Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says he intends to bow out of active politics following the next general election, constitutionally due by March next year, but widely expected to be held later this year.
Skerrit became Prime Minister after the death of Pierre Charles in January 2004. At the age of 31, he became the world’s youngest head of government, surpassing Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Skerrit, addressing Dominicans residing in this Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country, said that he also intends to step down as political leader of the ruling Dominica Labour Party (DLP) following the general election.
“This evening, ladies and gentlemen we introduced to you some of the new faces in the line-up in the Dominica Labour Party. We recognise that the task ahead will be long and will be tough.
“We want to ensure that there is a much needed transition to new ideas and new talents and new energies. I have already made it very clear that this will be my last election as leader of the party. The transition is starting now and next time around it will continue with persons such as myself giving way to new talents, outlook and energy in the Dominica Labour Party,” he told the public rally on Sunday night.
But he said “no one is leaving the Dominica Labour Party and the Dominica Labour Party is certainly not turning its back on anyone. There is plenty work to be done and there is a place for every labourite in the house of Labour”.
In his address, Skerrit told Dominicans that they should consider coming home given that the employment opportunities, particularly in the tourism sector, would become available.
He said that several hotels would be opening this year and several others are under construction, including franchises like Hilton.
“In the next week, the Labour Party government will sign a contract for a new 100 room hotel …on our present track, Dominica in the next 36 months will have the most modern tourism infrastructure in the Caribbean,” Skerrit said.
“What I am saying here to you Dominicans in Antigua and Barbuda I will need you to come home and help me run these hotels and resorts, you have gained tremendous experience over the years here in Antigua and Dominica needs you know to run and manage those hotels,” Skerrit added.
Skerrit has not yet named a date for the general election, but the two main political parties, including the United Workers Party (UWP) have already announced their candidates for the polls.
In the last general election, the DLP won 15 of the 21 seats.