"My Brother, I Run Things in Dominica"
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit at the Launching of Chekira Lockhart-Hypolite, the DLP's candidate for Roseau South
In a speech full of opposition United Workers Party vitriol and the denigration of her opponent, Chekira Lockhart –Hypolite, the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) candidate for the Roseau South constituency at her launching at the New Town Savanah Sunday said she is about to make the constituency "red again."
"As your servant I am duty bound to support your development," she said. "This general election will determine the fate of Waitukubuli."
Lockhart –Hypolite, one of several new candidates that the ruling party has presented for the 2020 election campaign, said the UWP's use of "hate, negativity, fake news, propaganda must stop" and "it is time to bring that to a sudden stop."
She labelled the UWP as "political vagabonds" and "crass"; she told UWP political leader Lennox Linton to educate himself.
"I suggest you go back to school now that the tuition at the State College is free," she said.
But it was Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who took special aim at Joshua Francis, the parliamentary representative for Roseau South.
Speaking with an impaired voice at the beginning of his speech, Skerrit said Francis has had a tarnished reputation and questioned why Francis was removed from the post of deputy leader of the UWP then later replaced in that position.
"Why remove him then and endorse him now," Skerrit said. "What blatant hypocrisy!"
Then when the quality of his voice improved towards the end of his speech, Skerrit said God had cleared his throat.
"The good Lord is with me and I am with the good Lord," he said. "You cannot keep a good man down. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord!"
As one would expect Skerrit used his speech at the launching of Lockhart-Hypolite to respond to the Dominica Public Service Union's threat of using industrial action to force government to responding to proposals for salary increases for civil servants.
The DPSU said it is planning strike action from 11 June 2019.
At an April meeting of the DPSU, general secretary Thomas Letang took umbrage at Skerrit's attempt to meet directly with public servants.
"The Prime Minister is calling junior clerks to a meeting on the very blessed day when we are having our meeting," Letang said at the meeting. "I say to the Prime Minister wheel and come again. I told you nobody can stop us, nobody."
At the launch of Lockhart-Hypolite on Sunday, Prime Minister said to Letang: "My Brother, I run things in Dominica."
He promised that "every vacant position in the public sector will be filled," thus responding to a major demand of the DPSU.
"I have turned nurses to permanent secretaries; I have turned junior clerks to senior clerks. I am the prime minister who has shown the most respect to public officers," Skerrit said.
On the issue of the public support programme, otherwise known as the Red Clinic, Skerrit said the UWP is a "bunch of fake people" who are there to fool their supporters.
"To lead a people you must first love them," Skerrit said. "This is why the good Lord has led me to create the public sector support programme, the so-called Red Clinic."
He added: "I don't give people hand-outs; I give them hand-ups".
Skerrit described Lockhart –Hypolite, 35, a Bursar at the Dominica State College, as "trust-worthy, competent and inspired."
Reclaiming the Roseau South seat would be key prize for the DLP. In 2014 Francis took that seat away from Ambrose George (2185 votes to 1984) after George had won in Roseau South at three consecutive elections from 2000.