Speaking to the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) following his Dominica Labour Party’s (DLP) resounding 18-3 victory in Friday’s general election, Skerrit acknowledged that he was spoilt for choice as to who to include in his ministerial team. However, he was in no mood to rush to a decision.
“That will be dealt with at the appropriate time. I’m hoping after Christmas to announce a Cabinet…but we started formulating what it may look like or should look like,” the Prime Minister said.
“We’ll continue the discussion and the dialogue and I am sure that everybody will understand that not everybody can be a minister of government – 18 ministers really wouldn’t cut it because we have to be mindful of the implications for the Treasury,” he told CMC.
The DLP increased its margin in Parliament compared to after the 2005 general election when it won 12 of the 21 seats, which was later increased to 14 when an independent candidate and an opposition legislator joined forces with the government.
With that in mind, Skerrit assured there would be no rancour among members of his team over who should be given ministerial portfolios and who should sit as backbenchers.
“I believe by and large our candidates came on board knowing that they will be elected first as Members of Parliament and that the Prime Minister has the authority under the Constitution to advise His Excellency, the President, to appoint them as ministers.”
Preliminary results showed the DLP winning 17 seats compared to four for the main opposition United Workers Party (UWP) but the ruling party gained the La Plaine constituency when its candidate, Petter Saint-Jean, was awarded the seat by two votes after a recount on Saturday thus condemning the UWP leader Ron Green to the parliamentary sidelines.
Green has since told CMC that he was not ready to concede defeat to his rival, opting to pursue legal options available to him in order to challenge the outcome.
“Monday morning we will file a case and see when it is heard…I think there is a strong case there that any fair judge looking at the rejected ballots will end up selecting me as the Member of Parliament for this area but let’s see what the courts say,” he said.
While he admitted that he expected to challenge the result in the rural constituency, Skerrit viewed the national outcome as evidence that the country was pleased with his stewardship over the past six years.
“It really tells you that the people of Dominica were determined to return the Dominica Labour Party into government and of course with a very large mandate.”
However, the Prime Minister said measures were being developed at the party level to ensure that MPs would not lose focus on their constituents and to keep both successful and losing candidates in check.
“We recognise that and we’ll put systems in place to protect that large mandate and to ensure that the men and women who have been elected by the people keep in touch with the people because what is often the problem in Caribbean politics, Dominica included, is once people have been elected they become disconnected from their constituents and that can create problems for the party at the time of (the next) elections.
“So the party leadership will put systems in lace to ensure that candidates and Members of Parliament remain connected with the people every step of the way,” he said.
With both Green and deputy UWP leader Claudius Sanford losing their seats, the most senior member of the parliamentary opposition is Edison James, who served as prime minister of a UWP administration from 1995-2000.
The Dominica Freedom Party, (DFP) which served for three terms as the government from 1980-1995, was shut out for the second successive poll, with none of its 11 candidates registering any considerable support from voters.
Tags: Election 2009
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