It appears that the Government and the Opposition have drawn a line when it comes to nominating a Speaker of the House of Assembly which will be convened in February.
The government has already nominated Alix Boyd-Knights for the job and Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is sticking to the choice.
On the other hand, the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is adamant that Boyd-Knights, who has been in the position for the past 14 years, is just not the right person.
As a matter of fact Opposition Leader, Lennox Linton, said the UWP is willing to meet with the Prime Minister to discuss another nominee.
“We would like to discuss it with the Prime Minister,” he said.
At a ceremony for the swearing-in of new ministers on December 15, 2014, Skerrit announced that the government will be nominating Boyd-Knights as its nominee for House Speaker in the new Parliament.
The news was greeted with disappointment by the UWP with Linton saying that a more balance and more impartial Speaker was the best way forward.
But it seems that his concerns have fallen on deaf ears because Skerrit told state-owned DBS Radio on Monday that the government is not changing its position when it comes to nominating Boyd-Knights.
“Alix Boyd-Knights still remains our nominee, our candidate for the Speaker of the House,” he said. “That still stands. We believe that she has demonstrated her ability to maintain order in the House of Assembly and she has done so without favor, affection or ill will or any fear.”
He said the government looks forward to her reappointment as Speaker.
But Linton has a completely different take on the matter saying Boyd-Knights is an unsuitable candidate who has not distinguished herself on the job.
“The position of the UWP going into parliament has not changed,” he stated. “Alix Boyd-Knights is unsuitable to continue as Speaker of the House and we have said that.”
Linton said the position of the Opposition is based on the record of the long-serving Speaker.
“She’s been cantankerous, she’s been vindictive, she’s been divisive over the years, she has carried slavishly the agenda of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) in the Parliament,” he stated. “And we do not think that is good for the Parliament.”
Linton noted that the Opposition will nominate someone who is “eminently qualified” and “extremely competent” for the position and is willing to meet the Prime Minister to discuss it.
“We prefer to discuss it with the government, the Prime Minister before we make this public,” he stated.
He said the discussion will be based “on the national interest” on the Opposition’s choice for Speaker.
He noted this will be best for the Parliament of Dominica and not necessarily reflect a dislike for Boyd-Knights.
“We’ve always argued that it is the best of us that should take care for the rest of us,” Linton stated.
Boyd-Knights has been the longest serving Speaker of the House in the history of Dominica. She was first elected in April 2000 and was re-elected in July 2005 and February 2010.