ROSEAU, Dominica -- The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) in Dominica has fervently defended its cause when the integrity of its UWP Team Dominica overseas tour was questioned recently, with a suggestion that the money being spent on such engagements could be better used to further develop constituencies and that the Diaspora could be engaged via social media.
At a press briefing on Thursday, UWP officials said that, while social media is being used to reach the Dominican nationals overseas, the party believes that there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction for addressing some critical issues and there is no illegality in the UWP approach.
Lennox Linton, leader of the UWP, stated at the briefing that there is an urgent need to explain to the Dominican Diaspora the proper and legal electoral procedure and conduct, in light of the party’s belief that the Labour Party GOVERNMENT has manipulated the overseas vote through bribery in the past.
“Our point is, Dominicans living overseas and are legally qualified to vote can vote if they so desire, but they should not place themselves in a position where they are accepting bribes and therefore engaging themselves in criminal behaviour for which they could be prosecuted,” he said.
Linton said it is important for a group in the political arena to engage the Diaspora on these issues, and the UWP has taken the forefront in this venture.
Furthermore, Linton said that rationally interacting with the country’s human resource base overseas is the only way the country will be able to move forward.
With regard to the financing for these trips, Linton assured that UWP officials see it as a personal investment and the monies are taken from their own pockets. The United States leg of the Team Dominica Tour was also paid from the officials’ pockets. The team was hosted by friends and family and was transported in a minivan which cost them US$825, which was withdrawn from a pool of US$4,092 collected from Dominicans living in the various areas the team visited. Without the generous contributions of these individuals, who Linton said saw the need and importance for the tour, the actual expenditure would have amounted in excess of US$50,000.
The other trips planned will also be financed from the pockets of the UWP officials.
According to Linton, the government, which has access to a greater pool of funds than the UWP officials, has never embarked on any venture such as this. The UWP leader believes that instead the government abuses the funds at their disposal in the wrong manner.
The UWP Team Dominica will leave the country for the next leg of its tour on April 25.
Republished with permission of CBN4News