A Motion of No Confidence against Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, tabled in Parliament by Opposition Leader Lennox Linton has been defeated.
Mr Linton tabled the following motion during the Second Meeting of the Second Session of the Ninth Parliament under the Commonwealth of Dominica Constitution on Wednesday 19 October 2016;
“Whereas the Honorable Prime Minister has mismanaged the economy of Dominica, as evidenced by rising unemployment, sharp decline in the performance of the agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, construction and service sectors, an increase in the trade deficit, and a massive national debt, be it resolved that this Honourable House expresses its lack of confidence in the leadership of the Prime Minister, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit.”
Member of Parliament for the Roseau North Constituency, Daniel Lugay seconded the motion.
In presenting arguments on the motion tabled, Mr Linton said the effective management of the economy of Dominica “has been reduced to a laughing matter” by the Members of the other side of Parliament “who are satisfied with achieving the worst economic management performance in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union”.
“It’s something that they scoff at, it is something that they scorn when observations are made about where we are and where we should have been, had we pursued more enlightened, more visionary economic policies and had we been more diligent, had we been more responsible, in our management of the affairs of the Commonwealth of Dominica,” he added.
Mr Linton claimed that for the years that this economy has been under the management of the Prime Minister, “we have seen stagnation”.
While Mr Linton stated that the government’s revenue has grown through the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Economic Citizenship Program, he said it has not resulted in a benefit to the citizenry.
“It’s not that the economy is growing, it’s that the people of Dominica are being taxed more in the same overburdened economy and revenues from the sale of passport have buffered the situation so to speak, but the economy has stagnated, it has not provided more jobs, we have not seen an expansion in investments in the productive sector, and our Dominican people, especially the young Dominicans, have not been able to find work. So, employment is a problem, new investment is a problem, growing the economy, getting vibrant economic activity going in the country, remains a problem and the Members on the other side of the House are proud of that because they have gotten to a stage in Dominica where they no longer understand what it means for people to suffer, what It means for people to struggle to make ends meet because that is not their lot in life anymore,” Mr Linton argued.
During Mr Linton’s presentation, he stated that the Prime Minister has been “appointing all sorts of ambassadors all over the world, giving the impression that what he’s really doing is trying to expand economic opportunities, trying to grow the pie in Dominica so that more people can benefit, in fact, what we have ended up with is a whole series of questionable characters, hurting the image of Dominica in the international community while the Prime Minister hands them out diplomatic passports, he hands them out privileges of diplomatic immunity etc., to do what they want to do with diplomatic rank and diplomatic status, we see no benefit, no economic benefit from”.
Speaker of the House of Assembly, Alix Boyd Knights intervened to inform Mr Linton that he was “imputing improper motive” and highlighted the Standing Order Rules 86 1 & 2 and 49 which supports her statement.
But Mr Linton questioned whether the Speaker “was part of the debate”, which she deemed “rude” but allowed him to continue his presentation.
He then stated, “I was about to inquire whether that was you or whether that was the demon in you but I will not go down that road”.
The Plans by the Opposition move the Motion of No Confidence against Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit hit a wall when Lennox Linton refused the Speaker’s demand for an apology and was barred from proceeding.
The Speaker requested that he apologize to the Chair for that comment or else he would not be allowed to continue.
Mr Linton refused to apologize as according to him, “you sat in that Chair and said to the House that the demon inside of you is ordering a Member of the House to sit down. You said that, not me. What is your beef right now?”
Since Mr Linton refused to apologize, the Speaker allowed his thirty-minute time allocation to present the motion to elapse. Following the expiration of Mr Linton’s time, no Member of Parliament; neither Opposition nor government, rose to speak on the motion.
After a three-minute period of absolute silence from the opposition bench, the Speaker placed the Motion to the members of the House for a vote. There were no ayes in response and a few no’s to the motion.
Member of Parliament for Portsmouth Ian Douglas asked for a divisional vote which means that each member would have to declare their individual position to the Clerk.
Fifteen elected Members of Parliament voted against it, Member for the Roseau South, Joshua Francis abstained, while Mr Linton, who tabled the motion, Member of Parliament for Salisbury, Hector John and Member of Parliament for Roseau North, Daniel Lugay remained silent when asked by the Clerk of the House.