Hon.Asot Michael at the Swearing-in of Ministers of Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

You are Us. We are you” PM Browne tells Dominicans as new Government is sworn in

ROSEAU, Commonwealth of Dominica – 19th December, 2019……Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, the Hon. Gaston Browne has commended Dominicans for their decision to re-elect the party of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to govern the affairs of Dominica for the next five years.

Prime Minister Browne, who was accompanied by MP Asot Michael, joined his CARICOM Colleagues Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Ms. Mia Motley, Prime Minister of Barbados in Dominica earlier this week for the swearing-in of Minister of Government of the newly re-elected government of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit which won 18 of the 21 seats that were contested in the recently held elections.

“We are proud of the Dominican people for the resilience that you have shown as a result of the storms that decimated Dominica. But even more so, we are proud of you and the way in which you handled the challenges that you had to confront leading up to the last general elections,” Prime Minister Browne stated.

Prime Minister Browne also spoke about the resilience of the Dominican people in sending a clear message to those who wanted to use violence as a means to gain governance of Dominica.

“I said that not to interfere in your domestic politics, but in protection of my own country, because I realize that if there were individuals who were able to achieve the governance of this country through violence, then they would important it in Antigua and Barbuda. So it was in my interests and the interests of the people of Antigua and Barbuda to stand against electoral violence. You have sent a message. You have made it abundantly clear that violence in politics will not pay and those who persist in violence in politics will surely pay. And indeed, they paid a hefty price,” Prime Minister Browne stated.

The country’s leader, while speaking about the long existing relationship between Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, congratulated Prime Minister Skerrit on the resounding victory and reminded him to remain focus in his duties to serve the people of Dominica.

“I say to you, my dear friend, and to the people of Dominica, that you can continue to count on Gaston Browne and the people of Antigua and Barbuda as reliable partners. We have been there for you during the storms that decimated Dominica and we did so with pride and we will continue to stand with you through thick and thin. We will continue to collaborate at the level of the leadership and we’ll make sure that we continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominican people, because fundamentally we are one and the same. In fact, about 20 percent of the Antigua and Barbuda population comprises Dominicans. You are us. We are you,” PM Browne said.

We are pleased to produce below, the full text of PM Browne remarks at the Swearing-In Ceremony in Dominica.

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The Honourable Gaston A. Browne
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Remarks

Swearing-In of Ministers of Government

Of the

Commonwealth of Dominica

Tuesday, 17th December, 2019

Windsor Park Sports Stadium

Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica

(Check against delivery)
The Honourable Gaston A. Browne
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Remarks

Swearing-In of Ministers of Government

Of the

Commonwealth of Dominica

Tuesday, 17th December, 2019

Windsor Park Sports Stadium

Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica

(Check against delivery)

President of the Commonwealth of Dominica, His Excellency Charles Savarin and Lady Savarin;

I also acknowledge Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and the Honorable Mrs. Skerrit.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves;

Prime Minister of Barbados, the Hon. Mia Motley;

Other members of parliament to include my colleague, Asot Michael from Antigua and Barbuda. And I understand we have a few ministers here from within the region. I acknowledge the ministers who are present.

Other distinguished ladies and gentlemen, Dominicans, Labourites, Good evening.

Today, I am here to stand in solidarity with my dear friend, Roosevelt Skerrit and the people of Dominica.

Today, I congratulate Roosevelt and the other parliamentarians for taking 18 of the 21 seats. Clearly, the people of Dominica have spoken and you have spoken resoundingly. In fact, I believe, not to anticipate Roosevelt, but I believe that the last election would have been perhaps one of the most exciting victories considering the challenges. I want to commend you, the people of Dominica.

In fact, I also bring you greetings on behalf of your brothers and sisters in Antigua and Barbuda. And you have lots of brothers and sisters in Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, I perhaps should have said the Republic of Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica.

You have spoken resoundingly and we are extremely proud of you.

We are proud of the Dominican people for the resilience that you have shown as a result of the storms that decimated Dominica. But even more so, we are proud of you and the way in which you handled the challenges that you had to confront leading up to the last general elections.

I say this not to interfere in the domestic politics of Dominica, but to underscore that we are inextricably linked. That Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, we have common electors. We have common citizens and residents. Any instability that would have persisted and was successful in Dominica could have been easily imported in Antigua and Barbuda.

That is why I said just before the last general elections that Dominicans should guard against those who seek to burn this country into the ground, so that they could become king of the ashes.

I said that not to interfere in your domestic politics, but in protection of my own country, because I realize that if there were individuals who were able to achieve the governance of this country through violence, then they would important it in Antigua and Barbuda.

So it was in my interests and the interests of the people of Antigua and Barbuda to stand against electoral violence. You have sent a message. You have made it abundantly clear that violence in politics will not pay and those who persist in violence in politics will surely pay.

And indeed, they paid a hefty price.

I find it astonishing that there are individuals who are seeking to legitimize three seats and to delegitimize 18 seats using the same electoral process. But that is a matter for the Dominican people.

You the people of Dominica not only fought against electoral violence, you also fought against external intervention. And I want to commend you. In fact, Dominica has sent a resounding message to the rest of the world.

You said to them, especially the powerful, that notwithstanding your small size, that you will not subject Dominica to hegemonistic control.

I hope that the result of the last general elections in Dominica will be a lesson for them, because at the end of the day, we are small island states fighting to ensure the viability of our respective countries. Fighting to uplift the living standards of our people.

We do not fight ideological wars. We have no ideological war to fight. We are about pragmatism about providing for our people. And we are too small to have enemies.

We are friends of all-enemies of none.

We embrace all nations large and small, because at the end of the day, we are among the smallest countries in the world. In fact, when I last checked, Dominica, in terms of population is perhaps the fifth smallest independent country in the world.

Antigua is the fourth smallest independent country in the world. That is why we have to be all inclusive. That is why we have to embrace all nations and not to fight any ideological war or wars on behalf of any.

So I say to the people of Dominica, congratulations for that message. You have made them to understand that even though we are small, we will always stand on principle, and when it comes to democracy, no one can tell us about democracy when it comes to the purity of our democracy.

The countries of the OECS and the Caribbean are ranked among the best in the world, and we must be proud of our democracy. We must stand with our leaders and with the political parties that fight for the advancement of our people.

The fact that Roosevelt Skerrit would have gotten four consecutive terms as prime minister is based on the fact that he has delivered for the people of Dominica.

The Caribbean people support governments that deliver. If Roosevelt Skerrit did not deliver for the people of Dominica, certainly he would not have had four terms. The interesting thing about it is that he is young enough to serve several more terms. The Dominica Labor Party now has the ability to supersede the 28 years of consecutive leadership of the Antigua and Barbuda Labor Party in Antigua and Barbuda and I am pretty sure that you can do it under the leadership of the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit.

I know, my dear friend, you said that you’re going to call it a day. That is not your call. That is a call for the people of Dominica.

I want to take the opportunity to wish my dear friend Roosevelt Skerrit and the rest of his team every success. You have been extremely successful. In fact, so far there is no other prime minister, premier or chief minister who would have made a more significant contribution towards the development of Dominica than Roosevelt Skerrit. But I say to you as a friend, that should not cause you to sit on your laurels. This is now the opportunity for you to mobilize your team and to ensure that you continue to focus on the socio economic development of your people.

I say to you, my dear friend, and to the people of Dominica, that you can continue to count on Gaston Browne and the people of Antigua and Barbuda as reliable partners. We have been there for you during the storms that decimated Dominica and we did so with pride and we will continue to stand with you through thick and thin. We will continue to collaborate at the level of the leadership and we’ll make sure that we continue to strengthen the bonds of friendship between the Antigua and Barbuda and the Dominican people, because fundamentally we are one and the same. In fact, about 20 percent of the Antigua and Barbuda population comprises Dominicans. You are us. We are you.

So once again, congratulations to the entire team. Congratulations to the people of Dominica.

Long live Roosevelt Skerrit and the Dominica Labor Party. Long live the people of Dominica.

I thank you.

Tuesday, 17th December, 2019
Windsor Park Sports Stadium
Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica
(Check against delivery)
The Honourable Gaston A. Browne
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Remarks
Swearing-In of Ministers of Government
Of the
Commonwealth of Dominica
Tuesday, 17th December, 2019
Windsor Park Sports Stadium