Members of the two main political parties went head to head over prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit’s absence at a forum organised by the Dominica State College Journalism Club on Thursday.
When Dominica Labor Party’s representative, Dr Philbert Aaron defended the nation’s leader’s absence from the forum, he inquired as to why leader of the United Workers Party leader, Lennox Linton, who was present at the forum, was not the one addressing the audience, instead of Joshua Francis.
“My dear friends I heard the comments about the honorable Prime Minister sarcastically …. the Honorable Prime Minister being interested in youth and not being here but he has a reason” Aaron said. “He runs a country. What you should ask is, what explains why Mr Linton cannot sit here and address a Dominica State College crowd.”
This immediately prompted Linton out of his seat who dashed to the podium to give a response.
However, he was stopped by the forum’s moderator, Jaisiah Benoit who reminded the audience that only two speakers were permitted to speak.
“In a forum such as this you have two speakers,” he stated. “Only these two speakers are permitted to speak at the podium. So please understand that it is basic house rules that we are sticking to.”
Francis would not accept Aaron’s reason for Skerrit’s absence describing it as “rather unfortunate.”
“I heard Dr Aaron saying that the Prime Minister has a keen interest in youth,” he noted. “I must say that it is an indictment to the prime minister who has keen interest in youth and yet is absent here today and finally I must say today is constituency day in Dominica, which means that the prime minister and his ministers are more likely in their constituency offices. It is rather unfortunate.”
Francis also condemned earlier remarks by Aaron, which he described as “attacks” on the UWP political leader.
“It is easy when you are not in office to have all the plans in the world,” Aaron had said. “It is even sexier to be in the opposition, no responsibility, no commitments, curse the Chinese today, be in the building that they helped to build the next day. So my dear friends, you recognize that in the 20th century it was possible, maybe even acceptable, to have a leader who could not present his CV to the public. But I say respectfully today, among you the intelligent of Dominica, that talking about hope, talking about a brighter economy it is not making any sense to entrust, subject our economy to a man, Mr Linton, … to a man who does not present his educational background to Dominica.”
Francis said Aaron’s remarks represent the type of politics that the DLP is known for.
“What we heard a few minutes ago is an epitome or a representation of the type of politics that is the Dominica Labor party, and I do not have the energy to extend on personal attacks and on matters that have nothing to do with the price of sugar in Dominica,” he said.