Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has declared that the inauguration of Dominica’s first indigenous President, Her Excellency Mrs. Sylvanie Burton, underscores his government’s unwavering commitment to the empowerment and progress of the indigenous Kalinago community. His remarks came on October 2, 2023, when Burton officially took her Oath of Office as Dominica’s 10th president, replacing Charles A. Savarin.
“Indeed, we have diligently served the interests and well-being of our indigenous people ensuring that they occupy VIP seats at the forefront of national development,” Skerrit stated.
The head of government noted that in this era of heightened social awareness, where representation holds significant importance, the government takes pride in its track record of providing both the women and indigenous people of Dominica a more prominent voice in the administration of the country’s affairs.
He noted that during the intensive search for a new head of state a few weeks ago, it was “the almighty God who said to us to think and act outside of the box.”
Skerrit stressed that there was no law, natural or legislative, that the journey should only be continued and enhanced by someone of the male gender, nor was there any rule that stated that the office of president had to be occupied by someone of a particular socio-economic, cultural, or ethnic background.
Instead, he declared, “We deliberated long and hard and [were] led to Mrs Slyvanie Burton.”
Having served in public office in Dominica for 23 years, the prime minister claimed to have a keen ability to understand the sentiments of his fellow citizens and believed that the majority of Dominicans, both at home and abroad, fully support Mrs. Burton’/s appointment.
He added, “Her Excellency Slyvanie Burton stands tall on a distinguished career as a public officer of 39 years, rising to the rank of permanent secretary. She is a dedicated community and cultural leader in the Kalinago territory, where she cultivated the trust
and confidence of her people over many years of advocacy for the improved status and integration into the socio-economic life and heritage of Dominica.”
Skerrit called upon all citizens to focus on shaping Dominica’s future, letting go of past events and political divisions. He viewed Mrs. Burton’s election as a gesture of hope and optimism, reflecting her journey of struggle and triumph. I wish once again to use this opportunity to appeal to all Dominican residents at home and abroad to let us shift our political swords. There are too few of us for there to be so much discord, much of which is based on sentiment of rank partisanship,” he remarked.
He went on to wish the new head of state well in the execution of her duties and stressed that while she was this government’s nominee, however, she is the people’s president. “I want you to shine a light for little girls and boys in Dominica to follow,” Skerrit added.
“I pledge to you my support and that of the party and government that I lead. I want to say to you that I may not see you through the end of your term. But you can rest assured of my very best wishes in whatever capacity I serve from this day forward.”
In conclusion, Skerrit expressed confidence in Burton’s ability to serve the country with pride and distinction, urging her to promote a spirit of unity and harmony among all Dominicans throughout her term in office.