ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday December 11, 2019 – The Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority (DASPA) has rejected claims that 8,000 overseas-based Dominicans returned to the island on charter and regular flights to vote in last week’s general election – an allegation that the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) used as a basis for its rejection of results from the vote.
Opposition Leader Lennox Linton had leveled the charge, after his party secured only three of the 21 seats in the House of Assembly, giving the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) a fifth consecutive term in office and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit a fourth straight term as the country’s leader.
In a video posted on Facebook, he declared the DLP victory a “rigged” and “stolen” election, and claimed that at least 8,000 of the 23,541 who cast ballots for the party had their votes bought. He said the UWP had information that people were bribed with airline tickets and spending money to return to the island for the December 6 vote.
But in a statement, the DASPA’s Chief Executive Officer Benoit Bardouille said that information was “incorrect and part of the fake news establishment being channeled through social media and other news mediums”.
In fact, according to airport and sea port passenger activity for December 1 to December 6, the number of passengers arriving on the island by air and sea for the period was just 2,717 persons.
“If one were to assign all the passengers that arrive on the island during that period including children, visitors, business persons, it is impossible that figure represents the 8,000 persons referred to by the fake news agents,” Bardouille said.
“When compared to the previous year, traffic for that same period December 1 to December 6, 2018, the total passenger arrival figure is 1,589 persons. It can be clearly seen based on the information gathered that the statements of some 8,000 passengers arriving in Dominica to participate in the general elections of December 6, 2019 is erroneous, exaggerated, misleading and mischievous.”
Bardouille said that based on the information provided, it was “very unfair and irresponsible for persons who should know better to make these unsubstantiated statements as it relates to passenger arrivals without first seeking to get the facts”.
He did note, however, that it expects an increase in the passenger arrivals in the coming months, as more of the hotel plant on the island continues to open their doors to visitors.
“We look forward to the opening of the other hotels under construction in the new year, 2020 and the construction of the new cargo and cruise ship berth in 2020.