St. Vincent Political Parties Comment on Dominica Snap Election

St Vincent and The Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has created history in the Caribbean Community leading the Unity Labour Party (ULP) to a fifth consecutive victory in Thursday's general election--and his shirt is color coordinated with the drapes!
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Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and Opposition Leader Dr. Godwin Friday are expressing different positions regarding the decision by Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to hold a snap general election on December 6, two years ahead of constitutional deadline.

Prime Minister Gonsalves says he believes the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) will return to office with no fewer than the 18 seats that it held in the last Parliament, while Friday has supported the decision by the opposition parties to boycott the poll because of electoral reform.

Dominicans will elect a new government two years ahead of the constitutional deadline after Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit led his DLP to a convincing 18-3 victory in the 2019 polls.

Skerrit, in announcing the date for the surprised snap election, said he wanted to re-set his administration to deal with the future socio-economic problems. Bu the polls are likely to be boycotted by the main opposition parties, including the United Workers Party (UWP) which lost in the 2019 poll and has been calling for electoral reform.

Gonsalves’ Unity Labour Party (ULP), which came to office in March 2001 and the DLP, which has been in office since 2000, are two of the longest serving parties currently in office in the Commonwealth Caribbean.

Gonsalves said while he did not want to comment on the snap election in the neighboring Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, he told radio listeners here “I read what the prime minister of Dominica says and within the context of Dominica, … he’s in the best position to make that judgment”.

Gonsalves, speaking on the state-owned NBC Radio, noted that Skerrit has said that he is seeking a fresh mandate because he wants to have some fresh infusions in this post-COVID period, where things have been very difficult.

“And he outlines all the difficulties, which was a very honest speech,” Gonsalves said, adding, “I read it carefully.

“He didn’t mince his words and he is going to the electorate saying, ‘Listen, I have some good people; some I have to change because I want to be able over the next five years, as a matter of urgency, to address some of these things more efficaciously,” Gonsalves said, noting that Skerrit had two more years in office before elections were constitutionally due.

“And the last time he went to the polls in 2019, you got 18 of the 21 seats with 59 points something percent of the vote, which is a fantastic performance.

“But he’s in the best place to make the assessment. I’m quite confident that the Dominican people will go along with his judgment. I’m sure that they’ll go along with his judgment because he has had an impressive record of achievement and he has grown in stature as a leader and in very difficult circumstances he’s steering the ship. Hasn’t been easy,” Gonsalves said.,

He said he doesn’t anticipate that Skerrit will get numbers less than what he got in 2019, “but he clearly wants to retire early some who were elected in 2019 and he probably feels that this is the best time to do it in all the circumstances. Well, he feels, not probably.”

Gonsalves said he is impressed with Skerrit as a leader, noting that he came to office “when he was a relatively young man and, first, he had to find his feet and so forth”.

Skerrit, 50, became prime minister in 2004 — four years after his election to Parliament — following the sudden death of Prime Minister Pierre Charles in January 2004.

Upon taking office on January 8, 2004, Skerrit, then 31, became the world’s youngest leader and when he won a fourth consecutive term in office in 2019, he became the first Dominican leader to do so.

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