Political Leader of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP), Roosevelt Skerrit, has vowed to stand by former MP of Soufriere Ian Pinard, who resigned on Tuesday evening while at the same time has called supporters to arms as a by-election looms in the constituency.
In an emotional address to supporters on Tuesday evening, Pinard said his resignation comes in light of allegations against him, which he said have affected him in many ways.
Skerrit said he was saddened but touched by the resignation.
“Brother Ian Pinard, colleagues, comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen. Ian Pinard has just grown 10 feet taller in my eyes,” he stated. “Tonight, I am saddened by his resignation, but I am touched by his honor. Ian Pinard is a stalwart of the Dominica Labour Party. I want to say here tonight that as Leader of this Party I shall stand – four square – next to my Comrade.”
In an apparent swipe at the United Workers Party, which has been heavily criticized by some in a matter concerning its former Deputy Leader, the Prime Minister said, “We shall not turn our backs on him. We shall not throw him to the wolves or under any bus.”
He told party supporters that they are all one family sharing in Pinard’s pain.
“His happiness is our happiness! His grief is our grief! His pain is our pain! His struggle is our struggle….for we are one family,” he remarked.
“Tonight, I salute Ian Pinard for the principled stand he has taken. I want to say to him that I admire and appreciate very much, his pledge of commitment and support for this party in the weeks and months ahead.”
The Prime Minister pointed to the by-election which must be held in the constituency within 90 days, stating that he wants the seat to remain under the DLP banner in a big way.
“As Ian said, we do not want this to be a long, drawn-out process. We want normality to return to this constituency, in short order,” he noted. “Accordingly, I will be meeting with Ian and the members of this constituency group later this week to commence the process of selecting a successor candidate and readying this constituency for battle. Comrades, this is a seat we must not and will not lose. I am hereby calling all members and supporters of this great party to arms. The Soufriere seat is near and dear to the hearts of all Labourites.”
He added, “I want the full strength and energy of the party to be at work in this bye-election. It is Ian’s wish that we win, and I am saying here and now, I want to win BIG…as a tribute and in honor of the outstanding work of Ian Pinard in this constituency. Comrades and Friends, tonight is a very emotional night for us all. I do not wish to say much more at this point, but to thank you all for coming out, and to thank Ian Pinard for his selfless service to Dominica and to the constituency of Soufriere.”
He promised the party’s full support to Pinard.
“Ian, the Dominica Labour Party shall stand shoulder to shoulder with you, in your struggles. We wish you well and I give you the assurance that your place in the bosom of the Dominica Labour Party shall forever remain accessible to you,” Skerrit said. “Go in faith, knowing that you are in our thoughts and prayers and that we shall, be there, for you.”