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DOMINICA | Baron says OAS Secretary General is biased, has no regard for OAS member governments

Foreign Minister Francine Baron addressing the Special OAS Permanent Council Session Foreign Minister Francine Baron addressing the Special OAS Permanent Council Session
Dominica’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francine Baron has chided Organization of the American States (OAS) Secretary-General, Luis Amalgro, for being “biased and having no regard for the governments of member states.”

She was responding to statements by Amalgro, who supported the Opposition’s call in Dominica for electoral reform before the December 6 general election.

Amalgro tweeted, “The people of #Dominica deserve democratic, fair, inclusive and transparent elections. Democracy is the best antidote against violence,”.

He stated an Observation Mission to Dominica would be essential to provide assurance and suggest improvements to the system.

In a statement to the OAS Permanent Security Council on November 20, Almagro bemoaned Dominica’s rejection of the recommendations for electoral reform of the Joint Mission of The OAS, CARICOM and the Commonwealth to Dominica.

Addressing a Special Meeting of the Permanent Council of the OAS on Friday, Baron said when the OAS make statements on behalf of its members or by the directing mind of the OAS, it should be fair and balanced having regard to all of the facts.

“The elections which will take place on December 06th in Dominica are being held under the same electoral laws which have governance Dominica’s free and fair elections for the last 40 years,” she told the meeting.

The Dominican Foreign Minister told the OAS  that it should not forget, that both the government and the opposition had been elected under the same laws.

She said  the government was nonetheless committed to electoral reform and has been working towards its implementation since 2015.

However, she said Tropical Storm Ericka and then Hurricane Maria prevented its speedy execution.

“…This is at a time when any reasonable person would have understood the need to reprioritize and direct all financial resources and energies to the rebuilding process,” she said.

Regarding calls About calls for an Observation Mission to Dominica, Baron said Dominica remains open to dialogue with the OAS in respect of its participation in the general elections.

“We call on the OAS to denounce acts of violence in these and any elections and to call on those who seek to take power though violence and civil disorder to seize their undemocratic practice,” she said.

Accordingly, Baron called on the OAS to urge countries and organizations to refrain from making statements that can be viewed as attempts to interfere in the electoral process of Dominica.

Meanwhile, St Lucia’s Ambassador to the CARICOM Anton Edmunds also said at the Special OAS Permanent Council Session on Friday that there is no obligation for Dominica or any other member state to invite the OAS to observe its electoral process.

“The Caribbean has always had a strong tradition of democracy, notably free and fair elections and considering previous electoral commissions in the Caribbean, “we are confident that the OAS understands this. We encourage impartiality,” Edmunds remarked.

In the meantime, the United States continues to stand by its position that the OAS should be invited to Dominica to observe the upcoming general election.

Deputy U.S. Permanent Representative Alexis F. Ludwig, in a statement at the OAS Permanent Council, recalled the joint OAS, CARICOM, and  Commonwealth mission to Dominica by the last August and three areas of concern were identified for free, fair and transparent elections.

Ludwig lamented that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit called elections “without implementing recommendations listed in a joint OAS/CARICOM/Commonwealth report issued in September 2019,” adding that  “We recognize that Prime Minister Skerrit has the constitutional right to call elections at any time.”

“However, we believe that implementing the recommendations would have contributed significantly to the fairness and transparency of the elections that all Dominicans seek, but also reaffirm the OAS’ and international community’s confidence that Dominica wants to ensure that its elections meets the standards of the OAS Democratic Charter and the international norms for organizing and holding elections.”

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  • Countries: Dominica

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