Athenia Benjamin

After unsuccessfully contesting the 2014 general election on the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) ticket in the Wesley constituency, Athenia Benjamin is bowing out of the political arena.

In a message to supporters on Tuesday, Benjamin, who was called DLP Caretaker after her defeat in the poll, did not give a reason for her departure but announced that her political stint had come to an end.
“To the residents of Wesley, Woodfordhill and Palm Tree, I thank you for your tremendous support during the time that I represented you as your candidate in the 2014 election and as your Caretaker,” she stated. “My political stint is over.”
She said she had no regrets in serving the constituency and that she “did everything humanly possible to represent you with dignity and respect.”
“During times of sadness, I stood shoulder to shoulder with you and in joyful times, we celebrated together. After Hurricane Maria, I fought for you to ensure that everyone got enough to survive,” Benjamin remarked. “The love that I have for my community runs deep and nothing will diminish that but it will be redirected away from politics.”
She said she was inspired by Rosie Douglas to get involved in Dominica’s development.
“So I thank the Dominica Labour Party and it’s leadership Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit for giving me the opportunity to serve the people of the Wesley Constituency,” she stated. “I continue to pray that the God Lord above will guide and protect each and everyone of us as we move forward.”
In the run up to the 2014 general election, Benjamin, who was living in Canada a number of years, was selected to replace Gloria Shillingford.
But the selection did not go down well. Then chairman of the DLP Wesley Constituency Association, Cleaveland Dodds, described it as “blatant disrespect,” saying the constituency was “in shock.”
He said the association was in the process of preparing a primary for selecting a candidate since it had suggested Financial Controller at the National Development Foundation of Dominica (NDFD), Fidel Grant as a possibility.
Benjamin responded by saying that there were “a lot” of people raising questions about her life overseas, but she noted that the skills and competencies that she gained while working and living in Canada would be beneficial to Dominica.
In her first major political speech in Lagon, Roseau, Benjamin pounced on opposition leader Lennox Linton after it was alleged that he had plagarized the speech of Allen Chastanet, prime minister of Saint Lucia.
She described the alleged plagiarism as “absolutely disgusting” adding that this type of behavior might be so extensive that “we are just beginning to unmask something bigger.”
Benjamin and Dodds locked horns again when he (Dodds) described a new executive of DLP Wesley Constituency Association as “bogus.”
The executive ran by Dodds was axed on Sunday 15th March 2015, when the Association met at the Cabrits National Park and a new one was installed.
Benjamin justified the move by saying that the executive ran by Dodds was not active in the performance of its duties and was not even involved in the campaign during the 2014 general election.
At that election Benjamin lost to Ezekiel Bazil, of the United Workers Party (UWP). He received 940 votes, while she received 805.
After her defeat, she was named Coordinator of Diaspora Affairs in the Office of the Attorney General.
DNO understands that this time around, Fidel Grant will replace Benjamin as the DLP candidate for the Wesley constituency.