved with alacrity, the people of Dominica, must now make a choice of continuing to support the further deterioration of the Commonwealth of Dominica or to rescue the nation from an impending disaster.

CONSEQUENCES

No real Country can survive economically from what the Commonwealth of Dominica is presently experiencing. Only in dictatorships do governments survive such situations and it is safe to say that it is unimaginable that any government would survive such a self-inflicted crisis without paying the ultimate price, even within the OECS.

There is no doubt that the actions of the government of Dominica are tantamount to criminal abuse of its citizens and there must be consequences for such callous disregard for the right of the Dominican citizenry to enjoy life without suffering the pain of the government’s action.

SOLUTION

The private sector and civil society must immediately come together to provide tangible alternatives to the governance of Dominica.

A mechanism must be put in place to review the existing petroleum arrangements to allow investors in the industry reasonable returns on their investments.

Under no circumstances should the government of Dominica be allowed to take over or nationalize the facilities of Rubis.

An independent commission must be established to immediately start negotiations with Rubis with the possibility for a joint venture or persuading Rubis to reopen their operations.

All Dominican citizens, private sector and other entities who have suffered from the Government inflicted crisis must calculate their losses whether financial, mental, psychological or otherwise to present a bill to the government of Dominica for compensation or be prepared to file a class action suit against the government of Dominica and to hold the Prime Minister and his entire cabinet of Ministers personally and collectively responsible for the pain and suffering of the Dominican people.

The Commonwealth of Dominica belongs to its citizens and not a selected group of politicians who only have a mandate of 15,114 voters from the last Election. They must publicly apologize to the nation for the inconvenience, shame and disgrace they have brought to our Nature Isle at a time when the population should be reflecting on the blessings of the past year, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour and preparing for the hope of the new year. Instead, Dominicans are in a state of anger, disbelief and do not have time to concentrate on the goodness of the Most High.

This gas crisis is a product of lack of electoral reform, because with proper electoral mechanisms in place this  government would never have had the opportunity to abuse its citizens in this manner.

Fellow Dominicans, I have accepted the responsibility to be the Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Dominica for the next 18 months and I intend to remain faithful to the sacred oath that I have taken.

The constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica makes provision for the Leader of the Opposition to hold the government accountable to the People of the Commonwealth of Dominica and I intend to do this without fear,  favour or ill will.

Electoral Reform will be top priority and I take the opportunity to demand that the Electoral Commission be allowed to perform its constitutional duties without any political interference.

Fellow Dominicans, I appeal to everyone of you, to put aside your party political differences and unite to rescue the Commonwealth of Dominica from all the ills which permeate our beautiful island. I look forward for the cooperation of all Dominicans for assistance in holding the government accountable for the governance of the nation.

May the Good Lord pour his blessings on the Nation as we step into the unchartered waters of 2023.

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