Opposition leader Lennox Linton has travelled regionally and further afield arguing that flying members of the Dominican diaspora into the island to vote is bribery and unethical.
He however told a meeting in St Maarten this past weekend that if the overseas-based Dominicans accept the tickets and vote for an opposing party, it’s in fact ok.
UWP leader and Honorable Member of Parliament for the Marigot Constituency, Lennox Linton told the meeting that they should come to Dominica and vote with their consciences clear.
He stated, “Purchasing airline tickets for people to come home and vote in an election is bribery. It is against the laws of Dominica but he has been able to do it.” Linton said referring to the Hon Prime Minister and leader of the Dominica Labour Party.
He continued, “By the way, here’s a big secret for St. Maarten, if somebody gives you a ticket to come down to vote for them and you take the ticket to vote for somebody else, it’s not bribery. Do you know that?
“In order for it to be bribery, you have to vote for who gave you the money. But if you take the money because you recognize that it is your money that they took from the sale of your passports, you accept it for that reason. But you come down with your conscience clear to vote what your god moves you to vote so that your voice and the collective voice of the people can be the voice of their god. You will do what is right regardless of who pays for your ticket; that is not bribery,” Hon Linton said.
Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan has responded describing the statements as extraordinary and dishonest.
He says, “Well it turns out by implication and expressly that Mr Lennox Linton has no difficulty with the diasporan voters being on the register regardless of how long they have been away so long as they get a ticket and come vote for him. Once they get a ticket to vote from whichever source and vote for him and the United Workers Party, it’s not bribery. [This] is the sort of dishonesty that cripples a democracy.”
Senior Counsel Astaphan said further that the Opposition leader is “stealing facts and truths” from the Dominican people.