House boycott in Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica – United Workers Party (UWP) Members of Parliament boycotted this morning’s sitting of the House of Assembly claiming that the Speaker of the House Alix Boyd-Knights had again blocked their questions from the order paper.

Leader of the Opposition Hector John told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that the Roosevelt Skerrit government had also refused to address their concerns over electoral reform after the UWP claimed widespread fraud following the December 2009 general elections.

“It’s the same thing again. The Speaker blocked all our questions. Nothing has been done. The government is not showing any signs of compromise and has shown no desire to deal with our concerns,” John said, adding that the party would discuss these issues at its alternative People’s Parliament set for Thursday evening.

The UWP has now missed or walked out of five sittings of the House since the 2009 elections that returned Skerrit’s Dominica Labour Party to power with an 18-3 win.

The UWP charged that there were major irregularities in the conduct of the polls and have mounted a campaign for electoral reform to include voter ID cards.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner Cyril Carette has confirmed that eight members of the UWP will be served with summons for demonstrating outside the Parliament last November.

Carrette said they were charged for breaching the Public Order Act, and will be expected to appear in court on June 6, 2011.

Those that have been charged are John, Party Leader Ron Green, Deputy Leader Claudius Sanford and Party President Edison James.

Others charged are Ezekiel Bazil, Norris Charles, Ronnie Isidore and Danny Lugay.

Today’s sitting of the House was expected to table an act to regulate the use and distribution of firearms. The act would seek through the imposition of significantly increased penalties, “to reflect and take account of the widespread and grave concerns of the citizens regarding the unacceptable increase in firearm related offenses in Dominica.”

“The bill will address some of the concerns that the police have had over the years with the number of unlicensed firearms in Dominica and to ensure that we can take preemptive action against those practices,” Prime Minister Skerrit said.

According to the bill, the penalties will be increased with the expectation that a new sentencing regime will be expeditiously adopted and reflected in the sentences imposed by the courts. (CMC)

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