The UWP blamed what it described as an “anomaly” in the process.
Opposition leader Hector John made his party’s position known in separate letters to President Dr. Nicholas Liverpool and Speaker of the House Alix Boyd Knights
“I write on behalf of the Parliamentary Opposition who are very concerned that the Constitutional procedure and controls that guide the resignation or removal of the President of Dominica and the process of election his successor are not being followed,” John said in his letter to President Liverpool.
John referred in his letter, to a special sitting of parliament convened on August 24 when Boyd-Knights informed members that there was disagreement between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition during consultation for a new president.
According to John, Boyd-Knights never mentioned that the president has either resigned or has been removed from office in accordance with the Constitution. “We immediately sensed an anomaly,” John wrote. “The anomaly became more obvious to us in the discussions which ensued. In that process we realized that the meeting was being treated as a consultation with a view to invoking the provisions of section 19 of the Constitution regarding the election of the President.”
Based on this John said the UWP believes the process for the election of a new president is “fundamentally flawed unconstitutional, null and void.”
In his letter to the Speaker, John mentions his ‘strong’ disapproval of the process which led to the special sitting of Parliament. “We believed then, as we do now, that the so-called consultation was in effect an attempt with the assistance of your good office, to deviate from the clear and unambiguous prescription of the constitution regarding the termination of the tenure of the current President and the election of a successor,” John wrote.
He said that since the meeting the opposition has not been made aware that a vacancy has been created in the office of the president and is requesting evidence of that.
John went on to say that based on advice received, the opposition strongly believes that the process for the resignation of the President or for his removal “has not been initiated or properly initiated in accordance with sections 119 and 24 of the Constitution and has no basis in law.”
“In the circumstance we respectfully urge you, Madam Speaker, to halt any and all further proceedings in Parliament, concerning the election of a successor to His Excellency Dr. Nicholas Liverpool, until you transmit to us, for our verification, the documentary evidence required by the constitution, pursuant to and upon which the matter must proceed.” John wrote.
Word surfaced recently that President Liverpool would be demiting office early due to ill-health. A special sitting of parliament was held after it was reported that consultation between Skerrit and John failed to reach common ground on a nominee to replace him.
The opposition subsequently demanded that the government make available a letter of intent from the president showing that he is actually vacating office.
At the special sitting of parliament, the Speaker of the House set September 7 as the deadline for the submission of nominations for president from both the opposition and the government.