Dominica Parliament

The Dominica parliament is unicameral in that it has only one legislative chamber. Therefore, all members sit together and make decisions on matters brought before the House. It is patterned on the Westminster system of the United Kingdom.

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Dominica Parliament convenes at 10 o’clock unless otherwise determined by the Speaker. Members must be given no less than twelve days notice of the sitting except in cases of emergency. All the proceedings and debates or petitions are to be in the English language. Members will be asked to translate any utterance that is done in a language other than English. The quorum of the House consists of twelve members. A member who has taken the oath can occupy any seat providing that one has not been allotted to him/her by the Speaker.

The first sitting of every session of Dominica parliament is by Proclamation from the President in accordance with Section 53 of the Constitution. Subsequent sittings are at the discretion of the House or the Speaker. However, in order for there not to be an interval greater than six months between the last sitting of the House in one session and the first sitting of the next, there must be a session at least once a year. Barring early dissolution, Parliament continues for five years. Only the President can prorogue or dissolve Parliament acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Currently the House of Assembly is made up of 31 members: 21 elected representative and 9 senators (5 on the advice of the Prime Minister and 4 by the Leader of the Opposition). The Speaker, who is elected at the first sitting of Dominica parliament after a general election, is an ex officio member. To be elected as a Representative, one must be a citizen of Dominica of at least 21 years of age and resident on island for no less than a year before the date of nomination for election. A senatorial appointee must be a Commonwealth citizen 21 years or older who is living in Dominica at the time of his or her appointment. Both Senators and Representatives must have communicative competence in the English language.

A member of Dominica parliament must vacate his seat if he or she misses three consecutive sittings in any one session of the House and not having leave of the Speaker to do so. If a representative is no longer a citizen of Dominica or a Senator, a citizen of the Commonwealth, he or she will also lose his/her seat. A vote of no confidence can only be taken by elected members.

The last general election was held on May 5, 2005. The Dominica Labour Party won 12 of the 21 seats and the United Workers Party won 8. Hon. Julius Timothy, Member for the Roseau North Constituency, defected to the Government’s side after a bitter struggle for the leadership of the United Workers Party of which he was a founding member and Deputy Leader for 17 years. There was one successful independent candidate who is now affiliated with the ruling Dominica Labour Party.

The present composition of Parliament is as follows:

  1. Hon. Alix Boyd Knights – Speaker of the House of AssemblyGovernment
  2. Hon. Roosevelt Skerritt – Member for the Vieille Case Constituency
    Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, National Security and Social Security
  3. Hon. Francine Baron-Royer
    Attorney General
  4. Hon. Ian Douglas - Member for the Portsmouth Constituency
    Minister for Tourism, Legal Affairs and Aviation
  5. Hon. Rayburne Blackmore -
    Minister for Public Works and Infrastructural Development
  6. Hon. Reginald Austrie - Member for the Cottage Constituency
    Minister for Housing, Lands, and Telecommunications
  7. Hon. Sonia Williams - Member for the Roseau South Constituency
    Minister for Education, Human Resource Development, Sports and Youth Affairs
  8. Hon. Dr. John Collin McIntyre – Senator
    Minister for Trade, Industry, Consumer and Diaspora Affairs
  9. Hon. Kelly Graneau – Member for the Salybia Constituency
    Minister for Carib Affairs
  10. Hon. John Fabien – Member for the Grand Bay Constituency
    Minister for Health and the Environment
  11. Hon. Ian Pinard - Member for the Soufriere Constituency
    Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Sports and Youth Affairs
  12. Hon. Matthew Walter – Member for the Paix Bouche Constituency
    Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
  13. Hon. Loreen Bannis-Roberts - Member for the Castle Bruce Constituency
    Minister for Community Development, Culture, Gender Affairs and Information
  14. Hon. Charles Savarin - Senator
    Minister for Public Utilities, Energy and Ports
  15. Hon. Vince Henderson- Member for the Mahaut Constituency
    Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Labour
  16. Hon. Urban Baron - Member for the Petite Savanne Constituency
    Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works and Infrastructural Development
  17. Hon. Julius Timothy – Member for the Roseau North Constituency
    Minister for Economic Development and Urban Renewal
  18. Hon. Peter Saint-Jean – Senator
    Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  19. Hon. Ronald Toulon – Member for the Colihaut Constituency
    Deputy Speaker
  20. Hon. Gloria Shillingford – Senator

Opposition:

  1. Hon. Edison C. James – Member for the Marigot Constituency
  2. Hon. Ronald Green- Leader of the Opposition, Member for the La Plaine Constituency
  3. Hon. Norris Charles - Member for the Roseau Valley Constituency
  4. Hon. Peter Carbon - Member for the Wesley Constituency
  5. Hon. Norris Prevost - Member for the Roseau Central Constituency
  6. Hon. Abraham Browne - Member for the Morne Jaune/Riviere Cyrique Constituency
  7. Hon. Claudius Sanford – Senator
  8. Hon. Nicholls Esprit – Senator
  9. Hon. Marcel Nicholas – Senator