As we celebrate our 34th anniversary of independence under the theme “Partnering for Further Progress and Development” it is an opportunity for Dominicans at home and abroad to examine the challenges confronting our young nation. We need to ask our political, religious, business and community leaders throughout the length and breadth of Dominica whether the current development initiatives being pursued serve us and are adequate to guide our future for further progress and development.

The Dominica Freedom Party recognizes the challenges we face as a result of our failure to generate employment for our young people. As a small island developing nation in a Global World, these challenges can only be addressed successfully if Dominicans and the various organizational entities can partner for the benefit of all citizens. The Dominica Freedom Party therefore, congratulates the Independence Committee for selecting such a theme that we feel, if applied in the true spirit of Democracy, honesty, transparency and respect for each other can truly lead to progress and development.

This year’s independence theme means that in all we do for national development, Dominicans at home and abroad should be given the opportunities to utilize their knowledge, skills, experiences and personal resources and that of the state to overcome the challenges we face. We must create a Dominica that future generations will feel proud to inherit. This therefore means that those fortunate individuals given the privilege to manage the resources of the state, must do so following the principles of open transparency, good and accountable government, and ensure it includes what is now referred to as best governance practices in Government Procurement.

All Dominicans deserve to be able to say with every confidence, that there has been no abuse of public trust in the existing partnership and utilization of the resources of the State for national development. Can our present leaders tell future generations that the Dominica they inherit is the result of partnering?

Partnering engenders the coming together of Government and Civil Society: the Private Sector, NGO’s and Labour organizations. In a Democracy, the opposition is an organ of the state; an essential part of Democratic Governance that has an important role to play in the preservation of democracy and maintenance of public trust. In order to execute its responsibility, the opposition, like the Government, needs a budget. Without a budget, for the office of Leader of the Opposition, can we truly say that we have partnering? There needs to be the provision of resources to include a well equipped office for the Leader of the Opposition.

Partners in development must also take their roles seriously. In a democracy for example, the roles of the Bar Association and the media are critical in ensuring that matters related to abuses in government, violation of the public trust, and the rights of the people under the Constitution are revealed and debated in the proper fora. This encourages appropriate action by the authorities to address these matters and also to serve to educate the people. Our Constitution can only be richer for it.

The political parties have to be open partners in that common debate. When provided with opportunities to address issues and concerns confronting the nation, they must make themselves available to do so honestly together with opposing party representatives. There is no leadership, in going on individual party propaganda programs, newspaper columns and websites, misinforming the public. All political parties must show democratic leadership qualities and be prepared to get involved in live debates. They have to be well researched and prepared to debate the issues on radio, TV and in town hall settings so that their deliberations can serve to inform and educate the people. This is to enable the public to exercise their democratic rights by making informed decisions in the selection of honest and competent leaders. A leader who sees partnering and constructive dialog not as a threat, but as a basis for reflection and thoughtful response to legitimate concerns of those for whom he holds accountability, cannot fail to engender success and prosperity for his people and country.

True success for a country and its’ people implies fulfillment of life and well being ; not from handouts or patronization but through employment opportunities that provides sustenance for families and maintenance of human dignity .

The Dominica Freedom Party implores Dominicans to take the 2012 Independence Theme seriously and to demand of the leaders in Government and Civil Society: the Private Sector, NGO’s and Labour organizations to partner in the process of nation building to bring ‘Further Success and Development’. True success for a country and its’ people implies fulfillment of life and well being; not from handouts or patronization but employment opportunities that provide sustenance for families and maintenance of human dignity.

Government infrastructural development such as roads, stadium and state buildings constructed by non – nationals do not in themselves constitute success and development. Answer honestly: is this the kind of partnership that we want or deserve as Dominicans? This sort of one-sided activity in the guise of partnering most often creates a sense of despair and cannot be said to bring about success and development of the people and country. Can we accept a partnership that creates a sense of despair among many nationals and brings minimal development to our people and country? We must ensure that our leaders partner with agencies and countries that meet the developmental aims and admiration of all Dominicans at home and abroad.

The Dominica Freedom Party, consistent with its philosophy, ‘People before power, privileges and things’, believes and understands that success and development of a people can only come through investment, employment and consistent effort of our people. We, therefore, urge all Dominicans in this 34th anniversary of our political Independence to work earnestly and in partnership to influence and support policy measures to make this year’s independence theme a practical development tool and not just a catchy slogan to impress the unaware and the vulnerable.

The Dominica Freedom Party takes this opportunity to wish all Dominicans at home and abroad a peaceful 34th Anniversary Independence Celebration. We are prepared, with you, to partner with all concerned for the success and development of our people and country. May God bless you and may God bless Dominica.


Michael Astaphan

Acting Political Leader


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