UWP marches for free and fair elections
The United Workers Party (UWP) marched for free and fair elections on a wet and dreary Saturday afternoon. They'll march again, they say.
"The struggle continues," said Ron Green, the party's candidate for the Laplaine constituency, speaking at the end of the march as the sun set with a half-smile of orange amidst dark clouds.
"Let's go forward," Green added.
Forward they go, the UWP supporters and Dominica Labour Party (DLP) voters as well, to the election set for 8 December 2014, an election that the UWP says it is taking seriously and it will win.
"I am fifty plus and I can tell you that this is the most important election in the history of Dominica," said Danny Lugay, the UWP candidate for the Roseau North constituency, who, incidentally will appear in court tomorrow, Monday, to answer politically motivated charges because he said he could possibly injure people who were frustrating the electoral reform process.
"I don't care how they try to cut me down, I have the Almighty smiling down on me," he said at the rally, apparently believing the incident will generate "more votes for Lugay", a slogan the UWP adopted after Lugay's arrest a few months ago.
As the small group marched through the wet streets of Roseau, under the watchful eyes of police officers on motorcycles and on foot, their numbers swelled to a few hundred.
They gathered outside the Pottersville Catholic Church, where UWP political leader Lennox Linton, standing on a blue pickup van adorned with blue flags and loudspeakers, reminded the party faithful of the reasons for the march. By the way, the group carried no posters, no placards, no hastily produced slogans except "Change is a Must" t-shirts that they wore like football fans.
"It is about free and fair elections, elections that are honest, elections that are fair, elections that are not manipulated by people who know that they are going to lose; all because they have power and because they have money they can buy the elections," said Linton. "This election is not for sale."
Linton added: "The buying and selling of votes in 2014 is an act of modern day slavery and slavery was abolished in 1834, more than 180 years ago.
"This election has to be free and has to be fair and any attempt to try to steal it is going to be met with the stiffest resistance."
How will the DLP steal the elections, Lennox? Let you count the ways?
"First, paying for the airfares of people to come to Dominica to vote and giving them spending money is an act of bribery under the House of Assembly Elections Act," Linton told the crowd.
"Second, they have refused to clean the list. They are insisting there will be dead people on the list; they are insisting that people who have not been in Dominica for five years whose names should be removed from the register, they are leaving those names on the register.
"They are spending million and millions of dollars," Linton said.
As the sun set on the horizon and the sound of a motorcade of DLP supporters rumbled along the Pottersville road, Linton and his supporters got ready for another round of campaigning at Mahaut.
The drums of election campaigning rolls on; the pace is not for the faint-hearted; the prize is our hearts and minds and votes. And Dominica's future.