The National Assembly will hold a special session today to pick a new head of state for the island of Dominica. The nominations of Sylvanie Burton and Anette Sanford will be considered by the parliament.
Either candidate’s victory would be historic because it would mark the first time a woman and someone with Kalinago ancestry have been chosen to lead the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Burton, the government’s choice, is the Permanent Secretary in charge of the Ministry of the Environment, Rural Modernization, and Kalinago Upliftment at the moment.
Sanford works as a clinical instructor at Dominica State College and is a registered nurse by trade. She also served as an opposition legislator between 2020-22.
Burton is expected to become island’s ninth president and replace Charles Savarin as Prime Minister Dr Roosevelt Skerrit has the majority need to confirm her appointment.
Savarin, who served two terms as head of state, will demit office on October 1.
The Government Information Service said the successful presidential candidate would take their oath of office on October 2.
During a recent radio appearance, Skerrit lamented that the government and opposition could not agree on presenting a single candidate.
“It is unfortunate and I see this as a repudiation of a woman and a repudiation of a Kaliango…the people who first came to our country, who defended our patrimony that we could have a Dominica to call our home,” he said.
“She has stayed in Dominica all of her life at the service of the Kalinago people, at the service of Dominica. Every developmental programme and project which has been pursued in the Kalinago territory over the last 40 years, Mrs Burton has been involved one way or the other, preparing the project document, soliciting funds or overseeing its implementation.
He added: “I can’t understand any good reason why the Leader of the Opposition would have come to her conclusion, but I guess her advisors would have a different view and would so advise her.”