Wednesday, June 15, 2016

No Law, No Constitution

Speaker of the House of Assembly Alix Boyd-Knights

No Law No Constitution.

This phrase has become synonymous with the government of Dominica, one man, Roosevelt Skerrit. But undoubtedly, it is also the rallying cry of everyone Mr. Skerrit has placed his filthy tentacles on. One such person is Alix Boyd-Knights, the obtuse and cantankerous Speaker of the House of Assembly (HoA). Ms. Boyd-Knights is the antithesis of what an impartial and law-abiding Speaker is supposed to be.

Today June 15th, marks the sixth-month anniversary of the last sitting of the House of Assembly (the last sitting was on December 15th, 2015). Ms. Boyd-Knights, who sits as overseer of the HoA, is infamous for using her authority to frustrate the members of the political opposition. She collaborates with Roosevelt Skerrit to ensure that his opponents' rights within the chambers of the HoA are violated with impunity. While she cajoles and cuts off members of the opposition during their contributions to the House, Ms. Boyd-Knights plays dumb and leaves the barn door wide open to allow the roosters and hens on the government side to roam wild, shitting all over the rules of the House as well as the Constitution of Dominica ad nauseam. Alix Boyd-Knights has brought the position of Speaker of Dominica's House of Assembly into disrepute. It is hard to imagine anyone who would replace her doing any worse.

The sixth-month anniversary of the last sitting of parliament is another marker in a long line of systemic abuse of our institutions of democracy by Mr. Skerrit and his appeasers, including Ms. Boyd-Knights. Part 3, Section 53, of Dominica's Constitution states;

Alix Boyd-Knights sits in violation of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica. The Constitution clearly states that there must not be a six month gap between any two sittings of Parliament and so Ms. Boyd-Knights has failed in her responsibilities under our Constitution. What can be done to reprimand her is unclear, because the Constitution does not appear to make these provisions. We believe however, that the President of Dominica has it within his scope of authority to act. However Charles Savarin and Alix Boyd-Knights are part of the same corrupt cabal lead by Roosevelt Skerrit, so we can expect nothing to occur in the foreseeable future.

It is important to note that Ms. Boyd-Knights is paid approximately $6,000 per month from the taxes we pay into our treasury. She has so far drawn at least $36,000 in compensation, (not including additional perks such as travel and security, which she demands), without working one day in 2016. Interviews with current and former public servants who have had the misfortune of working for Ms. Boyd-Knights indicate that she spends her time traveling at the expense of the state.
Alix Boyd-Knights at the 60th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Yaounde, Cameroon

Alix Boyd-Knights is a lazy woman with the warmth and demeanor of a crocodile. Widely reviled, she is known within the public service as a woman with a prickly and abusive personality, having garnered numerous complaints from members of her staff, some of whom have gone so far as to meet with Skerrit, hoping that he could intercede. To appreciate the extent to which Ms. Boyd-Knights is loathed by the public servants who are assigned to work with her, one needs only to take note of the significant changes in personnel in her office during 2015, with four different clerks. That is an incredible turnover of staff in such a short period of time for an office with a lite workload. Furthermore, Mr. Skerrit himself was quick to acknowledge the deeply held disdain for Ms. Boyd-Knights when he hastily withdrew from consideration her nomination as President of Dominica. 

Ms. Boyd-Knights continues to preside over a Parliament that has done little work year in and year out. At its sitting last November, Ms. Boyd-Knights shepparded in the passage of punitive financial legislation which enables the rich and powerful to snatch up assets belonging to the less affluent. The Eastern Caribbean Asset Management Act, rushed through Parliament in the blink of an eye, overtuned sections of the Banking Act and made it easy for financial institutions to shift what they determine to be non-performing loans to an asset management company for disposition. This piece of legislation will undoubtedly impact the poor in our society severely, since they are generally the ones who tend to have difficulties servicing their outstanding loans whenever a downturn in our economy occurs. Our economy has been in a tailspin for years and we can expect more non-performing loans that have been secured with tangible assets being passed on from the poor to Mr. Skerrit's and Ms. Boyd-Knights rich friends.

The Pay-to-Play child sexual abuse scandal that erupted earlier this year has shone a light on the prevalence of child molestation cases in Dominica. Ms. Boyd-Knights is on record numerous times strongly advocating for women and children and the need to protect and empower them. She has been conspicuously silent, however, on this particular case. Why would Ms. Boyd-Knights forego an opportunity to speak out on the abuse of our children and push for legislation on their behalf?

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to determine why Ms. Boyd-Knights has been silent on Pay-to-Play. The individuals involved are her personal friends and Ms. Boyd-Knights would much rather sell the female minor to the highest bidder than to condemn the actions of her friends. For all the talk from Ms. Boyd-Knights about the protection of children, in her failure to step forward at a moment when the symbolism of her presense and her authority would be felt the greatest, she has chosen to squat on the child and in the process, revealed herself to be a hypocrite and a woman who tacitly condones the sexual abuse and molestation of children.

Alix Boyd-Knights is a member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and the Commonwealth Women's Parliamentarians (CWP). Both organizations are known to champion the rights of women and children worldwide. We are seeking to clarify whether Ms. Boyd-Knights is involved with any activity in the Commonwealth involving issues of child welfare. Should we receive positive confirmation, we will waste no time in suggesting to the CPA and CWP that they reconsider her participation; the Commonwealth already has its hands full with a Secretary General, Baroness Patricia Scotland, who has been exposed in the British media as a benefactor of corrupt governments in secret, all the while publicly pontificating about her devotion to the goal of eradicating corruption throughout the Commonwealth. It can ill-afford another embarrassing revelation that features an individual who sells herself as an advocate for the protection of children while simultaneously coddling her friends who themselves have been suspected of, accused, arrested and charged with child molestation.

June 15th, 2015, 11:25 GMT: This piece has been updated to include additional information.

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1 comment :

  1. please proof read before posting Article.*Anthethesis should be Antithesis for the benefit of the readers.


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