The war of words between the government and opposition parliamentary candidate Dr Thomson Fontaine continues as Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit on Thursday, accused Dr Fontaine of the UWP of “preaching violence” while Dr Fontaine maintained that he stood by his original statement and that the government is using his claims about a group of young men of Fond Cole being prepared to “shoot people” to say that he advocated “class warfare” in Dominica.
Speaking last night at the inauguration of the Village Council in Vieille Case, the Prime Minister said, “How could you want to be leader of this country and promoting this falsehood about our country? You hear them preaching violence. We have to respect people! Not everyone can support me and I respect that, but I am not going to tell anyone to kill you because you don’t support me. It is because these people are preaching a sermon of hate, of violence that a man could ask you for guns to kill somebody.”
However, as reported by DBS radio, Dr Fontaine said at a UWP meeting in Miami last night that he had met a group of 10 young men from Fond Cole one morning and that most of them weren’t registered to vote. According to Fontaine, they began to say: “Well we don’t want to hear you politicians. What we want from you is guns because we are prepared to shoot people.” In relating this story, he said, it “somehow became that I advocated killing Haitians and Chinese. They are using this to say that Thomson Fontaine has advocated class warfare in Dominica. I was relating it because it showed me the level of frustration that exists.”
Dr Fontaine said that he never felt threatened by the youth. “They were not violent. They simply wanted a chance for life. That, more than anything else, strengthened my resolve to do what we are doing.”
However, in his press statement, Prime Minister Skerrit said the image of Dominica presented by Fontaine is not a true depiction of what is happening in Dominica. He echoed an earlier call by Minister of Education Petter Saint Jean in asking all Dominicans to condemn Dr Fontaine’s remarks.
According to the Prime Minister’s statement, this is not the first time the UWP has made comments that are “detrimental to the country” citing that UWP leader Lennox Linton last month described the elderly beneficiaries of the “Yes We Care” program as “greedy not needy” on Radio Q95.
As reported at the time, Mr Linton later said: “I never meant to say that the people who are genuinely in need and are benefiting from the social programs of government are greedy. If that is what I communicated, I apologise.”
Also at the Vieille Case meeting was Minister for Local Government Gloria Shillingford. She congratulated the Council for keeping the village clean and beautiful. Mr Skerrit encouraged the councillors to work together for the benefit of the people and to move the community forward.
Stella Leblanc, a retired nurse, was elected chairwoman of the Council.