‘We support the protesters as long as they do it peacefully,’ says UWP president

President of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), Senator Isaac Baptiste, has expressed his party’s support for the protesters who have taken a stance for electoral reform. However, he made it clear that the UWP does not support any violent actions in that regard.
Baptiste’s statement comes in the wake of protest action which occurred in the Capital City of Roseau and other parts of the country on Monday night organized by concerned Dominicans in their continued fight for electoral reform to ensure free and fair elections.
Protesters have been gathering peacefully for days near the residence of the President on Victoria Street demanding to meet with him on the matter. Some of the protestors went as far as sleeping in the area to emphasize their point.
Metal street barricades were used by police to prevent them from entering the premises of the President.
But last night, things came to a head when protesters removed the barricades and clashed with police which resulted in the police using teargas.
Videos circulated on social media showing the actions of protestors in Roseau, some uprooting plants, blocking the roads, burning garbage, and some even spreading garbage on the streets.
Gunshots were also heard during the chaos.
“We support the protesters as long as they do it peacefully and as long as they continue to make their demands that there be electoral reform before the next general election, that is, cleansing of the list and the issue of ID Cards,” he told Dominica News Online (DNO) during an interview on Tuesday. “We will continue to support them but we will not support any violent actions in that regard.”
Baptiste said the people have a right to take possession of their country in “a peaceful manner” but he made it clear that the UWP did not organize the protest.
“The protest has been going on for the past couple days and the UWP has nothing to do as far as [its] organization [is concerned],” he revealed.
He indicated that UWP leader, Lennox Linton, will respond regarding the matter.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in an address to the nation earlier today, condemned the protests ascribing them to supporters of the opposition and describing them as “part of an evolving narrative to suggest that law and order have broken down in Dominica and that elections set for December 6th, cannot be free and fair.”
However, Baptiste fired back, saying that Skerrit “lies with a straight face” in speaking to the nation.
“The gentleman continues to do that and it is pathetic…,’ Baptiste stressed.
He maintains that the Prime Minister has no right to be addressing the nation, “and what it tells us is that the President of Dominica has abandoned the people of the country and is in favour of the Dominica Labour Party.”
“Because if he was on the side of the people, he would have insisted that Roosevelt Skerrit does not come on the radio this morning saying that he is addressing the nation on such a serious issue and all he did was try to pass blame on the United Workers Party for what happened last night,” The UWP president remarked.
“The house is dissolved and he is Prime Minister simply for the purpose of continuing to administer services for the country,” Baptiste continued, “but not to interfere with the constitutional issue that is now faced by the country. It shows the desperation and the amorality of Roosevelt Skerrit and the desperation to remain there.”
He warned that the UWP is going to demand that the Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton, receive equal time on the State-owned radio station and state media, to respond to the statements made by the Prime Minister.
Meantime, Baptiste said the UWP is proceeding to have its candidates’ nominated today (nomination day) to ensure that the DLP does not walk away with 21 seats, “but we shall continue to support all constitutional methods.”

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