Denise Charles(From her Facebook page)
Denise Charles(From her Facebook page)

Names keep coming up, like out of a hat, since Ian Pinard, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) Member of Parliament for Soufriere decided to quit as the people's representative.

Pinard resigned his parliamentary seat last Tuesday for health reasons and because of a pending court matter.

There's the name of Denise Charles who may fill the Pinard vacuum for the DLP and Nissa Williams for the opposition United Workers Party (UWP). (Note that these names have not been confirmed by the candidates or their party).

But in the case of the DLP, the search for a candidate to contest the vacant seat within 90 days should be short and shallow. Charles is Pinard's close confidant and she is his choice to replace him, we have been told.

Charles is a member of the board of directors of the Agricultural and Industrial Development (AID) Bank and of the Public Works Garage. She is also a member of the Pointe Michel Village Council and is employed at the Jimmit-based Petro Caribe, an institution that Pinard managed before becoming a minister in the Skerrit administration. She is also very close to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, sources tell the Sun.

"She was always seen as a replacement for Pinard, she is Skerrit ears and eyes in the constituency and Pinard has endorsed her with the full blessings of Skerrit," a close source of the ruling DLP said.

Charles lives in Pointe Michel and comes from a Labour Party family. Her father Victor "Marshall" Charles was a top advocate for the DLP during the Patrick John era.

The Soufriere/Scottshead/Gillion/Pointe Michel constituency is a relatively safe DLP seat and no surprise is expected in the upcoming by-election.

The UWP has tried several times to capture that seat but it has not been successful starting with Leslie Etienne, the former manager of the then La Salette Credit Union who battled in a two-way race with the Dominica Freedom Party's (DFP) Charles Maynard; in addition Dennis Labassiere contested twice and lost; Ferdinand Frampton also lost followed by the current Dominica Football Association (DFA) president Glen Etienne and, lastly, Higgs Adams lost in 2014.

Pinard won for the DLP in 2005, Sam Martin in 2009 and Pinard again in 2014. The DFP last won the seat in 2000 through Frederick Baron. In the meantime, the UWP is putting its troops together as the party seeks a suitable candidate for the by-election and according to our sources, while Adams did well in the general election, he may be replaced.

"They are looking for a woman since the DLP has a woman to make it an all-woman affair and it may also be a Point Michel woman," the source said.

Former carnival queen contestant Nissa Williams has been suggested, though unconfirmed as a possible candidate for the UWP in the battle for Soufriere.