The former president of the Caribbean Court of Justice, Sir Charles Dennis Byron, has been announced as the sole commissioner of an electoral reform commission for Dominica.
Hon Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who promised in his election victory speech that electoral reform would be a tackled within the first 100 days of his leadership, made the announcement when Cabinet was sworn in on Tuesday, December 17th.
The Hon Prime Minister announced, “The government has invited and the invitation has been accepted to perform the service of sole commissioner by the Right Honourable Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron eminent Caribbean Jurist. Sir Dennis most recently distinguished himself as the Chief Justice of the Caribbean Court of Justice from which he is now retired. His tenure at the CCJ continued a tradition of legal scholarship and skill he had previously demonstrated when serving as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Eastern Caribbean. The Commonwealth of Dominica is humbled to have Sir Dennis give guidance to the process of electoral reform.”
Hon Skerrit adds that the terms of reference of the electoral reform commission will be announced early in the new year.
An electoral reform secretariat will also be established to assist Sir Charles Dennis Byron with the work of creating and updating the system of elections.
The Hon Prime Minister, in the announcement, invited the Opposition to collaborate and support the project for which UWP supporters have been protesting for weeks before elections.
Hon Skerrit believes the establishment of the commission led by the renowned former CCJ President removes the matter from local political influence.
Hon Skerrit said, “I reiterate my call to ensure the full engagement and inclusion of the United Workers Party opposition and it’s leader in this process and plead for their cooperation in the National Interest. The establishment of the commission now takes the matter out on a political sphere. It will inspire confidence at home and abroad in the transparency and the impartiality of the process.”
When he first announced plans for the commission, he said public hearings would be held throughout the country for Dominicans to appear before the commission and give their views, and that provisions would also be made for anonymous submissions and open discussion on social media sites.
Sir Byron also served as President of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, and is former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and former Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court.