The United Workers Party (UWP) has proven its ability to improve the country’s economy and create employment, its President, Isaac Baptiste has said.
Baptiste referenced the UWP’s stint in government from 1995 to 2000 as evidence of its leadership capabilities in his address at a press conference on Thursday 17 May 2018.
That press conference was preceded by a Prayer Breakfast held at the Dominica Public Service Union building in Roseau. Pastor Randy Rodney and Reverend of the Methodist Church, Dr. Novelle Josiah led the prayers at that session.
During his address, Baptiste thanked the government for recognizing that in a disaster situation, it has an important role to play, a role of equity and concern for all citizens, but lamented the manner in which the Dominica Labour Party administration has dealt with the recovery process post Maria.
While Baptiste stated that Dominican citizens have “developed resilience to natural disasters” he said the UWP’s mission and intention “is to ensure that we build that resilience, so that Dominica becomes a very resilient country”.
Building resilience, he added, is very important because climate change is under way and intensifying, and therefore “we must do what is necessary to protect our country, our people, our population”.
“And therefore the United Workers Party is ready for that role. It has demonstrated in the four and a half years that we held leadership, 1995 to 2000, that we have the capacity to develop this country, to recognize its priorities, particularly in the areas of economic development and job development,” Baptiste stated.
He added that there are three main concerns that the party will focus on and “ensure that we have a resolution” before the next general election.
These concerns include fairness and equity in the distribution of the resources that have been allocated and given to the government by the international community and Dominicans overseas in an effort to ensure that every Dominican receives “a fair share of what has been given to them, paying attention first to the neediest and the deprived in our society”.
Batiste highlighted access to state media among the three main concerns for which the UWP will be taking action to ensure that it is given reasonable access.
“We in the UWP recognize that in every small society, Dominica being no exception, we may not be able to have equal access, but reasonable access to state media must be one thing that we are given and the UWP will demand it,” Baptiste said.
He clarified that the UWP will not get into a confrontation but rather seek consultations with the various bodies concerned as according to him the Constitution requires that the official Opposition gets reasonable and fair access to the state media.
“So we will do so through mediation, through conversation, through negotiation, but if we cannot get it, there will be alternatives to ensure that we receive it,” Baptiste stated.
The third concern for the UWP is electoral reform and Baptiste emphasized that “there will not be another general election without electoral reform” but did not elaborate.
General election was last held here in December 2014 and is constitutionally due by May 2020. The Constitution however makes provision for the Prime Minister to call general election before it is due.