By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTLE BRUCE, Dominica – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and political leader of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) is gearing up for the upcoming general elections as he presented Octavia “Teacher Bonnie” Alfred a former high school principal and wife of a pastor, as the DLP candidate for the Castle Bruce constituency.
Addressing supporters decked in red, (the DLP’s official colour) at the playing field in Sikwi, Castle Bruce, Skerrit made a compelling case on behalf of Alfred to the voters of Castle Bruce, stating: “This evening, the United Workers Party (UWP) is in Roseau launching 21 candidates. This evening, the DLP is in Castle Bruce launching one candidate.”
Skerrit, further distinguished the DLP from the UWP reminding supporters and prospective voters of the “difference between quantitative and qualitative.”
“I am saying here tonight as well, and I dare any of them to deny this, they also asked Octavia Alfred to run for them. They begged her, on bending knees, not to go up for the Dominica Labour Party, because of her outstanding qualities as a community leader, and the tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience that she brings to public life.
“I want to hear what they will have the gall to come into this constituency and say against Octavia Alfred. This is a lady that I would not want to run against as a candidate. She is a well-rounded, competent, caring, charismatic, conscientious Dominican. She has a solid record of service to her country, community and fellow man. She is a God-fearing woman. She is well respected, and she has positively touched and impacted the lives of thousands in this constituency and across Dominica,” he continued.
“She is natural Cabinet material. She is not just making up a number on this team. She will be out front in any new government that the Dominica Labour Party forms in this country. That is the quality and calibre of the person we have brought to you this evening, as your candidate in the Castle Bruce constituency,” Skerrit said.
To a cheering and excited crowd of supporters, Skerrit declared, “They are tonight in Roseau, launching a brand, new, second-hand team of candidates. It’s essentially the same qualitative team that was rejected in 2000. They have changed a couple of faces, but no new talent has been added. It’s the same Unimpressive, Worthless, Proposition (UWP) that has been rejected, repeatedly, by the voters of Dominica.”
Skerrit proudly proclaimed that Dominica at present, following the passage of hurricane Maria 20 months ago, is in a very precarious state. “We (DLP) have done a remarkable job of improving conditions for many, but, do not be fooled, we are still in build back mode. We are still in intensive care unit.”
Skerrit made his case as to why Dominicans should re-elect the DLP.
“We need an “A” team, to pull us out of the mess, wrought by successive natural disasters. Labour has done a lot in the last 20 months. Therefore, some people underestimate what it will take to finish the course.
“We have a long, hard road, ahead of us as a nation, and we must get this election outcome right. We must send correct signals to the international community that we are serious about building this country and making it the first climate resilient nation in the world.”
In contrast, Skerrit proclaimed that the opposition party’s citizenship by investment (CBI) model is a joke.
“It is suicidal. But they had to agree to it, in order to get campaign funding. All these pretty ads you see surfacing were produced and financed by one sponsoring company. You cannot put all your eggs in one basket and expect variety. No single agent can bring you the revenue that is required, on a consistent and reliable basis. Their agreement to give all their CBI business to one company would be disastrous for Dominica.
“His plans to do away with all other CBI agents but one would wreck this economy. He can come and suggest otherwise, but I know they have promised one company an exclusive agency for Dominica’s CBI program.
“We are set to open the first wing of the new general hospital. I say to Dominicans again tonight, do not assume that that hospital would be completed under any other government but Labour.”
Skerrit beseeched DLP supporters to fully comprehend what is at stake in the upcoming general election, “There is little difference between the campaign promises of the United Workers Party and the record of achievements of the DLP. Ninety percent of what they say they will do; Labour has already done or is in the process of doing. The other 10 percent is unlikely ever to happen, because they cannot say where the first dollar would come from to finance their pie in the sky ideas.”
Of concern to the labour leader is the issue of some Dominicans claiming that they are not going to vote.
“Those of you who are walking around saying you will not vote, I want you to stop for a moment and think carefully. This is your country. You have to live here. Your children have to live here. Your parents and grandparents have to live here. Stop being so selfish and simplistic. You are playing with the lives of innocent people.
“You cannot tell me you will not vote and you have not heard the foreign policy of Lennox Linton and the UWP. What would become of relations with all our current allies who have been there by our side through thick and thin, these last 20 years?
“Not voting in Dominica is akin to deciding not to use your senses of sight, hearing, touch, tasting and feeling, for five years. It makes a difference whether you vote or not, in the next election. If you do not vote, you throw Dominica and your family’s welfare and wellbeing, under the bus.
“If you say Labour is bad, you cannot knowingly go from bad to worse. Lennox Linton and the UWP are not a suitable alternative to Labour, no matter what you think of Labour. They would destroy this country in 18 months. Indeed, I predict that public workers would not get paid six months into a Lennox Linton led government.”
Skerrit also addressed his concerns with the UWP involvement with China, said:
“Lennox Linton ran to China and pretended that he is a new convert. Have you ever heard him endorse the “One China” policy? He is flirting with China because Taiwan has not given them any money recently.
“But what if Taiwan gives them money during this campaign? What if Taiwan gives them money after the campaign? Their heart and soul is with Taiwan. They would break relations with China in a heartbeat. What would become of the many ongoing projects Dominica currently has with the People’s Republic of China?”
Making the appeal for voters to support Alfred in the upcoming election, Skerrit declared, that, “Former students from all walks of life have readily joined her campaign, because they know her capacity, they know her honesty, they know her commitment to excellence and they know she will put country first, at all times.
“I like the vibes I am getting as I move around the Castle Bruce constituency. I sense that you know you have a winner in Octavia Alfred. I sense that you know she is destined for great things. I sense that you know she is the better choice…by far.
“I know housing is a major concern here in the constituency. Very soon, over 123 families will be receiving new homes. Rest assured; everyone will be housed in the Castle Bruce constituency.
“We shall also reintroduce fish farming along with hydroponics and greenhouse technology especially to boost the engagement of young people in agriculture.”
Skerrit, in his conclusion, reminded his supporters that, “others went to Roseau tonight, showcasing quantity. You saw and heard from this platform tonight, supreme quality. The choice in these elections is clear. We need a new skill set. We need a team for the times. You need to vote, so as to keep Dominica afloat.
“The march to victory is just beginning ladies and gentlemen. We are showcasing the talent of labour. We are showcasing the competence of labour. We are showcasing the capacity of labour. I urge each and every one of you this evening to stay with labour. Come home to labour. Hop aboard with labour. Stop with this nonsense about you vex and you’re not voting. Your future is safer with labour,” he said.