A New Era Within the Political Landscape in Dominica
It has been reported (first in the Sun Newspaper) that Mr. Lennox Linton will be the next political leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) for the next general election. Mr. Joseph Isaac (a man of the soil) could also be the possible replacement for the Honourable Norris Prevost. While it has not been confirmed, I have a strong feeling that the Prime Minister may also bring on-board new candidates for some of his constituencies as well. This is no doubt the dawn of a new era within the political landscape in Dominica.
I want to wish all our new candidates God's blessings and I pray that they will be able to turn our political landscape around. It's not going to be an easy task but with the right mindset, they can achieve their goals. In this hard economic time, I also want to congratulate the government of the Commonwealth of Dominica and the opposition as they work together to 'promote and protect the common good and to safeguard the rights of all citizens.'
In the Caribbean region, we need leaders who will put the people first. We need leaders who will perform their duties without fear or favor. We need leaders with integrity. We need a new style of politics in the region, a style of politics that is life-giving for all. In fact, there is no need for an MP to buy a person's vote if he/she performs. An MP's performance will definitely get him back into office or out of office. The electorate seems to be concerned about performance rather than party politics.
As a patriotic Dominican, I would encourage the electorate to avoid "mud-slinging." It's NOT about destroying another person's image. Over the years, our political campaigns in Dominica have not always been at the highest level. By seeking to destroy each other's character, (over against the real issues,) we bring down our level of politics. Young people are not impressed with politicians who "throw stones" at one another. In fact, when we display such a low style of politics, we will never encourage young people into the field of politics. We seem to be "emotionally charged" especially during political campaigns.
As these political parties prepare for another general election very soon, I would like to encourage them to stick to the "issues of governance." Look at the issues of performance, the issues of public participation, the issues of community building, the issues of job creation (etc). And if any of these political parties were to be successful at the next election, they are to tell the electorate how they will deliver on their promises. There are so many other important concerns in Dominica at this time.
Too many times political leaders speak about serving the people, serving the people, and as soon as they are elected into government, their attitude changes. According to Catholic Social Teaching, "The most effective form of government is one in which the people know that they themselves have a share because they have been given an opportunity to express their views on current issues and they know that attention will be given to what they say" (cf. PT 73).
Finally, I want to send this challenge out to all three political parties (The Labor Party, The United Worker Party, The Freedom Party): to encourage at least two Political Public Debates where the people of Dominica can hear their plans for the country. Political rallies are not the best means for educating the electorate simply because some leaders are "emotionally charged" on the platform. But these public debates will encourage public participation and will allow the electorate to make a more informed decision. These debates should also be carried live both on the radio and television/ internet.
In another article, I will explore why Political Public Debates are critical to authentic human development. In fact, this is not something new. We see these Political Public Debates all over the world in the field of politics. In fact, during the Tobago's elections earlier this year (THA – Tobago's House of Assembly), a Political Public Debate was organized where the three leaders were questioned on various issues of great importance within an open forum. This debate was very informative, with a sense of humor of course, and was also carried live. This is what we need in Dominica. We need critical thinkers. We need open public debates among our leaders on issues of governance or other relevant matters. We need a new style of politics.