A former member of parliament, Frederick Baron, is suggesting that a request by Roseau MP Joseph Isaac for an independent seat in the parliament which is not affiliated to either the government or the opposition, is not as straightforward as he might think.
Isaac, who announced on Wednesday, that he was severing ties with the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), said he would advise the Speaker of The House of Assembly to make provisions for him to be seated in parliament as an independent member.
However, Baron, who served as an independent member of parliament after the 2000 general election, said that based on his experience, Isaac should expect to be given two options – a seat on the opposition side of the House or a seat on the government side.
“When I wrote to the Speaker informing her ……….. the Speaker’s response to me was ‘you either on the government side or on the opposition side’ and I’m sure Joseph Isaac didn’t just do that without asking …he knows full well that when parliament next meets, he has a decision that he and only he can make, which is, do I remain on the opposition or do I go to the government?” Baron explained. “And .. usually you find people gravitating towards the government because they greedy; they not concerned about their constituents; they concerned about themselves.”
Baron took issue with what he characterized as a complaining attitude by Isaac about the sacrifice he made and how much money he could be making.
“Well, yeah,” Baron exclaimed, “politics is about service, my brother. It’s not about how much money you can make. You should have known that; that if you not part of government, you wouldn’t get the salary of a minister.”
Baron represented the Soufriere Constituency in parliament, having won the seat on a Dominica Freedom Party ticket. He pointed out that when he requested independence in parliament, he did not leave the Freedom Party.
“I remained a member of the Freedom Party up to today but I requested independence in the parliament because the Freedom Party was in a coalition arrangement with the Labour Party which is the biggest mistake that they ever did and I had warned them but they didn’t listen,” the former parliamentarian explained.
Isaac contends that as an independent member of Parliament, he will have the freedom “to vote for and against policies of the government consistent with my philosophical belief and the impact of such policies on the people I serve.”