Vote In Place (VIP) Policy Initiative

Vote In Place (VIP) for Dominicans on the homeland and in the Diaspora: An Alternative Peoples’ Party (APP) Policy Initiative (excerpt)

The Alternative Peoples’ Party (APP) believes in the ‘One Dominica’ principle, especially when it comes to the people’s most important civic engagement – the vote. We affirm that a Dominican is a Dominican, with all the civic rights, duties, and privileges – irrespective of their geographical and/or residential location on the globe. We also believe that any and every Dominican should be given equal opportunities to exercise their voting franchise (if they so desire).

Part of our overall electoral reform initiative, therefore, focuses on Voting In Place (VIP) for overseas based Dominicans and Dominicans on the homeland. How VIP works is that people who live there vote there, giving every Dominican citizen who wishes to, and is duly qualified to vote an opportunity to vote for government representatives of their choice. This of course begins with the total cleansing of the list of electors as catered for by existing legislation, in keeping with the originally declared intention of the Dominica Electoral Commission since 2009. The authority’s moves to sanitize the list of electors is supported by recommendations from the Organization of American States (OAS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Commonwealth Observer mission in their joint-report of 2014. The need for electoral reform is, most importantly, a widely held view of the overwhelming majority of Dominicans.  

Voters whose names are cleansed from the list of electors because of residency status, may be registered to vote in places that they reside – electronically – and to fully participate in our country’s election. Economic citizens and other such categories of Dominicans must be listed to vote in the constituency in which they reside on the mainland only. This policy will attract residency interest on the island and also allows for other categories of citizens to be assimilated into their Dominican residency. Economic and other such categories of citizens who reside in Dominica continually for a period of ten (10) years, will be able to vote in place as previously stated and explained. 

VIP, among other initiatives, is our party’s suggestion on the way forward with the much-debated need for electoral reform and the diaspora vote. The idea is for there to be two additional voting constituencies in the diaspora, one in the northern hemisphere and the other covering the southern hemisphere of the globe. Dominicans who reside anywhere in either hemisphere, and who are qualified to vote, will be able to vote for a northern or southern diaspora representative. To qualify for VIP, citizens simply need to appear in person to a Dominican consulate (bureau, embassy) in their particular locality and fill out the necessary registration document (this should be purely voluntary and the electoral office should not be part of any mobilization or outreach beyond its normal mandate which is to inform residents of the need to be registered to vote, and lessons about voting and the rights of the voter). The citizen who voluntarily registers, then becomes added to a data base of Dominicans which could be used for several development initiatives in addition to voting (APP will articulate this idea in greater details in the near future).

Candidates vying to be elected to the Dominican legislature would also have to be residing out of Dominica, but must be citizens of the Commonwealth of Dominica by birth or through naturalization – not economic citizen; Citizen by Investment (CBI) – we will provide more details in a subsequent release. What we are essentially suggesting is that there should be two other parliamentary constituencies added to the Dominican legislature – the Northern and Southern Hemisphere districts – and those districts will represent the interest of Dominica and Dominicans who reside out of the mainland by cultivating Dominican industries and entrepreneurship. This, we believe, is the other kind of change that the island needs at this juncture. Conventional approaches of economic development can assist, but we believe that more of the people should be engaged in innovative processes of nation building. We are convinced that our people possess the skills needed to transform Dominica into a first-rate global community. This initiative will be among the early mandates of a newly constituted Dominican government headed by the APP. We believe in the politics which brings as many people together as possible and our VIP initiative wholeheartedly caters to this.     

The world dynamics have changed and citizenship should be redefined in the era of social media, informatics and post-COVID-19. APP is leading that charge. We believe that our approach, which is achievable by engaging in broad and popular electoral-constitutional reform, will totally eliminate voter disenfranchisement. Our soon to be released comprehensive electoral reform policy is designed to be people friendly; this ties into our universal motto – People Together Working for One and Other. We believe that our party is equipped and ready to present the nation with the sort of political leadership that will appeal to our peoples’ better virtues; our skills; our desires; our determination; our dreams; our ideals; and our Dominica masterplan.

Our idea will revolutionize the approach of elections for Dominican governing officials. Dominica will serve as a model nation in terms of the representative make-up of the government of Dominica which will include the diaspora-resident legislatures (we will provide a comprehensive idea of how this new plan will be implemented and managed, including the responsibilities of those elected officials to work and serve as heads the economics of departments of the international arm of the government of Dominica). APP intends to position #1Dominica as a democratic oasis in the Caribbean region and the wider world: every Dominican – at home and abroad – shall be involved in the process of electing a national government.

VIP gives every Dominican citizen a fair opportunity to be involved in the most important matters of state – elections. As was stated earlier, APP will disclose the framework of representation and functions of the two new proposed diaspora government representatives and how this new addition will result in overwhelming benefits for the homeland. Please help to build a model nation from the ruins of the past two decades; join APP’s efforts to create a better Dominica for all Dominicans.