Speaker of the House Alix Boyd-Knights has fired back at Opposition Leader Hector John who accused her of attempting to use her office to deviate from the Constitution with regard to the election of a new President for Dominica.
John had written to Boyd-Knights stating that the opposition United Workers Party strongly disapproved of a process which led to a special sitting of Parliament on August 24 where members were notified that the office of the President was to become vacant.
But Boyd-Knights made it clear that the process that led to the special sitting was valid since John and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit had met in consultation, as mandated by the Consitution and they could not agree on a common nominee.
“With reference to paragraph 2 of your letter, I wish to point out that I, like the rest of Dominica was made aware through the media that you did in fact meet with the Hon. Prime Minister in consultation,” Boyd-Knights wrote. “I therefore accepted the Hon. Prime Minister’s letter to me which I read in the house, as confirmation that such a consultation had taken place and which had resulted in your rejection of the Hon. Prime Ministers’ nominee for the Office of President.”
In a letter to Boyd-Knights dated August 28, John said the Opposition did not approve of the sitting on the grounds that is was an attempt to use the Office of the Speaker of the House “to deviate from the clear and unambiguous prescription of the constitution regarding the termination of the tenure of the current president and the election of a successor.”
He went on to say that since the sitting the UWP had sought legal advice and it was “consistent with our belief and fear, that the Constitution was being subverted.”
However according to Boyd-Knights the letter from the Prime Minister was enough to convene the special sitting. “The said letter was sufficient to initiate the invocation of the proviso of Standing Order 11 in order to inform the House with dispatch and invite nominations as per Section 19 (3) and (4) of the Constitution,” she wrote.
The Speaker of the House went on, “You will recall at the start of the House on 24 August 2012, I explained fully how and why proceedings were taking place in the manner in which they had and the Hon. Attorney General further explained why the Doctrine of Necessity was being invoked. I can add nothing further, save to reiterate the overriding consideration at all times has been to ensure that our beloved country is not left without a President as envisioned by Section 18 of our Constitution.”
Deadline for both the government and opposition for submitting nominees for President was Friday, September 7 however the UWP has said the entire process is null and void.
The opposition is holding a meeting at Lagon this evening (Monday) on the matter.
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