If pollster Peter Wickham had his way about the wives of politicians entering the political arena, the decision would always be flat out “no”.
Wickham was responding to questions by our news desk about the prospects of Melissa Skerrit winning the Roseau Central seat.
Melissa, the wife of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, was brought into the political race by her husband and she was introduced for the first time in February as the new candidate for Roseau Central.
But Wickham has his own reservations about such a move saying, “I have never been thrilled about the idea of wives following their husbands into politics”.
The pollster explained that the seat identified for Melissa is one that the Dominica Labour Party lost two elections ago and one that they have been fighting to regain unsuccessfully.
“She is fighting a seat that the DLP does not hold ………..,” he explained.
In fact, the Roseau Central Constituency has not been held by the Dominica Labour Party since 1975 when it was first contested as a separate constituency created in 1974 as part of a general increase in the number of constituencies from 11 to 21. Prior to that, Roseau was divided into Roseau – Northern and Roseau – Southern with Roseau Central at the time being part of Roseau – Southern. It was won in 1970 by R.O.P Armour of the Leblanc Labour Party. The Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) would win the newly-created Roseau Central seat from 1975 and continued to hold that seat until 20o5 with United Workers Party (UWP) taking control from 2005 to the present.
Wickham said that unlike the situation in other Caribbean islands like Antigua and Barbuda, where the prime minister there had his wife contest a “safe” seat, Melissa has to fight for Roseau Central.
“If she is able to bring it home then it will be good for her but it cannot be compared with Antigua or Jamaica where the wives of these prime ministers are members of parliament,” he added.
Wickham said “Melissa will be tested. This is not a seat that her husband can give her”.
He explained further that while the decision makes good politics, the choice of candidate is another issue.
“If you look at the last couple of elections, Roseau Central has really been where the hemorrhage has been taking place. This new decision marks an assault on Roseau again…” he added.
Wickham said he is anxious to see how the entire situation plays out.
Joseph Issac, the sitting member of parliament for the Roseau Central constituency who ran on a United Workers Party ticket in the last general election, crossed the floor and will now contest Roseau North for the Dominica Labour Party.
Glenroy “Soso” Cuffy will now contest Roseau Central for the UWP.