Sikiwi to vacate seat
Sources tell the Sun that Joshua "Sikiwi" Francis, the parliamentary representative for Roseau South, is to resign and then leave active politics
Joshua Francis, the embattled parliamentary representative for the Roseau South constituency may soon decide that his political life has ended, a source close to Francis told the Sun.
Francis is getting ready to depart from active politics and will soon be meeting with his constituents to inform them of his decision said the source who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
On a self-imposed sabbatical since his dismissal from the position of deputy political leader of the opposition United Workers Party, Francis has not attended the last two sittings of parliament.
The young attorney at law, who convincingly defeated Ambrose George, a veteran politician of the ruling Dominica Labour Party in the 2014 general election, and who brought a fresh air of non-confrontational politics to campaigning, has also been accused of inappropriate behaviour with a minor.
Though Francis was arrested, he has not been charged and a judicial review of the matter is pending; his lawyers are challenging the validity of the charge.
But because of the controversy, the source said, Francis is currently concentrating on his legal profession and has the full support and backing of his family in the matter.
And his future as a member of the UWP is also the subject of speculation even if he said in a recent interview on State-owned DBS radio: "I am very much a member of the UWP, I am and remain the member of Parliament for the Roseau South on a UWP ticket and I am committed to the people of that constituency."
He added: "I will be going to parliament…once everything is right."
However, Francis was absent during last week's presentation of the 2016 budget and also for the rebuttal by the Leader of the Opposition, Lennox Linton.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said publicly that Francis should resign and he has vowed to recapture the seat for the DLP in the subsequent bye election.
When asked about his absence from parliament and whether he is about to vacate his seat, Francis said: "I am the MP for Roseau South and I am busy taking care of my family and personal matters. I have no further comments."
Standing Orders of the Dominica House of Assembly indicates that a member who is absent from three consecutive meetings in a session without a reasonable excuse will have vacated his seat.
Francis has so far been absent for one session so far.