Houses for all, including the Prime Minister
News Review 2020:Politics in 2020
In 2020 a proposed home for Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at Morne Daniel was the talk of the town.
Responding to acerbic criticism in parliament and elsewhere from the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP) about the allocation of more than a quarter million dollars a year to rent a building as the prime minister's residence, Skerrit said Dominicans must never again subject a prime minister to such indignity.
He did not deny the figures.
"We believe Cabinet's decision to rent the palatial property at Morne Daniel so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied its mind to the question to be decided could have arrived at it," Opposition Leader Lennox Linton said in a response to the 2020/2021 budget address of Prime Minister Skerrit.
In response, Dominica Labour Party (DLP) spokesman Anthony Astaphan said Prime Minister Skerrit was entitled to the $32,000 monthly residence.
"When is the Leader of the Opposition going to grow up, be mature and make sensible statements to the people? He is just obsessed. The Prime Minister is entitled to the house given the office he holds," Astaphan said.
In support of the UWP, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) organised a demonstration at the foot of the hill at Morne Daniel.
"(The objective of the demonstration was) to create some form of public awareness and to bring an end to that level of plundering of the country's resources," said the new CCM president Earl Bruno. "Our goal is to bring back some sanity and pride and dignity into Dominica once and for all."
In Need of a Housing Revelation
As the Sun reported in October Government had maintained a cloud of secrecy over the criteria for the distribution of houses.
Officials did not answer the simplest of questions: how and who decides who gets what.
Government's lack of transparency in its handling of the much-touted housing programme was raising much concern among the opposition and the general population alike, with one social activist calling for a public probe into the process.
The prime minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has repeatedly promoted his plan to build 5,000 climate-resilient homes, boasting recently that some 1,500 people had already received keys.
In a couple of election-like-campaign-events in early October, Mr. Skerrit delivered sixty houses to residents of Grand Bay and Jimmit.
The Grand Bay development cost $12 million; each apartment unit cost $400,000, the officials said.
With funds from the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI), Government embarked on what it called "a housing revolution" after the island was battered by the category five Hurricane Maria on 17 September, 2017.
Speaker Joseph Isaac Makes Grand Entrance
Joseph Isaac, a former member of the opposition UWP, made his first grand entrance as Speaker of the House of Assembly when Dominica held its first meeting of parliament on 10th February 2020 after the December 2019 general election.
Note that Isaac replaced Alix Boyd-Knights who had sat in that chair from 2000. As a parting gift, Boyd-Knights was named Speaker Emeritus.
During that meeting, Isaac's deputy, Phillip Role (the 24-year-old grandson of Alix Boyd Knights) and nine senators from the ruling DLP and the opposition UWP vowed to serve the nation "without fear or ill will".
For the DLP, the following were appointed senators: Cassani Laville, Oscar George, Gregory Riviere, Phillip Role and Nicholas Esprit.
For the opposition UWP, the following senators took the oath of allegiance: Ernie Lawrence Jno Finn, Francisca Joseph, Anette Sanford and Clement Marcellin Jr.
Police Arrest Lugay
New police action in August against opposition politicians raised fears of home grown versions of Haiti's Tonton Macoute and Grenada's Mongoose Gang.
That was the conclusion of UWP's political leader Linton based on an incident on Saturday, 15 August, during which Daniel "Danny" Lugay, the member of parliament for Roseau North, was allegedly forcibly removed from his vehicle by the security detail of the Prime Minister at Morne Daniel.
Complains of Lack of Transparency of Plans to Build International Airport
Villagers of Wesley, the site of a proposed international airport, complained about the lack of transparency and of the absence of development plans for the building of Dominica's first international airport near Wesley.
The building of an international airport has been a controversial issue for decades. The last effort was undertaken by the UWP administration of Edison James (1995 to 2000) but the site and other development plans have been rejected by this current DLP administration.