Saint Lucia is concerned about unrest in Dominica ahead of general elections on December, 2019.
Riot police recently fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at protesters, most of them linked to the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP).
The protesters want election reform.
“Clearly we are concerned about the unrest there and our Caribbean societies have always had free and fair elections,” External Affairs Minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun told reporters outside parliament Tuesday.
She observed that the Caribbean region is known for having stable governments and respect for the rule of law and democracy.
“That is what we would like to see prevail in Dominica,” Flood-Beaubrun stated.
She disclosed that although she has not confirmed it, she received an indication from Saint Lucia’s Ambassador in Washington that the Organisation of American States (OAS) may be invited, if it has not already been.
“I think that is a developing news story that we can watch,” the Minister told reporters.
She said it was her understanding that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) would send observers to the Dominica poll.
Flood-Beaubrun, in responding to whether she was concerned about similar developments here, pointed out that issues regarding elections do not take place on election day.
“It’s making sure that your procedures are in order – it’s making sure that the rules are observed; it’s making sure that the necessary reforms are conducted in the appropriate manner,” she explained.
“Having free and fair elections means all of the electoral processes need to be above or beyond reproach, so it’s not a matter of when it’s election time – it’s a matter of all the important reforms that need to take place in fact taking place,” the Minister said.
“That’s why we have bodies like the Electoral Commission where we have both government and opposition; it’s about all of us together – democratic society doing what we need to do; putting our house in order to make sure that by the time election comes everything has been done in an appropriate manner so that everyone is satisfied with it, so that on election day you can have a free process and everyone can accept the results,” the Castries Central MP noted.
“Clearly when things like this happen we can learn from what we see happen. The issue is not just in Dominica,” she said.
The Minister explained that a number of Latin American countries have had issues with elections.