PM Skerrit making his point during the interview

Dr. Thomson Fontaine of the United Workers Party (UWP), is no longer a senator in the Dominica parliament.

Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, made that disclosure on Tuesday evening during a special interview in which he was questioned on the government’s performance in 2018.

“Mr. Thomson Fontaine, as we speak, is no longer a senator in Dominica because he missed three consecutive sittings without the expressed authority of the Speaker,” Skerrit revealed.

Dr. Fontaine was appointed senator in the parliamentary opposition, led by UWP leader, Lennox Linton, after the last general election in 2014.

“To allow a senator to miss three sittings of parliament to the point where the Speaker would write to the President informing the president that a senator has missed three sittings and therefore, he has vacated his seat in the parliament is telling on a leader,” Skerrit explained, in reference to action which he indicated has been taken by Speaker of the House, Alix Boyd-Knights. “I can tell the country that this would never happen to me as prime minister with an elected member of parliament, far more, for a senator.”

JMEC Senior Economic Advisor, Dr. Thomson Fontaine (middle) makes a point during a meeting in South Sudan. With him are JMEC Chief of Staff Ambassador Berhanu Kebede and Deputy Chief of Staff (Strategy), Ambassador Mahen Kundasamy

Dr. Fontaine, a former IMF economist, was in 2017, appointed Senior Economic and International Policy Adviser on the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, overseeing implementation of Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudanthe newest country in the world.

Since taking up that position, Dr. Fontaine, has missed a number of sittings of parliament, including the 2018-2019 budget debate.

Skerrit attributed this development to what he described as “the weakness” of the United Workers Party (UWP) leadership for “not taking decisive action and correcting” the situation.

“And it is also a disrespect to the constitution of our country that you would have a senator whose business it is to perform his duties in the parliament to be working outside of Dominica, not available to the parliament, not even during the budget debate which is the most important item on the calendar of the parliament of our country,” the prime minister complained.

Dominica News Online (DNO) will attempt to get reaction from Dr. Fontaine and Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton.