Lindo Park controversy continues
For once they agree. But this doesn't mean a new policy of détente has emerged between the Roosevelt Skerrit Dominica Labour Party (DLP) administration and the near two decades old Lindo Park Improvement Committee.
Committee member and MP for Roseau North, Daniel "Danny" Lugay, has repeatedly claimed that politics was behind the government's decision to stop a project to improve Lindo Park. Lugay, a member of the opposition United Workers Party (UWP), contends that Skerrit is punishing the entire Goodwill community simply to get at him.
And in what is likely to add legitimacy to his claim, a senior official of the DLP has called on the entire committee to be replaced, contending that 20 years was more than enough and that new blood was needed.
"That committee has been there for too long. They should elect a new committee, they should form a new committee," said this person, a former community leader who spoke to The Sun on condition of anonymity because he is no longer active. "You can't just have a committee just going on and going on," he said in a comment before the latest hostile exchanges between Lugay and Skerrit over the stalled project which is being financed by Australia and New Zealand to the tune of approximately EC$70,000.
In a surprise reaction, Lugay has told The Sun that he is prepared to prepared to hand over the baton to anyone willing to take over and do the necessary work. However, he added it would not be wise to do so while the future of the improvement project remained uncertain.
"In the days when there were sports clubs using the park that would be very easy to do but there's no more clubs using the park. We had a meeting with some young people asking them to be involved in the committee but now that the project is in the making, I don't want to step aside," Lugay told The Sun.
"It's not anything like we're forcing ourselves on the committee, anybody willing to take the baton…we would welcome anybody," he added. "I'd be happy to step aside."
In the latest display of hostilities, the prime minister has accused Lugay and other members of the committee of failing to attend a meeting with the sports minister, Justina Charles, and a team from the ministry of sports, called to discuss the stalled project. Only the chairman, Justin Nibbs, attended and there was no explanation for the absence of the remaining committee members, Skerrit claimed. However, Lugay has retorted by calling Skerrit a liar.
"The Ministry wrote to the Lindo Park Committee (inviting them) to a meeting which I believe was attended by the Minister herself and her officials, but only one person from the LPIC came to the meeting, that is Mr Nibbs," the Prime Minister told the media.
Lugay has produced a copy of a letter from the Ministry of Sports, which he said contradicted the prime minister. The letter, dated May 15, is addressed to Nibbs and signed by Mandra Fagan of the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Culture and Constituency Empowerment.
"The Honourable Minister wishes to invite you to a meeting on Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 10:00 am at her office to discuss the details of the project which you wish to undertake and to determine how best the Ministry of Sport may assist in ensuring the proper execution of the project," the letter states.
Lugay told The Sun the letter was proof that the prime minister sought to deceive the country on the matter.
"The whole world can see he is a liar," Lugay said.
Détente seems a long way away.