All Aboard : A Concerned Dominican


AConcerned Dominican : State of Affairs : On Progress, Transparency, Law and Order, Opposition, Corruption, Douglas Marginalization and Victimization in the Commonwealth of Dominica Kim Douglas (Saturday August 13th, 2011)

kimdouglasForever tangled in a seemingly elaborate web of political warfare, we are steadily approaching 2 years since the December 2009 general elections were held in Dominica, and yet by listening to the content in our political discourse it would seem that the election season has never left us. We are also witnessing a shocking spike in crime and lawlessness in Dominica with no apparent solution in sight. From government’s apparent dis-interest in properly investigating or seriously conducting the case surrounding the firebombing of Glenworth Emanuel’s home, to the German Tourist who painstakingly narrated his terrible ordeal of harassment and abuse at Batibou Beach to the Irish National violently butchered on our shores, the trend is alarming. These events can surely serve as an impediment to our progress and the friendly “Nature Island of the World” image which the Government of Dominica is attempting to project on the world stage.

With constant accusations of corruption brought against the DLP administration reverberating sharply and frequently over the airwaves and throughout Dominican Society at large, many in the public have become irresponsive to the cries of blatant corruption. We need law and order and we need more transparency in the governing process.   

With an 18 to 3 seat advantage in the Dominican Parliament it would seem that power is Labor’s to lose. Just keep working, let the opposition continue to talk about the fallacies of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, whiles business roles on in government. I am though shocked, as to how sensitive the ruling party has become to constructive criticism. With swift haste you become labeled either Pro Skerrit or Anti Skerrit.  (What ever happened to being a “Concerned Dominican?” ) With such a huge majority, the ruling administation has become unwilling to listen to different voices.

We should remember that no select few can claim to possess the blueprint for success or a monopoly on good ideas. What we need for true progress in Dominica is a progressive and fruitful exchange on ethics and issues between the ruling party and the opposition. With truth and thought, stimulating ideas to raise the level of our political discourse which can help to fully realize and efficiency utilize the hard work and intelligence of the Dominican People (at home and abroad). Without a rise in transparency and better supervision of Government Policies and their implementation, both sides will simply continue arguing and come election time, the ruling party will simply present the electorate with a case of progress VS backwardness. Simply because the opposition aren’t keeping tabs deeply enough to properly understand the present state of affairs and so are unable to present the electorate with plausible policy alternatives. A word to the opposition: Engage our Dominican Ministers more, invite them into the conversation as much as possible, you’ll find that rewards are bountiful. Let’s talk agriculture, health care, education, sports, foreign affairs, Tourism. Let’s talk issues.

Yes I believe a vibrant country needs a progressive opposition. I deeply appreciate the efforts of Matt Peltier on Q95’s “The Hot Seat” for giving the opportunities to the opposition leaders to lay out their plans and voice their positions. What is the present state of the opposition, and who do we have to look up to lead the cause? Whiles acknowledging the symbolic individuals in our present system: namely Judith Pestina representing the Freedom Party, and Edison James, Ron Green and Sprags John representing the UWP, I also can’t ignore the growing discontent by the public at large towards the present situation. Some talk of the need for Unity between the two opposition camps if they are to pose any serious threat to the DLP administration. I believe it is important for both Freedom and UWP to dig deep and rediscover their party principles which allowed them to thrive. Only then can a union be arranged based on ideals and substantive policy proposals providing the impetus required to stimulate the Dominican Public. Even more so because day by day Labor seems to be straying into unchartered territory, failing to heed the warnings of Labor stalwarts of days gone by.

My Uncle Mike and Father Rosie provided a strong voice whiles following through with the “all shall eat” slogan of the then Labor Party by aggressively seeking out new investment possibilities and educational opportunities for our young people. In fact Mike Douglas played a significant role in welcoming and establishing Ross University in Portsmouth, and we all see how that has blossomed successfully for the benefit of Dominicans. “Is Mike we like”, he was a dynamic force in opposition / in parliament, gifted with outstanding eloquence, oratory skills and a fareless tanacity keeping the ruling party responsive and responsible. If Mike was alive today, and with the information and legitimate allegations (thanks to the impressive and substative investigative journalism of Mr Lenox Linton) he would surely make parliament rock. My message to the opposition : Get it together.  

This brings me to the question of the climate of victimization and “Douglas Marginalization” which is becoming very evident. It is becoming clearer by the day that the present administration has been victimizing qualified and much needed Dominican individuals who possess impressive talents and expertise, simply due to the over-politicizing of our public institutions.

For example : It is very depressing for me personally the way in which former Magistrate  Behanzin was dismissed, not because he is my brother but because of the passion and determination in his approach is exactly what we need in law enforcement at his point in time. Punishment alone though, will not stem the tide or ease the hopelessness felt among offenders. We have to remain vigilant in creating new opportunities to engage our youth. I admire Tiyani’s continued dedication, his bravery to continue to speak out for truth. The revolutionary blood of our father, the late Rosie Douglas flows through his veins. It is a shame though, that out energies have to be spent fighting internal battles. (We are our own enemies.) There is a need for reconciliation among Dominicans, so that we can face the world as one force, too many of our public institutions are heavily politicized. We need to think outside the box, see the big picture, and plot a course for our nation in this ever competitive Global Landscape. Where is our country headed?

Recently a very powerful article was published by my cousin former Press Secretary Mr. Sean Douglas with the potential to heavily influence the dynamic of the call for justice in our country. Sean in my view is a very talented journalist and an outstanding communicator, highlighted by the fact he served the government for 9 years as Press Secretary. Someone doesn’t hold such a post for nine years and then just vanish into obscurity. By the passion displayed in his last article you can tell that he is serious about making a contribution and refuses to be swept aside. The gloves are now officially off and dissent is bubbling over. Dear Sean: I really hope your return will help stimulate fresh thought and ideas, let your conscience guide you.

Why did I choose to discuss these cases or what do I have in common with these men? For one: I’m looking at the trends and wondering if there are any truths to the “Marginalization of the Douglas clan” theory out there. (Very Tempting) But then some people ask me: “How do you explain Ian Douglas (present minister of Tourism and Legal Affairs in the Roosevelt Skerrit Administration), isn’t he an example of a Douglas allowed to serve and play an important role in the present administration? You must remember this is a man who after the sudden death of my father the late Honorable Rosie Douglas ran in Portsmouth’s ensuing by-elections on the labor ticket under the slogan “Remember Rosie, Vote Ian” Yet as a political mind I can’t even recognize, let alone make sense of his present brand of politics. Rest assured he will not escape the wrath of my pen or the serious questions I have for him. We will be demanding accountability. I have my personal story to tell about my experience with feeling victimized and wronged by this very administration. I will reveal myself in due time. I believe that through healthy dialogue truth is revealed. But no matter what, we must continue to raise the flag high and represent in the name of Dominica. I pledge allegiance. All Aboard!!!

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