A MEMORANDUM FOR THE WIFLP CONVENTION FROM
THE PRESIDENT, LABOUR PARTY OF DOMINICA P.S. Allfrey.
STATE OF THE DOMINICA PARTY.
The Party has a membership list of just over 1000 members, few of
whom are ever fully paid up except just before the yearly AGM. Membership
fees are only 4 cents a month for trade unionist members, 12 cents a month
for others. Nearly all supporters of the Party are Labourers or "Workers"
in the manual sense, but lately there has been a sign that some members of
the Dominica middle-class are losing their fear of supporting an outright
socialist Party. Many of these educated people must have contributed
votes to give us our tremendous Federal victory of 1958. The party has
3 members in Leg. Co. Ducreay, St. Luce and Leslie. The D.U.P.P.
(Dominica United Peoples Party) is lead by Mr. Baron who won in the 1957
election by some 400 votes. DUPP has no constitution and a variable policy.
There is a newly formed 'Workers's & Peasants Movement, about which I know
little; we do not regard it'as a serious rival, and in fact it also
opposes DUPP. The Trade Union movement of the Island is split owing to
machinations of a pseudo-political-religious nature.
In the last year our main problem has been premises. we lost our
hall due to the death of a patron. The Treasurer of our Party has been
building a political hall for us at his own expense, and into this building
has gone the hard work of our first Party member, Mr. W. Hussey, a carpenter.
Lack of a proper hall has been one of the reasons for irregular collection
of dues. this situation will improve soon, as the hall is nearly completed.
We employ a paid Clerk three days a week, but our'handicaps have been on
the organisation and educational side. It is hoped that the return home
of Arnold C. Active, with his political education in British Labour politics,
will help us all greatly, and WIFLP is asked to consider assigning him t o
the political education work it considered favourably at a previous
meeting of.,IFLP executive.
During the past year, our under-equipped Party has obtained a new
public address system (gift from President) a typewriter (gift from Robert
Allfrey), and as stated the new hall for which only nominal rent of $10
a month will be charged. Mr. Le Blanc has ordered another public address
system for use in Northern district.
We are only sending one delegate to this Convention P.S. Allfrey,
who is substituting for E.O. LeBlanc as has been the case when meetings are
held which LeBlanc (our Party Secretary) cannot attend. She is properly
The Labour Party has the backing of the majority of citizens in
Dominica, and is in our view certain to win the next.general election.
W7e are anxious to have a general election as soon as possible. We consider
it would be wrong to have sweeping 'cabinet' changes forced upon an un-
willing citizenry unwilling to follow present Govt.. leadership. We also
consider that it would be illegal to hold by-elections to partition new
constituencies without a general election, since voters would in certain
cases be voting twice within 5 years for entirely different candidates, and
for entirely different constituencies, without the sanction of a Gen. Election.
Now, as Delegate of the Labour Party, Dominica, I shall be presenting
a short list of items which our members would like the Convention to discuss.
In addition, there are some remarks which I "should like to add out of my
experience, not only as Founder-Leader of.L.P.D., but after 17 months as
a Member of Parliament/Minister.
To my mind, the most important item we could discuss is that of ..
There are several froms of conflicting loyalties within the W.I.F.L
And these are of the graVest concern to me, and I understand also to other, .*W4
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2. Labour Party (Dominica) .A1i
The first conflict is between constituency Party and Federal Party, or
between loyalty to local/unit leaders as apart from loyalty to the Prime
Minister. There is also the conflict between Parties whose manifestoes
and aims differ. And what of loyalty to the West Indian Federal Labour
In my view, it is essential to have a well-hammered out constitution
for the W.I.F.L.P. (I don't feel the election manifesto is enough); such
constitution to be accepted by all Unit Parties, with elasticity of end-
clauses to suit their own particular conditions. But basic loyalties
could be established in this way, and general agreement on the management
and administration of Parties would also be a good thing.
We are trying in the West Indies to shake off the old 'personalist'
political habits, like voting for 'Busta' because he is a fine old clown
etc., but we are not shaking it off fast enough. Our politics are still
very personalist, we gang up with people because they are friends, sometimes
to the detriment of our ideals. To give an example, what I call the 'old
school tie' of the S.F.C. chokes some of its wearers, causing them to
stifle criticism of persons who are doing deliberate harm to the Federal
Labour cause, or even to support such persons. I am not saying we should
cut out dear associations of the past for the sake of politics, but I
suggest we might stop and think how the people, the voters, see these
things. Our voters in Dominica see them in a very black light.
I think too that we must make a strong effort to clear from our minds
internecine jealousies and rivalries, which begin in little ways and be-
come large. I feel that we should be generous and not thwart each other's
It is my opinion' that the working people of even some advanced units
are kept in darkness about the meaning of federation and, about what they
can do to help.
To sum up, please may we settle this matter of loyalties. Let us
make a decent blueprint. Let us educate and federalise amicably. Let us
learn from each other about organisation and management of Parties. Let
us not reject things out of hand because we don't like so-and-so.
The long view, the 4'est Indies view, the world view even: that is
what 'we are lacking.
I should like to learn from some of the wiser people attending this
Convention how to cope with these disadvantages. It is hardly any use our
getting out statistics and talking business until this basic unhappiness
which afflicts many of us is dealt with.
(Sgd.) PHYLLIS SHAND ALLFREY.