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Bishop calls for prayer, fasting for peaceful elections


The Bishop of the Diocese of Roseau, Dominica has reiterated a call for a peaceful general election amidst allegations of violence that have so far plagued the campaign for the December 6 poll.

On November 18, police fired teargas to disperse protesters who had gathered outside the residence of President Charles Savarin, demanding electoral reform.

Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau, speaking at a news conference November 20 described the events as a “very sad situation” adding “I think we need to work towards correcting it because it is not a nice feature at all”.

The Bishop believes everyone deserves “a peaceful election and everybody is looking forward to this in the election,” the Jamaica Observer reported.

“Because the loss of Dominica is a loss of absolutely every single person,” he said, adding that he has invited the Catholic congregation to pray in preparation for that day and fast and dispose themselves to something peaceful.

“Anything other than that is not worthy of what we are doing. So, I will pray that the election will go on as peacefully as possible,” he said.

In his homily for the Solemnity of Christ the King, Bishop Malzaire observed that as they celebrated the solemnity, the occasion provided an important opportunity, as a nation, to come together in the midst of the tensions that accompany this special period to reflect on who they are as a people: the people of God, chosen, called and sent as ambassadors, to serve Jesus Christ.

He then reminded Dominicans of their responsibility to:

  • Recognise that every adult citizen has the privilege to vote according to his or her conscience, and therefore the duty, not to neglect to exercise this precious right.
  • Try to know the parties, their aims, objectives and policies in order to make a reasonable choice.
  • Vote as free persons and not to debase themselves by selling votes for money or any personal favour.
  • Oppose and reject any candidate who uses bribery, intimidation or threats of violence to win votes.
  • Reject any invitation to join in the harassment of those whose political views are different.
  • Consider that integrity, impartiality, good character and sound judgement are qualities required of those to be chosen.
  • Remember that no political or economic system is perfect.
  • Accept the verdict of the majority, even if this differs from how one has voted in accordance with one’s conscience.


He urged clergy and other Church leaders to recognise that their basic obligation is to promote unity in their communities, and therefore to refrain from saying or doing anything likely to be interpreted as partisan politics.

The Bishop also urged leaders to recognise their responsibility to give, at all times and especially during the period before and up to election time, moral and spiritual guidance to their flocks.

Bishop Malzaire then invited all to join him in making this pre-election period one of intense prayer and fasting for themselves and for the nation. He also invited all to pray the rosary daily and when in attendance offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, so that justice, love and peace will reign in their land.