Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on the campaign platform in Pointe Michel
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on the campaign platform in Pointe Michel

Despite his tight grip on power and his seemingly tight leash on virtually everyone over whom he rules, a tiny fault line is beginning to appear between Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and some within his Dominica Labour Party (DLP) who are worried that he is becoming more and more autocratic and Dominica is on the brink of becoming a police state.

One person closely associated with the DLP said the recent seizure by police of a legal firearm belonging to the brother of the former prime minister, Edison James, was the latest step on the road to the instillation of fear on the Proletariat.

According to the person, who at one time was considered a strong contender as a general election candidate for the DLP, the unease being displayed by members of the opposition to perceived unfair treatment by the administration, including the speaker of parliament, is making Skerrit and his inner circle uncomfortable.

Their reaction, the source suggests, is to unleash the police on dissenters.

"There is talk that other people aligned with the opposition will [also] have their guns taken from them. I don't understand what's going on. The government is not handling this properly. I know you have to control things but they are over-reacting," said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the position this person holds.

Pointing to the police response to demonstrations in Salisbury and the recent statement by the commissioner Daniel Carbon about the 1979 uprising as examples, critics of the administration have contended that there is a growing inclination to use force against the working class.

They see a less-than-subtle move toward conquest and consolidation of power by keeping people in check through a campaign of fear and absolute impoverishment of the masses.

The DLP source says it would be unfair to suggest the population is paralysed by fear, citing the number of provocative comments made by opposition supporters on Q95 radio.

However, the person sees reluctance by a growing number of Dominicans to openly criticize Skerrit as a troubling sign.

"I don't think that we have reached that stage yet [of overwhelmingly fear] but it's getting there." While not linking the two, one political observer believes Skerritmania is on the wane and could soon be nothing but a distant past. But one person familiar with the DLP says there's nothing to support this theory.

According to the person, the prime minister continues to enjoy an incredible amount of respect within the party, with many of its most successful members happy to hold onto his coat-tails.

"It is felt that a lot of the people around him, he is the reason a lot of them have jobs," the person told The Sun.

The source believes that there are other people within the party who are unhappy with the direction that things are taking, but do not dare to speak out.

"There may be fellas making little noises, but Skerrit . . . is a powerful guy. Very, very, very powerful. I can't see guys talking loudly outside there. Obviously, there would be some concerns [among Labourites] but in terms on talking loud about it at this time, not at this time."