Dominica's New Political Party Speaks Up in Response to Peter Wickham Analysis

Top Quote The People's Party of Dominica Responds to Political Analyst, Peter Wickham, as more Dominicans Continue to Say a Third Political Party Is Needed. PPOD is a healthy 3rd party option in a toxic 2 party political landscape.  PPOD's goal is to bring the focus back to the policies that affect everyone's life, every day.  End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) May 12, 2016 - The People's Party of Dominica, in response to Mr. Wickham's observations, published on May 2nd, 2016, hereby endeavour to clarify some of the issues raised by him.

    To start with, we would like to thank him for his analysis of the importance and relevance of another alternative at this time. Some of the points which he made were indeed, quite encouraging to us. Others however, were simply without foundation. Let us address some of those issues.

    Mr. Wickham suggested that our target membership base is limited to a very small number of persons who have been left on the side lines, as most electors are either government supporters, or 'appear to have become comfortable within the United Workers Party', and that based on historical precedent within the region, the party would not be expected to survive as a third (or fourth) alternative. While this is the reality, this is the case because there have not been a viable alternative in over a decade. What we have learned, is that our people in Dominica, our youth, and the Diaspora, are not only happy that P-POD is here and here to stay, they are recognizing that the team, what we stand for, our abilities to build a thriving Dominica, is very much what Dominica needs to propel our country forward.

    Let's take a look at the Dominica United Workers' Party (UWP) for instance. The United Workers' Party emerged against the backdrop of two active parties in 1988; the Dominican Labour Party (DLP) and the Dominican Freedom Party (DFP). They were able, despite being a 'new' party, to win the 1995 general elections. Whilst it may be true that some other third parties in the Caribbean have not enjoyed similar success, it would be folly to assign a terminal fate to P-POD based simply on that statistic. Dominicans recognize that PPOD is our only Hope to bring about meaningful change. We will share one of our hundreds of messages with you from a young Dominican "Hi and good morning just been looking at the fb page I must say I love the focus. The time has come for we the Dominican people to take the responsibility for our land and the responsibility for our nation well done ppod".

    We appreciate every feedback we receive both positive and negative as it only helps us become more effective to serve our constituents better. What is interesting is that Mr. Wickam acknowledges that it is good news that we have emerged as an alternative and on the same breath, he seems to be suggesting that our chances of success are so slim that really, it may be futile to take us seriously. Thank you Mr. Wickham, you have motivated the team even more.

    We are evolving and stand a better chance of success, as we have observed, learnt and work tirelessly to avoid the follies and shortfalls of the Freedom Party, the Dominica Labour Party and UWP.

    The Party is in the process of producing a revolutionary package of plans and proposals which will reform our country and its political landscape and will thrust it forward in every way. We have learnt from the past and are ready to face and forge a future for our country, Dominica, and most of all, for our people!

    We have seen the successes of the UWP under the Edison James administration, most notably the commencing of the economic citizenship and offshore financial services programmes. The banana industry was for a short time, re-flourishing under the UWP administration. We have also noted the failures of UWP which included too little attention given to agricultural diversification; the failure to implement adequate safeguards geared towards transparency for both the economic citizenship and off shore financial programmes; and the lacklustre attitude towards mobilizing and revitalizing pride in Dominican youth, especially before the 2000 elections.

    We are presently observing the successes and failures of the current DLP administration. Such successes include large scale infra-structural developments - building of the Windsor Park Stadium and creation of new roads; access to Venezuelan and Cuban subsidized health care; and improvements in telecommunications. The flaws and shortfalls of the DLP include outright corruption, lack of transparency, victimization, preferential treatment, and lack of foresight. The DLP has failed to lift Dominica out the first quartile of economic performing indicators, rankings from low to high, for Caribbean countries.

    The DLP has failed to deliver on its promises for greater clarity regarding the Citizen By Investment (CBI) scheme. There is no audit trail for over 100 million dollars of the programme. The DLP has failed to deliver on better health care to Dominicans, while the top brass enjoy instant trips to the neighbouring French islands to address their health care problems. The DLP has failed the small farmer with lack of foresight while addressing diversification and marketing needs, in an increasingly competitive world where industry and market protection have largely become a thing of the past.

    The People's Party plans to run a grass-roots campaign. We believe that the representatives of the people must be of the people and for the people. We are, at this time, working vigorously in preparation for this as we believe that our candidates must be well prepared for the task ahead. Our candidates will be introduced to the public and the press in due course.

    Our membership is at the moment, steadily increasing and will continue to grow as we are still a very young movement. Currently, we are on a membership drive and building momentum. We will seek to convince the electorate, both with our visionary ideas, as well as through our representatives, that we are serious about ensuring and promoting excellent governance practices, transparency and honesty from the top down!

    We are in the early stages of development of the party and its ideas, policies and objectives, but we are together working really smart at creating a solid footing for a party which can be inclusive of all who share in our ideals, hopes and dreams for beautiful island nation. We have therefore been brave and radical enough to have officially launched as a new party; a new alternative, rather than joining the 'old guard'. PPOD is the party Dominicans will be proud of. PPOD is healthy and effective politics.

    PPOD strongly believes in continual improvement. We are preparing and once fully ready, we will release key names and expound on further plans and proposals.

    As an organization, we hold the welfare of our countrymen, women and children, at the forefront of our minds and policies.

    We are there for the people!! We will stand with:
    - the new mother who, last week, suffered unnecessarily during child birth because of lack of medical supplies and/or staff on the maternity ward;
    - that Salisbury farmer who was refused a loan during the past few months, even though he had excellent credit, victimised due to his political affiliation;
    - the Mom in Silver Lake struggling to put food on the table for her family, "gweyeying" with two and more jobs;
    - the police officer who was passed over several times for promotion, even though he is one of the top qualified in the force;
    - those Public Works employees whose employment was wrongfully terminated with their situation not properly addressed and remedied;
    - the many rural areas in Dominica where residents struggle with no access to decent sanitation and clean, piped water;
    - the massive amounts of youth who are unemployed, with politically charged programmes like the NEP offering false hope;
    - the struggling Dominican masses who, through no fault, were abandoned because of the ineptitude and biases of the ruling regime.

    We have incorporated the UN's 17 sustainable development goals in our manifesto, because these form the basis for human rights and true development within the country.

    PPOD is focused on examining the three key drivers of economic growth:
    1. Capital
    2. Labour
    3. Productivity.

    Our plans for lifting and accelerating Dominica's economy include:
    1. Aggressively tackling the unemployment situation - The National Employment Programme (NEP) will be revamped in quality and scope. The unemployed will be offered opportunities for online internship programmes and skills training opportunities, skills that will address practical employment situations. We will partake in joint employment programmes with neighbouring islands and other participating countries, whereby Dominican youth will have the opportunity to work abroad for identified periods, returning with new skills and qualifications.

    2. Uplifting and seriously improving our health care facilities and access to such. We believe that a much larger portion of returns on the CBI programme should have been spent on health care. In fact, had the CBI scheme been properly managed, our hospitals and clinics would have been in much better shape. Health care will enjoy a boost under the PPOD, thanks to increasing revenues and a higher GDP. A higher percentage of GDP will go towards improving hospital infra-structure; obtaining more and higher quality medical equipment and supplies, medicines and services; medical staff will be better paid.

    3. A revamping of agriculture - Through radical diversification into organic farming, incentives for back yard gardening, an improvement on terrace farming among other schemes, agriculture will once more become the strong backbone of Dominica's economy that it once was. We plan to explore hemp as an industrial product, largely in the manufacturing of textiles, therapeutic and medical products.

    4. A revitalization of service industry economies - We believe that more can be done in terms of attracting call centre and other outsource-friendly services. Large in our scope, is the vast improvement of the turnkey industry due to economies of scale that we enjoy, but are not taken advantage of by the current administration.

    5. Boost the private sector by creating favorable conditions for entrepreneurship and small business development. This will increase job and income opportunities and improve quality of life.

    Other items high on our agenda include the relocation of the cruise ship berth, construction of an international airport or a partial floating runway airstrip, as well as a new and aggressive approach to marketing Dominican products.

    We will leave you with two paragraphs from Oliver Mills, "Third political parties are not doomed to failure in the Caribbean."- February 23rd, 2011:
    - Nothing should be condemned outright. If third party officials have a clear philosophy and ideology which connect with the aspirations of the people, and they win the people's trust, the groundwork is laid for serious, constant, and persistent work. If party officials are committed to the political work required to enlist the faith of the people in the party's objectives, then support will be forthcoming over time. Remember, the third party is in the political business of changing mind sets, and re-socialising people into a new way of thinking and being. It will be challenging at first, but consistency and constancy on the part of party officials are necessary. 

    - Third parties are therefore not doomed to failure. They attract new blood and talent into the political process, bring new ideas, challenge old, established ways of operating, and could bring hope to those who want serious change in the infrastructure of Caribbean politics. Third parties can also bring ideas about different, more workable political structures and processes into the political system, and introduce a more ethical and moral politics into political systems weighed down by traditions that have not worked to the benefit of significant numbers of people. They are therefore not doomed to failure.

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