The Opposition & a Coalition of the Willing
You've probably heard by now that PM Skerrit's attorney said that if he loses the citizenship case general elections will be called. I am not sure who elected this dude and who gave him permission and authority to make such a public statement on this constitutional matter. Is it because he is responsible for the beleaguered Skerrit 'occupation' the PM's office after he (Skerrit) has been in all sorts of legal troubles? Or is it a class thing where he feels he can do and say whatever he wants because he belongs to the affluent merchant class compared to Skerrit who hails (like this writer) from the Dominican hills? Either way, this dude carries himself like he is the Baron (overlord) of Roseau. Would this lawyer dude act in this manner in a Douglas or Dame Charles Administration?
In any event, the realistic formula for an opposition victory in the next elections is via a coalition of the willing. Media reports indicate that the UWP can currently only contest 12 seats out of the 21. If that is the case, it is causing heartburn for the legions of well wishes that are working in their own ways to change the current dynamics in Dominica and get a new sense of order. It is a tall order for opposition parties to win elections and much easier for incumbents to lose. Given a PM who does not respect the constitution and the absence of much needed electoral reforms, this government will do anything and everything necessary to hold on to power.
So how can the opposition defeat this well entrenched machinery? By forming an all-hands-on-deck grass root coalition of the willing and organizing the disaffected youth and others in a systemic way. I would borrow a page from the 80's very successful Young Freedom Movement (YFM) which Skerrit came from and use the power of the internet and social media to mobilize the youth. The government is vulnerable due to high unemployment, the economy and governance issues. A short analysis of the last elections indicated that DLP can be beaten. The bulk of its votes came from six constituencies. This margin included Skerrit's constituency of Vieille case, the Labour strong holds of the late PMs Douglas-Portsmouth and Pierre Charles' Grand Bay in the south. The other DLP land slide victories were in Cottage, Paix Bouche and Ti (Petite) Savanne.
This means that the other 15 seats can be taken by a well organized coalition of the willing. The coalition can easily recapture Castle Bruce, La Plaine and Grand Fond in the' Au Vent' region. At least two of the four Roseau seats (North, South, Central and Valley) can be taken. The results of the last election showed that in Roseau North, DLP received 1,655 votes to UWPs 1,538 and DFP 95. In Roseau Central, the votes UWP won by less than 5 votes with DFP getting 109 votes. If the opposition can built on the current geothermal controversy in the Valley it can set up a very interesting political scenario. But I would not count on it because the Valley is too much of a strategic seat for the DLP to let it go. Expect boat loads of cash to flow like coconut water by the DLP into the valley.
The three coastal constituencies which hug the Caribbean Sea in the can be taken with hard work, focus and organization. Wesley should fall to the coalition. I would not bet my mortgage on the Carib Territory. To win Pt. Michel/Soufriere, the Diaspora wing of the coalition will have to counter Skerrit's and the Dominica Mission at the UN 'vep' for vote' scheme - the massive free airlift excursion of overseas Dominicans during the last elections.
So what are the chances that the United workers Party and the Dominica Freedom Party will form a coalition and take back Dominica? When and if they do, they may consider adopting a new name such as: 'Dominica United Party'. They may also choose to select a highly qualified, grassroots and vibrant leader who is a consensus builder. That decisive and ethical leader must have in his/her DNA the ability to work, collaborate with and respect all Dominicans whether they wear red, blue, green and white political colours. In this coalition paradigm, the diaspora and international equation must be factored in. Given the sharp and divided tribal political party lines, if the opposition is able and willing to form a coalition to contest the next elections, their chances of winning should be very good. If not, it might be another long election cycle in the wilderness and possibly the disappearance of at least one of the two opposition parties.