A possible act of provocation
According to International law an act of provocation can be defined and prosecuted as the act itself. One of the universal and prevailing definitions of provocation is: conduct by which one induces another to do a particular deed; the act of inducing rage, anger, or resentment in another person that may cause that person to engage in an illegal act.
So after Tuesday night Labour Party meeting in the western coastal community of St. Joseph legal scholars and ordinary Dominicans have one major question on an edict that was issued by the PM during the Carnival season where criminals often find the opportunity to do harm.
The Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit said to his supporters at that large public gathering that they should call leaders and members of the opposition party traitors. Was that illegal and should he be arrested or at least visited by the police and given a summon to appear in court?
The Prime Minister told the multitudes who were dressed in the red that he views the UWP leadership as traitors to Dominica and they are selling this country. He is of the opinion that these actions amount to treason.
Mr. Skerrit went on to say, "I view them (opposition members) as traitors and I want you to do the same as well. When you see them on the streets, in the supermarket, at a funeral, on a plane or even in their cars, shout out to every single one of them – Traitor!
"What do you call them? Traitor! When you see (Opposition Leader) Lennox Linton, what do you call him?' Crowd answers- 'Traitor!' When you see (economist and UWP candidate for Grand Fond) Thomson Fontaine, what do you call him? Traitor! When you see (UWP candidate for St. Joseph) Monelle Williams, what do you call her? Traitor ….Every single one of them who join with others to tear down and destroy the name of Dominica, must be called out for what they are –Traitors."
No matter where one stands in the tense and stressful political divide in Dominica today, this statement by a sitting PM should be condemned.
But let us examine why Skerrit may have made these damming and vexing remarks which he might be remembered as one of the hallmarks of his Prime ministership. Some contend that Skerrit's stress factor is probably at an all-time high and that he must be feeling 'the heat' causing him to not think or act in a coherent manner.
Others content that this is just Skerrit's style of behaviour. When the pressure is on he says provocative and insulting things and issues decrees as a diversionary strategy to divert attention and focus from the current issue and problems.
But observers think that some of the reasons why Skerrit might be have issued his St. Joe edict are because he desperately wants to divert attention from the these issues: He might be facing some serious international legal troubles as a result of alleged high profile recent international scandals; the Dominican economy is heading for a free fall crash with no jobs as was promised during the recent election campaign; these who are close to Skerrit are probably not offering sound legal counsel and commonsense advice and if they are, he is not buying them.
Finally, it would seem that the opposition hard press continuous and coordinated criticisms and challenges are getting to him and breaking down his defenses.
But one must ask why the deafening silence from the church hierarchy, the other ecumenical and religious leaders and Biblical scholars on that issue? Whatever the case may be, Skerrit's St. Joe' declaration and decree should concern and give every Dominican a cause to ponder and reflect for we have possibly entered another zone and reality.
But most rational thinking Dominicans are also confident that the people who love Dominica and support Skerrit detest that meaning and message that were uttered in St. Joe on Tuesday night by current the Prime Minister of Dominica.