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Editor’s note: This article was written by Wilbert Connor from

Many Dominicans will remember the Mamo Declaration of 1999/2000. The Late Dame then said that “the UWP should be removed at any cost” at the 2000 general election.

The machinations put in place resulted in the Dominica Labour Party and the Dominica Freedom Party forming a coalition as joint forces against the United Workers Party. The governance of the UWP was short-lived, and they were out on January 31st 2000!

It is generally agreed therefore that former DFP supporters and independent voters formed a significant portion for the total number of votes for the DLP in 2000 and 2005.

For a historical background let us go back to 1980. When the DFP won in 1980, there was no other direction Dominica could have gone but up! The country had suffered years of loss, its economy in dismay after the ravages of Hurricane David in 1979. Also, there was political turmoil that had to be overcome. The DFP rode highly at an opportune time in this small island state’s history.

In 1995, there was the culmination of another cyclical downturn in the political and economic life of the country and the UWP took charge. In 1980 it was natural and man-made disaster. In 1995 it was economic and to a lesser extent political. In 2000 it was evidently political. It was a kind of neo-colonial philosophy manifesting itself then. It seemed that the few who owned most in the country wanted to have their say, and they did through their financial contributions. But they still could not do it on their own.

The defunct DFP that had died in 1995 became forceful again, not from the front but from the back, not pulling but pushing. The DLP could not win the general election on its own. The term coalition became commonplace, likewise the expression marriage of convenience.
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As Dominicans looks towards new general elections in Dominica in 2010, there are many strategies that local political parties can adopt from the Obama presidential campaign. In fact the Dominica Freedom Party has already adopted one: the DFP said it intends to raise money via the internet. But that strategy many h ave limited success since only about ten percent of Dominicans now have access to the internet.

One other lesson we can learn from the Obama campaign it that polities do not always have to be nasty and can be based on the discussion of issues rather than the slinging of mud. Dominican politicians would benefit from emulating the graciousness that john McCain showed after he lost the elections.

Yes, Obama was tough on McCain and his connection to Bush but he did not delve in the gutter polities than the Republicans have developed into an art form. Is it too naive to expect Dominican politicians to adopt a new style to politics and grow out of the corrupt political culture that, unfortunately have characterized election campaigning in the past.

There is no doubt that Obama’s success has made a massive impact on the psyche of Dominicans, and with words like “Yes, we can” and “Change we can believe in” echoing through everyone minds, we may be advised to seriously consider the things we need to change if we are interested in building a secure future for Dominica.

If Dominican politicians are to embrace the example of the Republicans and Democrats, there is one issue that has to be settled. That is electoral reform. Elections must not only be free and fair but must be perceived to be free and fair.

Finally, Dominicans have to change their general attitude to work. It’s obvious that unless there is a great improvement in production and productivity in all sectors, there will not be any positive changes in the level of employment, and Dominica’s brains and brawn will continue to migrate. There are just a few of the changes we should believe in as an island nation.

What are some other changes you think Dominicans on a whole should believe in. let’s hear them in the comments.

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Your Dominica morning news roundup for Wednesday October 1st 2008:

A young man named Jerry Luke took his own life yesterday in his prison cell after being convicted of rape charges and getting a prison term sentence of five years. According to reports Luke hung himself using the string that he wore around his waist.

We allow prisoners to enter the cell wearing any material that could be used in a suicidal attempt …Wow!

Yesterday residents of Coulibistrie stood up against a mining company in order to stop operations. Villagers claim that they are fed up with the quarry industry, and the proximity of the quarry to the village poses serious threat to their health. Minister for Mining Reginald Austrie told the villagers that a Mining License was not granted to the US Company.

Meanwhile, the Physical Planning Division has confirmed granting a permit to US based company Agpit to establish a quarry at Coulibistrie.

Why would a company start quarry work if a Mining License was not granted? Is it just me – but I smell a rat.

Senior Council Anthony Astaphan is calling for the resignation of a Patricia Englis on the Integrity in Public Office (IPO) committee for what he says is conflict of interest. A few days ago, Judith Pestina was elected the new leader of Dominica Freedom Party. Astaphan says IPO member Patricia Englis is the sister of the new Freedom Party Leader Judith Pestina and that could undermine the work of the IPO committee.

Who with no sin – cast the first stone…that’s all I’m saying on this matter.

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