A special sitting of Parliament was held on Friday morning to officially inform members that the office of the President is to become vacant.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit told parliament that the country’s current President, H.E. Dr. Nicholas J.O Liverpool is unable to complete his second term in office which ends in September 2013 due to ill health.
The matter before Parliament refers directly to the remainder of the term of the current president.
The Prime Minister explained that the constitution never made provisions for the current situation where a sitting president intends to resign.
“There is the doctrine of necessity which allows for a particular process to go through and we are now adopting the process as if, to some extent the post has become vacant by virtue of the end of a term. We are not going through the 90 day period that is required because it is an emergency situation.”
The Prime Minister stated that section 28 of the Constitution cannot be relied upon in this instance because section 28 makes provisions specifically for an acting president.
“Section 28 deals with illness, if the president is out of state or if the president has been suspended for whatever reason. Neither of these three represents the matter at hand. What we are talking about is the resignation of the President and therefore somebody needs to fill the post.”
“The country being left without a head of state is something we have been trying to avoid. It is unacceptable and we have tried everything to ensure this does not occur.”
The Dominica constitution states that if the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition agree on a joint nominee for the Presidency, then the Speaker will be advised in writing and the individual will be elected without putting the question to a vote.
However, if they do not agree, the Speaker will be advised and the House of Assembly will be informed accordingly. Then, within 14 days, the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition or any three members of the House may submit to the Speaker “by writing under their hands, nominations of candidates for election as President.
The Speaker advised the house, Friday morning that the Prime Minister and the leader of the Opposition had not agreed on a joint nomination and stated, “I now have to let you know that 14 days from today, I will effectively close the period during which I will accept nominations for the candidate for the election of president and you are so advised” she told parliament.
The deadline for submission of candidates for post of President is September 7.
Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit in a post interview announced that Eliud Williams is government's nominee for the office of President.
Williams is a former permanent secretary who has worked in the public service for decades. He has also worked at ECTEL. Williams has also been a Chairman and member of various statutory boards across Dominica and has been involved in the private sector.
“We believe that Mr. Williams is highly qualified individual. As I indicated on previous occasions, we did not get the support of the leader of the Opposition to have a joint nominee, therefore the Government will write to the Honourable Speaker of The House of Assembly indicating our candidate for the post of President of Dominica.”