ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday December 18, 2019 – A man who once served as President of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has been tasked to lead a commission that will advise the new administration in Dominica on how to improve its electoral system.
Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who promised in his election victory speech that electoral reform would be a priority for his new administration, yesterday named Sir Dennis Byron as the sole Commissioner to a National Commission on Electoral Reform.
“The government has invited and the invitation has been accepted to perform the service of sole commissioner by the Right Honorable Sir Charles Michael Dennis Byron, eminent Caribbean jurist,” he said.
Skerrit said his government was “humbled” to have Sir Dennis, who served as the CCJ’s second president – from September 2011 to July 2018 –, give guidance to the process of electoral reform.
“The terms of reference of the Commission will be announced early in the new year, at which time a secretariat will also be established to support Sir Dennis’ work,” he added.
The Prime Minister said the establishment of the Commission “will inspire confidence at home and abroad in the transparency and impartiality of the process”.
When he first announced plans for the Commission, he said public hearings would be held throughout the country for Dominicans to appear before the Commission and give their views, and that provisions would also be made for anonymous submissions as well as for an open discussion forum on social media sites.
Skerrit, whose Dominica Labour Party (DLP) won the December 6th general election 18-3 to give him the honour of being the first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leader to serve for four consecutive terms, announced Sir Dennis’ role at the swearing-in ceremony of his new Cabinet.
The minister took the oath of office yesterday evening at a more than three-hour-long ceremony at Windsor Park Sports Stadium, hours after Prime Minister Skerrit had been was sworn in as Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Investment, Planning, Sustainable Development, Telecommunications and Broadcasting.
The other 18 members of the Cabinet are:
Reginald Austrie – Senior Minister and Minister of Housing and Urban Development
Rayburn Blackmore – Minister of National Security and Home Affairs
Kenneth Darroux – Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations
Fidel Grant – Minister of Blue and Green Economy, Agriculture and National Food Security
Denise Charles – Minister of Tourism, International Transport, and Maritime Initiatives
Dr Adis King – Minister of Youth Development and Empowerment, Youth at Risk, Gender Affairs, Seniors’ Security, and Dominicans With Disabilities
Ian Douglas – Minister of Trade, Commerce, Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Export Development
Gretta Roberts – Minister of Governance, Public Service Reform, Citizen Empowerment, Social Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs
Frederick Cozier – Minister of the Environment, Rural Modernisation and Kalinago Upliftment
Dr Irving McIntyre – Minister of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment
Cassani Laville – Minister of Public Works and The Digital Economy
Roselyn Paul – Minister of Sports, Culture and Community Development
Octavia Alfred – Minister of Education, Human Resource Planning, Vocational Training and National Excellence
Oscar George – Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, with responsibility for Telecommunications and Broadcasting
Gregory “Karessah” Riviere – Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning
Edward Registe – Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations, with Specific responsibility for Diaspora Relations
Chekira Lockhart-Hypolite – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, International Transport, and Maritime Initiatives, with special responsibility for Air and Sea Port Operations
Kent Edwards – Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry Of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, with particular responsibility for Community and Home Care
Prime Minister Skerrit did not name a deputy prime minister; neither did he include his wife, Melissa Poponne Skerrit, in the Cabinet. However, he appointed her chairperson of the Roseau Vision 2020, mandated to help develop the island’s capital into a new city.