ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says even though the opposition United Workers Party (UWP) is victorious in getting the courts to overturn the results of last December’s general elections in five constituencies, the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) will continue to govern this Caribbean island.
“As I said before, if we took a decision to give the opposition the five seats they are challenging we would still have a government of 13. I do not see in the foreseeable future this government falling. I see this government being there, comfortably, for another 20 years,” Skerrit told a news conference on Wednesday.
“Our lawyers are dealing with the matter…I am not going to get involved on what is happening in the court system. Whatever decisions the court takes we shall respect and we shall move ahead.”
Lawyers for the UWP Wednesday, returned to the High Court to file a response to the DLP’s application filed last week, to strike out the petitions challenging the general elections results in five constituencies including that of Prime Minister Skerrit.
The UWP has challenged the results on the basis of alleged “irregularities in the conduct of the December 18, general elections” that the DLP won by an 18-3 margin.
“We believe that there is no reason to strike out any of the five petitions but that is a decision a judge will make. We are awaiting the court’s decision which we expect will be heard in detail shortly leading up to the 14th of June when the matter will be heard in court,” UWP leader Ron Green said.
The three opposition UWP legislators, including former prime minister Edison James, are in danger of losing their seats in Parliament after boycotting two consecutive meetings.
Prime Minister Skerrit has already told supporters to be prepared to contest the three by-elections that would become necessary if the opposition legislators miss three consecutive meetings of the Parliament without permission from the Speaker.
Skerrit announced Wednesday that the Parliament will meet for its third sitting on April 29 but Green told reporters recently that ‘whenever the next parliament is called, the UWP will take a decision as to what it does about the boycott”.
But the opposition party said it would continue to participate in the People’s Parliament, the third meeting which is set for next Tuesday in the Salisbury constituency won by Hector John, one of the opposition parliamentarians.
The organisers of the People’s Parliament said in a statement that “this session …will feature a special presentation by a prominent Dominican physician on the state of “health” in Dominica.
“This presentation will be extremely timely in light of Government’s recent issuance of a permit to establish an asphalt plant on the Layou River and their deliberations on other initiatives that may be detrimental to public health,” it said, adding that “as usual, a major part of the programme will be deliberations on issues of the day by duly elected opposition Members of Parliament.”.