Ian Pinard has resigned as Member of Parliament for the constituency of Soufriere.
He made the announcement at a special meeting of the Dominica Labour Party Constituency Association in Soufriere on Tuesday evening.
He said he made the decision in light of allegations made against him and he tendered his resignation to as a member of parliament to the Speaker of the House of Tuesday.
“The pace of our constituency improvement was slowed considerably a few weeks ago when unfortunately, my name was mentioned and I became implicated in a series of rumors that have no developed into a scandal of national attention and interest,” he said. “I resigned as a minister of government because I did not wish to sully the good name of the Cabinet of which I had the honor to serve.”
Pinard said he maintained his innocence in the allegations but formal charges were made against him and the matter is now before the courts.
“I am confident that due process will establish my innocence and in the long run, I will be vindicated,” he noted.
An emotional Pinard said the entire matter has had an enormous impact on him emotionally, psychologically and physically and has prevented him from functioning to the best of his ability as an MP.
He pointed out that he did not want the people of the constituency to suffer because of the process ahead of him, although he said he knows he will be exonerated.
“This is not what you voted for and it is not what you deserve,” he stated, his voice breaking.
He added, “Furthermore, I have been advised that I ought not to underestimate the impact this entire episode is having on my mental and physical health and wellbeing. I have been advised that I need to pay attention to my health and to the demands of this case during the coming weeks and months. Accordingly, I met earlier today with the Honourable Prime Minister and informed him of my decision to resign my seat in Parliament as Parliamentary Representative for the constituency of Soufriere. I have written to Hon. Speaker of the House of Assembly earlier this evening tendering my resignation as a Member of the Parliament of Dominica.”
However, he said, he remains in service to the people of the Soufriere constituency.
“I shall forever remain in your debt and at your service,” he noted, adding that he will forever remain a servant of the Dominica Labour Party.
He stated that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has asked for his opinion of a “worthy successor” and he has shared his views on the matter.
“I shall work hard to have the person elected, I want this seat to remain in the bosom of the Dominica Labour Party and in fact I will be the campaign manager for the new candidate,” he noted. “I shall work selflessly to ensure that my successor is elected and that he or she presents themselves worthy, not only of a seat in parliament but more so worthy of a seat in the cabinet of ministers. I want the best for Soufriere, Pointe Michel, Scott’s Head and Gallion. I want the best for my people. I want the best for Dominica. That is why I have today stepped down as a Member of Parliament. For I believe strongly that the institution of Parliament should not be dragged into the happenings and atmosphere that will accompany events pertaining to my case, over the coming weeks and months.”
Recently Pinard resigned as Minister of Public Works because of the allegations.
Pinard won the seat for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) in 2005 but gave up in 2009 because of health reasons and was replaced by Sam Martin.
In March 2014, he was endorsed to contest the seat again amid reports of growing discontent among DLP supporters over Martin’s ‘non-performance’ as MP.
In the December 2014 general election, he won by 1,326 votes, beating his rival Higgs Adams of the United Workers Party, who received 822 votes.
The Soufriere Constituency consists of the communities of Soufriere, Scottshead, Gillion and Pointe Michel.
A by-election will be held in the constituency within 90 days.
See video of his resignation speech below.