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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dominica PM, Education Minister survive dual citizenship challenge

ROSEAU, Dominica, Wednesday January 11, 2012 - The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) said it will consider appealing yesterday’s High Court ruling, which found that Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Minister for Education Petter Saint Jean legally contested the 2009 general elections. 

“We are looking to appeal this matter and to sit as a legal team and discuss it and we will move from there,” stated Geoffrey Letang, attorney for UWP Leader Ron Green and Maynard Joseph.

The UWP members had asked the court to rule that Skerrit and Saint Jean were nominated illegally because they held dual citizenship at the time.

However, Justice Gertel Thom, in a 49-page judgment, found that Skerrit was not disqualified from being elected a Member of Parliament. 

As it relates to Saint Jean, the judge found that Green did not establish a prima facie case that the minister, by virtue of his own act, had allegiance to a foreign power or state. 

Skerrit said the opposition should now work with the government to deal with the many issues confronting residents.

“We spend all this time wasting people’s time in court and talking about things that are really not important to our people,” Skerrit said in an interview.

He added: “Here it is I was born in this country, I grew up in this country, went to school in this country, worked all my adult life in Dominica. I never said I wasn’t a citizen of France, but what I said is that I got citizenship by virtue of my mother. So why drag me into court and...wasting people’s time...when there is no evidence to prove.”

Describing the ruling as vindication, the Minister for Education said the entire process has taken a toll on members of the administration.

“…Once for all we can set these matters behind us and move with the path of development that has been tracked for us by the Dominica Labour Party under the sterling leadership of Roosevelt Skerrit who is and will continue to be the prime minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica until the people so desire that that should change,” he told reporters.


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