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APP's Whitney Leah Melinard
APP's Whitney Leah Melinard

While Dominica has had its fair share of youths in politics, 20-year old Whitney 'Leah' Mélinard, has certainly made her stamp in history, by becoming the youngest 2nd Deputy Political Leader of any party, thus earning the spot in this week's "Newsmaker of the Week."

Joining Dominica's youngest political movement, the Alternative Peoples' Party (APP), the youth activist disclosed to the SUN that the spirit of newness which hovers over the APP approach to electoral politics is also quite encouraging, hence her reason to identify herself with such positivity.

The law student also noted that another deciding factor for her decision to align herself with the one-year-old party is to widen her advocacy work for youths, women, and the indigenous people.

"I see a very promising partnership in the making. I am convinced that women and youth will receive added representation and attention" she said, "APP vouches to protect and respect the Kalinago people and this warms my heart, especially after hearing of the party's plans to partner with the people of the Kalinago Territory."

Acknowledging the vileness of Dominica's politics, Mélinard, who's been vocal on issues faced by the indigenous people maintains that she will not be dismayed, and stands ready for what may come.

"I am aware that by aligning myself with this new political party that I may be targeted, victimized, and criticized by some, however, I am doing this for the future of my country," she said.

Further adding, "Just because I am young, it does not mean that I cannot speak on a political platform or that I cannot be involved in politics."

Despite having taken up a leadership position within the party, this week's newsmaker maintains that she will not be an election candidate for the APP and only wishes to use this platform to heighten the attention on social ills, particularly child abuse.

First on her list is the creation of an adventure club with the APP, which will embark on a cleanup campaign in the Kalinago Territory. She also intends to use her position to advocate for the passage into law of the Child Protection and Adoption Bill of 2016.

Meanwhile, the executive members of APP have also announced the postponement of their first Congress and Convention which was scheduled for May 15 and 16, respectively. The events are now planned to be held on August 21 and 22, 2021.

According to the party, this change in their plans is due to Covid-19 related travel protocols which have affected the on-time arrival of key leadership participants.


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