Opposition asks for letter of intent from President to vacate office

The process of choosing the next president of the Commonwealth of Dominica moved a step closer to completion on Friday.

A special sitting of parliament was held on Friday morning to officially inform members that the office of the president is to become vacant.

The Dominica constitution states that if the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition agree on a joint nominee for the Presidency, then the Speaker will be advised in writing and the individual will be elected without putting the question to a vote.

However, if they do not agree, the Speaker will be advised and the House of Assembly will be informed accordingly. Then, within 14 days, the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition or any three members of the House may submit to the Speaker “by writing under their hands, nominations of candidates for election as President.

The Speaker advised the house Friday morning that the prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition had not agreed on a  joint nomination, “I now have to let you know that 14 days from today, I will effectively close the period during which I will accept nominations for the candidate for the election of president and you are so advised” she told parliament.

UWP Parliamentarian and member for the Marigot constituency, Edison James then submitted that based on his interpretation of the constitution there must be a vacancy regarding the office of the president and that the president was expected to submit his resignation in writing.

Referring to  section 119 of the constitution, James said “our concern as we want to facilitate the process is, is there a vacancy? Now, section 119 of the constitution provides for the Presiden to submit a resignation by writing to the Speaker. I have not heard you indicate such letter of resignation has been received by you which as we understand it is what would create a vacancy. So how then do we proceed under 19-1 if there is not a vacancy?

James was of the view that all the actions which are necessary to the nomination and election process of the president in  should be done in writing and in this case, a letter of resignation by the President to the Speaker was required.

Prime Minister Skerrit in responding to Mr. james’ query admitted that the constitution does not directly address this particular issue and pointed out that it makes provision for a letter of resignation from the President to take effect on the day that the letter reaches the speaker of the House.

“As Prime Minister I could write to the President to say I shall resign on December  2014, you understand, but in the case of the President you do not have the luxury to have a future date for resignation.It is at the date and the time the Speaker receives the letter of resignation”

The Prime Minister said that the Presesident had formally written to him indicating that because of the state of his health he would like to demit office before the end of his term.

Meanwhile Leader of the Opposition Hector John said the United Workers Party is concerned about what he described as a “grey area” in the process of electing a new President. “one grey area we had and continues to be a concern is the letter of intent to vacate the seat by the president,” John said.

John pointed out that it is important that the letter is in the hands of the opposition, and all members of the house, to confirm the president is in fact vacating his seat.

“I am very disappointed that this letter is very critical and it was not made available to the opposition and every member of the house,” John pointed out.

John stressed that he is not trying to stall the process but he just wants to make sure that it is transparent, open and executed properly. “Transparency is critical, it is crucial right now,” he noted.

The leader of the opposition made it clear that he will be writing to the prime minister formally, requesting that the document be made available to him and every member of the house.

He said the opposition is waiting for the letter to take the next step in the process.

The deadline for submission of candidates for post of President of the Commonwealth of Dominica is September 7.

 

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47 Comments

  1. Pondera
    August 27, 2012

    This very interesting discussioin on what is referred as the grey area in electing a president who intends to demit office before his term should be an issue for the Dominica Bar Association to take up. This is where they should organize a public lecture to flesh out the constitutional provision on this matter. That exactly what Justice Andre was suggesting as the way to give back to society. Could it mean that the silence of the Dominica Bar Association on such matters speaks to just how politically polarized they are? I would love to seat and benefit from a public lecture on this matter.

  2. Very concerned
    August 27, 2012

    Dear Prime Minister Skerrit,
    If my child comes home and tells me that he excelled in his exams, the first thing I would ask is, where is the report card?
    So if you inform the Leader of the Opposition that the President of the Commonwealth of Dominica is going to resign the first thing he should rightly ask is “Where is the letter of resignation?” That’s only reasonable.
    How can you expect the parliament and people of Dominica to accept your word of mouth on such an important decision?
    Come on man Skerro, who would be mad enough to act on your word when you will admit that you have been caught lying on so many occasions?
    Just admit that you tried one Spaggs but Edison caught you.

  3. Annon
    August 25, 2012

    It MUST be transparent, and it must also SEEM to be transparent & neutral. It cannot be a poto-Laborite nor a poto-UWPite. President in this constitutional democracy has to be neutral. Do a little research on it everyone!

  4. Peeping Tom
    August 25, 2012

    I agree that the proof of the President’s intent must be made available. However, it is amazing how the UWPwee can squander a golden opportunity to boost their legitimacy and make themselves appear even less competent than they already are. Let us examine the UWPwee’s conduct in this consultation phase of replacing President Liverpool.

    First, DNO reports……Hon. John’S statement: «’Someone has given consent on our side … I have not given the Prime Minister our nominee and while he has given me his, I won’t disclose it since it is for him to do,’ John stated.»
    So, in effect, the UWPwee OFFICIALLY sets the precedent: Presidents must be partisan. SMH! See the narrow and plebeian thinking of the UWPwee? IS this what you call competence?

    Second, Hon. John says: « ‘I am very disappointed that this letter is very critical and it was not made available to the opposition and every member of the house,’»
    Lol! Are you saying that Hon. John did not know before he met with the PM to discuss the matter that he did not have a letter of resignation in his hand? Additionally, the other senior members of the UWPwee who were vocal in the House in requesting a letter, at what point did they suddenly wake up and realise that they never had this official intent to leave office?

    So, the UWPwee confirms its place as a party with no clue. Lost, fragmented, and bankrupt – no money and absolutely no positive responses to the issues that plague us. Someone please remind me: What purpose does the UWPwee serve in the House apart from entertainment as a bunch of lost, confused, and obnoxious parliamentarians? How does the UWPwee help Dominica? Frankly, I think Q95 and its associates do a much more effective job at «representing» SOME Dominicans than the UWPwee does!

    • El Presidente
      August 26, 2012

      I think they want the letter so they can go after the man and his family like mad pigs….they will shred this man and his family to pieces first with Angry Rasta, Angelo–open batsman…then they will continue with worthless Matt and his rabid listeners to be continued on with their other political programs to be completed by Scar Face between you and me.

      Guys haven’t you all seen through the UWP yet.

      You take an able body man and place him in the midst of the UWP, and the man is suddenly transformed into a miniscule black grab.

      Dominica have the UWP figured out to the Tee

      • ROSEAU VALLEY
        August 27, 2012

        My dear El Presidente,

        Your comments are so unfortunate. I wish that we could elevate our discussions and focus on the relevant issues. Let’s not make it about UWP-please.

        This is a constitutional matter of national importance and whoever must act in accordance with the Constitution must do so irrespective of political party. No, El Presidente…the UWP do not need the letter “to go after the man and his family” as you have so erroneously and maliciously suggested.

        First of all, a letter from the President to the Prime Minister with regard to his pending resignation (which by- the- way is unconstitutional) need not contain any such salacious, scandalous, and/or sensational details to warrant an attack on the President and his family- unless of course, the President and the Prime Minister intends to bring our constitution to the gutters with them. Clearly, the UWP does not do what you have suggested. Say what you wish about the UWP but it does not conduct itself in such an unprofessional manner.

        While you claim that “Dominicans have figured out the TEE”, unfortunately they have yet to figure out the real devils and the honourable criminal elements that now constitute the government of Dominica. I pray for the sake of Dominica that we do so sooner rather than later.

    • ROSEAU VALLEY
      August 26, 2012

      HI Peeping,
      You won’t be too surprised that in general, I concur with your contribution and has given it a thums up.

      Let’s review your comments. I note your agreement that relevant and appropriate documentary evidence must be presented of the President’s intent to vacate his office. Of course, I expected the usual conditional “however” following your agreement.

      It is however, amazing –really amazing that you consider this entire unlawful/unconstitutional episode as an opportunity for the official Parliamentary Opposition “to boost [their] its legitimacy”. As you would appreciate, the elected members of the Opposition are more legitimate members of the House of Assembly than the Prime Minister, who still has to defend his election before a Court of Appeal.

      In light of the repeated attack of the Prime Minister and his government on the supreme law of Dominica, it is the Prime Minister and the Labour Party administration, who should be concerned about the opportunity to make themselves appear as honourable, credible, respectable, competent and mature leaders of this country.

      If you are seriously interested in conducting an objective assessment of the situation at hand, you ought not limit your examination and make selective criticism of the conduct of our political leadership to the UWP. As responsible, objective and mature citizens, let’s examine the conduct all Parties involved and assess their behavior collectively.

      In the first place, the UWP should NOT have participated in this unconstitutional consultation and the Party should have rejected the offer of the PM to commence consultations under the circumstances.

      Nevertheless in the interest of your examination, I shall follow your argument as best as I can, albeit on some issues your analysis is a very sad reflection of the educated ones among us, who support the government. The fact that the UWP indicated that it will submit the name of someone from its side, who has given consent is not a partisan statement. The only thing that was wrong with Mr. John’s statement to DNO was the fact that he was participating in a process that is not within the parameters of the constitutional framework.

      However, I do share your “false” disappointment with Hon. John and the other senior members of the UWPwee, who failed to adequately consider the issues before engaging in consultation with the PM. They should not have been caught off guard once again. This is happening much too often for my comfort. Hon. John must have known when he met with the PM to discuss the matter that the Prime Minister did not have a letter of resignation in his hand. In fact, I shall repeat that he should not have engaged in any consultation in the absence of the letter from the President either advising of his resignation of the President or his intention to demit office. The consultation, which took place, therefore, was premature, unlawful and should be null and void.

      Your criticism of the UWPwee of once again displaying a sense of unpreparedness, uniformed, lost and fragmented political juveniles may be correct. However, unlike you, I echo this sentiment in the hope that the Party will evolve from its repeated self-inflicting wounds and address the repeated violation of the Constitution in a more professional and politically mature manner.

      I applaud you for recognizing that Q95 and its associates, in particular Lenox, Matt and Angelo do a very effective job in addressing the fundamental issues as they relate to the repeated violations of our Constitutional provisions and in serving as an effective check and balance to the runaway, corrupt and mafia-like governance at this juncture of our political reality in Dominica.

  5. Not a herd follower
    August 25, 2012

    Why can’t we do even basic things right in this country? The President is a legal luminary. He ought to know the procedures for demiting Office. The Prime Minister ought to know the Constitutional requirements plus he has State Attorneys to advise him. Why must eveything degenerate into clumsiness or a tug of war? We have procedures to guide us. The President ought to know that he has to submit a letter of resignation to the Speaker and to the PM and the Leader of the Oppostion. IS it deliberate that the Constitution is being ignored by people who ought to know better?

    • ROSEAU VALLEY
      August 27, 2012

      Well said. I wish more Dominicans would follow you in herds for we would be a better nation as a result. Yes.. we can do better than that.

  6. neg
    August 25, 2012

    The deadline for submission of candidates for post of President of the Commonwealth of Dominica is September 7.

    • ROSEAU VALLEY
      August 27, 2012

      Actually, this deadline is unconstitutional and should be null and void. The UWP should immediately abandon its participation in this unconstitutional process with immediate effect as the entire process is wrong, illegal and unconstitutional.

  7. LIKE OR DISLIKE
    August 24, 2012

    @?????>>>> Poor you!Must be suffering from some form of inferior complex.Go get a live.

  8. Emma
    August 24, 2012

    You know, I am truly disappointed that His Excellency, the President, the guardian of our Constitution would disregard the provisions of section 119 of the Constitution and submit his letter of resignation directly to the Prime Minister and not the Speaker. Now why would the Speaker accept this. If I were the opposition, I would not continue taking part in this constitutional fiasco.

    • Way Papa
      August 25, 2012

      The President did not submit a resignation to the Prime Minister. Didn’t u listen to the House proceedings? He informed the Prime Minister of his intention to demit the office prematurely hence the PM could begin the process of looking for a replacement. The Speaker isn’t the one who looks for a replacement. So in time he will formally write to her.

  9. cool running
    August 24, 2012

    Skeritt who is bent on twisting truth and disregarding our constitution, thought he could fool workers; but he dead wrong!
    How dear you ask parliament to vote for a president when the term of the sitting president has not expired, and he has not submitted a letter of resignation stating his intention to resign? If according to the PM the president submitted one to him, then why not make it available to both opposition members and members of the house? Was he the one that hired him? Was it not a joint agreement between himself and leader of opposition? Why keep letter to yourself as if you are the boss of Dominica and that you bigger than the constitution?
    What if is a fake resignation knowing fully well that the opposition would not accept another person like Mr. Liverpool and therefore they would give Skeritt an idea of who they (workers)would nominate, which would give Skerrite a better idea of how to prepare for the general election he is planning to call? Go school aggain Skeritt and let your former teacher, Edison James educate you with your hard head.

  10. Monsieur Pawol
    August 24, 2012

    The observations made by the opposition is very valid. Notwhithstanding, Ihope they select a suitable candidate as their nominee for election, and, whether that candidate is slected or not to be president, it will serious implications for the DLP led government. If unconfirmed reports say Eluid Williams is the government’s choice for president, then probably a suitable UWP caandidate could be Sir Brian Alleyne. Looking to see who the UWP chooses and the directions the presidency will take and the impact the presidential elections and candidates could have on either the DLP and or the UWP…

    My choice for President of the Commonwealth of Dominica is non other than Sir Brian Alleyne.

    Those in favour vote “Aye” and those against vote “Naye” :wink:

  11. Just saying
    August 24, 2012

    PM Skerrit, please provide the oposition with the ‘letter of intent to vacate the seat by the president’ as requested by Hon. John. Please try to avoid all these unnecessary ‘roro’ between you and the opposition leader.

    • B.E.B
      August 24, 2012

      I cant see the purpose of that letter. So u are saying that all top Govt. officials who vacate their post, retire or resign should submit a letter of their intent to the opposition leader. Did he obtain any letter from either of the Chief of police who were retired, would he object them and would he object the resignation letter of Mr. Liverpool?
      On another note every one knows who is the Govt’s. norminee why cant we know who is the oppoition’s norminee? I’m awaiting to hear who is that person

    • Choice X
      August 24, 2012

      Have you ever notice that when it comes to appointments/elections of officials according to the constitution this government goes out of its way to flout the constitution?

      The sadder thing is that their are intelligent people in this state who insist that disregard of the tenets and protocols of the constitution is acceptable once its thier favorite personanity that is the culprit

  12. August 24, 2012

    In my humble opinion, the UWP is making things too bad for them self. they should really be thinking of ways and means of re-building their party and get ready for the next General Election.
    I will start by giving them a few points.
    decide who is really the leader.
    get rid of some old heads and get new heads.
    come up with a plan as to how they are going to take Dominica to the next leavel.
    convience Dominican to vote for them in the next Election.

    • August 24, 2012

      All I would like to say to you is to get a copy of the CONSTITUTION and take the time to read it carefully if their a sections that you dont understand ask a lawyer to explain it for then and only them you can post your comments, And in other countries young as well as older individuals run for government.

    • Not a herd follower
      August 25, 2012

      You are confusing the issue. The issue is not about the UWP but the election of a President in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution. For God’s sake, stop being politically partisan and lend your support to the upholding of the Supreme Law of the land, the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

  13. Uneducated
    August 24, 2012

    Sections 24 / 25 of the Constitution makes provision for the removal of the President from office other than by resignation or effluxion of time. If the President were to tender a letter of resignation, based on the constitutional method of replacement that involves the PM and Leader of the Opposition, that letter MUST be sent to both office holders and to the Speaker since the Speaker must convene Parliament for that purpose. Therefore, how on earth can you be called to Parliament by the PM and told “Trust me, I have a letter of resignation” so lets vote for a new President? I hope that every right thinking individual will agree that failure to produce the letter will leave room for the unconstitutional removal of office of a President. What if the PM one day gets up and says I want the President gone but I cannot justify it under sections 24 /25, so I will have the Speaker convene Parliament and inform them that “I have a letter of resignation and I am not showing it to any of you” and then 10 years later, in his/her memoirs, the ex-President writes that I was forced out of office? Then that would have been unconstitutional. So come on, please show the letter to the Parliamentarians who have a constitutional duty to uphold the constitution, so they can ensure that they are voting for a President who by incontrovertible proof has in fact resigned or indicated his desire to do so.

  14. August 24, 2012

    yes indeed, lord have mercy on my beloved Country and its people, john is becoming like doubting Thomas.

  15. Soon Come.
    August 24, 2012

    I do agree that the office of the President should be decided by votes from the people and not a few.
    It makes perfect sense.

  16. 4u2C
    August 24, 2012

    Folks some of us are too PARTY blind. Election the President means going through a process. Even if the opposition had their differences with the current president that does NOT mean due process should be curtailed or skipped over. To elect a president there must be a vacancy. For their to be a vacancy someone must resign or fired! If the president is resigning then it should be in writing with the effective date. The opposition is asking for DUE PROCESS, what is wrong with that?
    Let liverpool submit his resignation and the PM can share it with the cabinet. That is tranparency and thats is what needed to be done. THIS IS PRE-SCHOOL procedure, what so difficut in that to understand and have it done?
    We folks think the opposition don’t represent anyone? People vote them and they have just as much say. Thank God for them or else the country would have been sold to different takers.
    Opposition stand your ground and follow the constitution because that is our BIBLE for the country.

  17. Sum Fing Not Wong
    August 24, 2012

    I just thought of a few names who, in my humble opinion, could be considered for the office of President. Here they are:
    Professor Gerald Grell
    Magistrate Clifford Ossie Lewis
    Counselor Eamon Defraitas
    Rev. Watty
    Archbishop Kelvin Felix

    There are a couple others who I prefer not to name as I do not want this to be a back-and-forth matter. Also, I did not consider the age of the men.

    • B.E.B
      August 24, 2012

      Is Eamon De Fraitas a Dominican? I’m just asking

    • Rebel
      August 24, 2012

      you lost me at Gerald Grell

    • Ron C
      August 25, 2012

      Archbishop Kelvin Felix and Reverend Waty do not qualify for the position of President simply because they do not also qualify to be elected to the parliament. The disqualifying factor is that they are both members of the Clergy. The constitution disqualifies any member of the clergy from being elected to parliament and so they too are disqualified from being elected to the presidency.

      • Justice and Truth
        August 26, 2012

        @ Ron C

        Actually, I can vouch for them that they are not interested. They are well set for life in the Lord. They have their work set out for them, in the Lord. Clergy are to concern themselves about the affairs of the Lord and not the affairs of politics. Furthermore, they are busy others also praying for Dominica, nationals, politicians and others. God knows prayers are needed for them; that they are in dire need of prayers, God’s blessing and graces.

      • Sum Fing Not Wong
        August 26, 2012

        Good observation, Ron C. I was of the opinion that those good clerics had retired. Someone, not you Ron C, asked whether Eamon Defraitas is Dominican and the answer is a definite “Yes!”
        Is there a public question about the suitability of Professor Grell?

  18. Doc. Love
    August 24, 2012

    When will the Skerrit Labor Party learn to do things right.Why not ask the President to resign and prevent all that roro.What if in the next few days the President has a change of heart and request the so called letter to be returned.Mr. President just tender your resignation,in my opinion,this intended resignation makes no sence.

  19. Observer
    August 24, 2012

    There is a typograpjical error the deadline is September 7th 2012 and not December 7th 2012.

    Is the opposition serious. they shouldbe happy to that the process for choosing another President is on. here is an organizationthat has not shyed away from demonstrating their total disregard for the office of the President, particulalry the incumbent. They have done everything to publicly demonstrate their disregard for HE Liverpool. Today they want to be sure (put it in writing they say) that President Liverpool intends to demit office once the process of choosing a replacement is completed.

    Are they serious? Now they have a chnace to make practical their nominee media pronouncements of transparency, good governance, the people’s right to know etc and they are hiding. They must now tell the people who thier party nominee is.

    When the UWP dumped President Sorhaindo after only one term as head of state, they had a slim one seat majority (11-10). And the “Ayes” had it when the vote was taken for their choice of candidate for President. Now the statistics show a lanslide type majority (18-3). They expect to put their candidate up and win? That candidate has no concern for the office of President.They are only thinking of themselves. Why should I put up my name for the position when I know that there is absolutely no hope of success – none whatsoever. the is the system we have been living with. Too bad for those who cannot understand and who are driven only by selfish motives.

    • Grey Popon
      August 24, 2012

      Observer you seem to be disgusted by the petty politics yet you are using petty politics to down cry petty politics. Maybe it would be wise to take the high road and support due process under the law. I agree with you on the point that the government will have their way anyway but nevertheless the opposition is right. To me it is professional courtesy to provide a letter of resignation. The office of the president should conduct business in a more professional manner.
      The opposition is playing opposition politics with the issue however why pay a blind eye to matters that are in violation of the constituition and be ready to pay a blind eye on other matters. The constituition must be adhered to at all times whether or not it seem trivial , partisan or otherwise.

    • Doc. Love
      August 24, 2012

      I cannot believe what I am reading.DNO has allowed an Observer to speculate that a Lawer who frequents a RUM SHOP and living an estange life with his wife could be the UWP nominee for President.I have always accused DNO to being partisan and allowing Observer his way confirms my feeling. Everyone who reads comments on DNO knows that I am no supporter of the Skerrit Labor Party and because of that, it is my opinion that 75% of my comments criticising Skerrit are deleted or being held back to be moderated from between 24 to 36 hours and you guys allowed that kind comment to be printed. What is good for the goose must be good for the gander.

    • T
      August 24, 2012

      @Observer When you have such garbage the place that fits it is the latrine, not my computer screen…

    • August 24, 2012

      things have to be done by the book read section 119 of the constitution in fact all the section under the presedent

    • LIKE OR DISLIKE
      August 24, 2012

      True say!UWP MUST TRY TO REMEMBER…

      • ?????????
        August 24, 2012

        @ LIKE OR DISLIKE: I agree with you that UWP isreally remembering land transfer fee that was not paid to the treasury under the pretext of mistake, villas,bin and fertilizer bobol which brought back more than $500 000 to the treasury, how our passports are in the hands of crooks and criminals,how agriculture is in its coffin now,the mendicancy syndrome which you are part of,and the list goes on and on and on and on…..
        THAT’S THE EVIL YOU ARE PART OF!

    • Looking in
      August 24, 2012

      What are you really trying to say?
      Do some homework before you yap crap..

    • >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
      August 24, 2012

      @ Observer Is either your head is smoked and far gone, or you are a lazy beggar picking up crumbs from under your master’s table..You are one of those who are taking this country to hell.

    • Anonymous
      August 25, 2012

      observer, never in my life have I encountered a person as dishonest as you.You know perfectly well that what the opposition has done is the correct thing to do, yet you come here making this dishonest statement above.
      Skerritt and the president are the ones creating confusion in the country and this issue is yet another example of that. Let us assume that skerritt didn’t know what the proper procedure is, are you saying that Liverpool is also ignorant of the process? From the moment the news came out that skerritt had written to the leader of the opposition, he should have realised that there was a problem and called skerritt in to rectify it. If you ask me, I believe that this letter of consultation to Mr. John was just another ploy but this time their bluff was called so they had no choice than to continue with the flawed process to save face and Liverpool was part of the plot. Had Mr. John said to them that he had no notice of the resignation of the president and so would not be meeting to discuss the matter they would go all over saying that the opposition is not taking the business of state seriously.
      To your silly rant of naming their candidate,the opposition will do that once due process has been followed and not before.

  20. genesis
    August 24, 2012

    Here goes another merry-go-round. Why can’t the populace vote for a president the same way they vote for a prime minister? the constitution needs to change!

    • hmhmh
      August 24, 2012

      Better yet, I say get rid of that position or restructure it where the president will be a working one.

  21. Anonymous
    August 24, 2012

    Admin two week from today is September 7th right?

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