Politics in 2018
Politics, as in other years, dominated discussions in Dominica in 2018. It was on the menu everywhere; it was available anytime-morning, noon and after dinner; it was the blood that flowed in the people's veins.
That's expected because throughout the year Government and Opposition were at each other's throats.
For example, Lennox Linton, the Leader of the Opposition United Workers Party (UWP), was charged with incitement and obstruction stemming from a public meeting on 7th February 2017 on Kennedy Avenue near Government Headquarters. During the trial, hundreds of UWP supporters gathered on the Dame Eugenia Boulevard in Roseau to demonstrate solidarity with members of the UWP who were charged with obstruction.
During the trial also, observers said it was rather strange that Trinidad lawyer Israel Khan was prosecuting the case for the Government and there appeared to be a sinister reason for taking the matter to court.
"If Lennox Linton has a criminal conviction he cannot be a member of parliament [and that is what they want]," one government lawyer said.
"Strange indeed," said former Antiguan Attorney General Justin Simon who is representing a member of the UWP. Then, earlier in 2018, the opposition parties forced Government to postpone the passage of the 2018 Anti-terrorism Act; they said the Bill must state exactly what Government means by terrorism. Debate on the relatively hefty 2018 Anti-terrorism Bill was scheduled to be discussed at the meeting of Parliament scheduled for 25th June 2018.
Additionally, there was much opposition to proposed changes to the Registration of Electors Act. The vexing issue revolved around plans to amend the Registration of Electors Act to establish registration offices abroad, mainly at the island's foreign offices.
Meanwhile, as the country prepared for another general election, constitutionally due in 2020, all political parties were behind the scenes preparing their team of candidates.
Dr. Sam Christian, the former Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) member, and the UWP announced that Christian would contest the seat in Soufriere. But following a freak vehicular accident in December one wonders whether Dr. Christian's political ambitions have been wiped away. He is now recovering after emergency surgery in Martinique.
Then the UWP announced that Glenroy "Soso" Cuffy would be its candidate for Roseau Central following the defection of Parliamentary Representative Joseph Isaac to the ruling DLP.
Earlier Isaac had shocked Dominicans, even his party leader, with the news that he had become an "independent" candidate. But Isaac did not remain "independent" for very long; he sat with the Government in the House of Assembly.
In a major Cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Skerrit appointed Isaac Minister of the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal.
Reginald Austrie, the Parliamentary Representative for Cottage, was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture.
As the political heat intensified The Sun revealed that teacher Gretta Roberts, the daughter of Gertrude Roberts, a former minister of the UWP is to be the DLP candidate for Grand Fond constituency for the next general election replacing Ivor Stephenson.
And Dominica's once-powerful Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) picking its first six candidates to contest the next general election; its major goal is to find 21 candidates.
In another constituency, Grand Bay, the bastion of DLP support, the Sun reported that Edward Registe may replace Justina Charles as the DLP election candidate.
Earlier, the newspaper disclosed that Ernie Lawrence-Jno Finn would be contesting the next general election for the UWP in Castle Bruce.
And finally, his Excellency President Charles Angelo Savarin was appointed President of the Commonwealth of Dominica for a second and final five-year term and as expected the UWP did not support his nomination.