Two new persons were sworn in by President Charles Savarin at 11:00 am on April 23rd 2015 at the State House to form part of the new Electoral Commission for Dominica.
They are Hillary Shillingford and former police officer Wayne James. They were sworn in on advice of the Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton.
Shillingford and James replace Mariette Warrington and attorney at law, Anthony Commodore, who sat as United Workers Party (UWP) nominated Commissioners.
Three other members, who sat on the Commission before, were also sworn in. They are Alick Lawrence SC, Kondwani Williams, and Gerald Burton nominated by Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit. Burton was selected chairman of the Commission by the President of Dominica.
Speaking to the press moments after being sworn in, Williams expressed confidence at continuing the work that the Commission had already started.
“It is a situation where we have always been working and we will continue to work and do what is necessary. There’s a lot of work to do and we look forward to doing what is necessary for the benefit of the country,” he said.
He said the implementation of the MPIC (Multi Purpose identification card), which is now in its final stages, will occupy lots of attention from the Commission and also the need for electoral reform for general and local council elections.
Chairman Burton said the responsibility is a serious one.
“This is a growing democracy and the electoral process is an important and major aspect of the electoral process,” he said. “There are challenges and issues that we will face but I have every confidence that given the significant progress that we have made over the years, and I have every confidence that we will continue to work on those objectives and the new commission will commit itself to the work that is to be done.”
Top on the agenda, he said, is the completion of the MPIC which was started a few years ago.
That process he said will “help the Commission to define the electoral list”.
He also welcome the new Commissioners and said he looks forward to working with them.
New Commissioner James said, “This is the people’s business and at the end of our term we want to ensure that the people are happy.”
Shillingford said his oath is “to uphold the Constitution of Dominica” and the “country’s business must be put forward.”
“We should have no agenda as I take up the mantle…I believe we should be first be dealing with the cleaning of the voters list,” he said. “No hiccups, since it does not cost the State, we are all happy and we don’t want the next election to come around and hear all sorts of things…we need to leave a legacy.
He and James warned that they will not be anyone’s “foot stool.”