Statement on the Death of Prime Minister the Honourable Pierre Charles

Message From
His Excellency Dr. Nicholas J. O. Liverpool, D.A.H.,
on the Death of Prime Minister Pierre Charles

Fellow citizens of Dominica it is with deep sadness that I as Head of State report to you officially what is already generally known by most - the death of our beloved Prime Minister the Honourable Pierre Charles.

He passed away peacefully at the Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday evening.

Our hearts go out in sympathy to his dear widow Justina, his Sons Sheidi and Chamillo; his daughter Faiza; one grandchild Shidel, and to all other members of his family at this time of bereavement.

An autopsy will be conducted today by our own distinguished Pathologist Dr. Peter Bellot. Our revered retired Pathologist Dr. Edward Irving Watty will be in attendance.

In October 2000, during the life of the present government our country mourned the death of Prime Minister, Roosevelt Douglas. Just over 3 years later we are called again to mourn the death of another Prime Minister. By his death this nation has lost a good, decent, honest and hardworking citizen, his family has lost a steadfast, caring, faithful and loving individual, and I have lost a dear friend.

This is a time for sober reflection and deep recognition of the conditions which exist in our country. Now, more than ever, we need to bear in mind the slogan for the 25th anniversary of our Independence, ONE FLAG, ONE PEOPLE, ONE NATION, and do I need to remind you UNDER ONE GOD.

We need to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if we are to overcome the current economic difficulties, and for that purpose we need all shoulders to the wheel. Let us put aside our differences in these difficult times and think of Dominica, the land we all love. This is an ideal opportunity to make a fresh start in our human relations and understanding of each other.

Prime Minister Charles gave his last breath to ensure that whatever steps which were necessary to improve the conditions in our country should be taken. It will be a fitting tribute to his memory if we were henceforth to adopt the same attitude.

The Constitution empowers the President to appoint the Prime Minister; and in doing so I must appoint an elected member of the House of Assembly who appears to me likely to command the support of the majority of the elected members of the House. This power is to be exercised by me in my own deliberate judgment.

In my judgement the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit is the elected member who appears to me most likely to command the support of the majority of the elected members of the House and I have appointed him accordingly. This morning he took the Oath of Allegiance, the Oath of Office and the Oath of Secrecy.

Consequent on the appointment of Honourable Skerrit as Prime Minister, the office of all the other Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries have become vacant.

have therefore requested the Prime Minister to submit to me, within the shortest period of time, the names of those persons whom he would advise me to appoint as Ministers of his government bearing in mind the provisions of Sections 59 and 61 of the Constitution.

A period of national mourning has been declared from yesterday 7th January and flags are being flown at half staff on all public buildings at home and abroad, until the late Prime Minister has been laid to rest. The country needs a cooling-off period, and it is my hope that during this time all political party activity would cease. It is also my expectation that a by-election will be held as soon as is practically possible thereafter to fill the vacancy created by Mr. Charles' death; and that a fully constituted Parliament will be summoned to conduct the nation's business.

The date set for the funeral is Saturday, 17th January, 2004.

Sunday the 11th day of January, 2004 has been declared a National Day of Prayer in Dominica for the repose of the soul of our dear departed Prime Minister.


President's Office
8th January, 2004

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