The Canadian Government and the US Department of State have issued travel advisories for their citizens amid civil protest in the Caribbean country of Dominica.
Dominica, and a hotly contested general election which comes to a head on Friday, has had sporadic instances of blocked roads, disorderly conduct, burning debris and police-civilian confrontation in sections of the mountainous island.
While the advisories aren’t labelled ‘extreme’, both countries have urged their citizens to exercise increased caution amid today’s general elections.
“Exercise increased caution in Dominica due to civil unrest. Demonstrations and protests can take place with little or no notice. Local authorities have used tear gas to disrupt protests,” the US State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs indicated.
“Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation,” the Government of Canada noted.
US and Canadian citizens are being urged to avoid areas where protests and other large gatherings are taking place, as well as monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations.
Since mid-November 2019, protests have happened throughout Dominica, including violent incidents.
There are reports of burning barricades blocking access to the Douglas-Charles airport in Marigot.
BUZZ has been informed that several flights have been disrupted and cruise ship arrivals have been cancelled until further notice.
Scandal, unrest and general unease in Dominica
The protesters, mainly supporters of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), are demanding electoral reforms ahead of the polls. They want to ensure the sanctity of the Voters’ Lists.
Most of the reports of blocked roads and burning debris is limited to two key areas—the Marigot and Salisbury constituencies—which are strongholds of the UWP.
The Roosevelt Skerrit-led Dominica Labour Party (DLP) has been in power since 2004 and recent media reports uncovered a corruption scheme where government officials offered diplomatic passports to criminals in exchange for funds to finance the party.