Dominican chastises regional leaders including PM Chastanet

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Dominican chastises regional leaders including PM Chastanet
Tear gas rises over the community of Salisbury in Dominica on Thursday morning
Tear gas rises over the community of Salisbury in Dominica on Thursday morning

A Dominican has chastised regional leaders, including Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, after they decided to send troops from the Regional Security Services (RSS) to Dominica in the wake of civil unrest there.

Soldiers from six regional countries, including Saint Lucia, are participating in a “peacekeeping mission” to Dominica after an appeal by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.

This follows days of civil unrest by protesters calling for electoral reform.

Some of these events have turned violent with police firing live ammunition and tear gas in a bid to disperse protesters.

Members of the RSS arrived on the island on Wednesday morning and by Thursday, they were in action in Salibury, where a large part of the main road was blocked.

Residents claimed they began firing tear gas as early as 4:00 am while most of the community was still asleep.

Media reports indicate at least two people were shot.

In a letter, which was obtained by SNO, to the six regional leaders, Velda K Wade, said the people were only protesting for electoral reform which they have been calling for since 2008.

She pointed to a joint OAS, CARICOM and Commonwealth mission to Dominica in 2019 which made several recommendations for reform including the cleansing of the voters’ list and the need for voter identification cards.

She said these recommendations were “blatantly ignored” by Skerrit.

“The requests of the people have been ignored,” Wade wrote. “The people have since then been protesting as is our right under the constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica.”

She said the people have not heard any regional leaders calling on Skerrit to concede to requests made for electoral reforms.

“None of you prime ministers, held a peaceful mission to Dominica nor did you ask for good sense to prevail,” she wrote. “However, your first response seem to be unleashing the military force of the Regional Security Services on innocent civilians of Dominica who are exercising our rights to protest. We are protesting for electoral reforms, for free and fair elections which each one of you and your countries enjoy today.”

Wade added, “People were shot today, prime ministers. Tear gas woke up babies, elderlies and innocent people between the hours of 4am and 5am while they slept today.”

She questioned whether this type of action is peacekeeping.

She also called on the regional governments to pull back their troops.

“Speak to Mr Roosevelt Skerrit, advise him to obey the call of the people of Dominica, the OECS, and CARICOM body by giving Dominica electoral reform,” he stated.

Wade ended her letter by saying, “As we speak the blood of Dominicans is on your hands. Let justice prevail.”

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