New CTO Appointment
Economics of Going Green
State of Caribbean Media
Passport to Paradise
Death Sentence in 2 Years
Priest Thinks Twice
Charges & CounterCharges
Communication in Tourism
Moves to Oust Savarin
WIBC Settles with Gregory
UWP Leadership Question
Threat to State College?
Why Marpin Was Rejected
Sanford Now In Barbados
Hotels Threaten Shutdown
Urban Baron to Cross Floor
Lestrade & Stabilisation
Urban Baron Did Not Cross
PM Charles Tightens Grip
Search for New President
Tension at N.D.C.
New Independent Party?
AT & T in Dominica
Curtis Matthiew - DFP?
Sonia Williams - Indep...
SARS in Toronto, Canada
Bobby - Independent?
Casino Gambling Begins
Formal Opening of DSC
End of Douglas Dynasty?
Wage Bill Cut
DLP Want Theodore Fired
DFP Virtually Dead
PM's Fiscal Adjustment
Dr Etienne to PAHO
Relations with China?
Sam Raphael Resigns
Tour de Dominica Politics
PJ on Independence
Politics 25 Years Later
Cure For Aids Mooted
DSS Stymied by IMF
New Development at CTO
The Silent Killer
Grenada & Hurricane Ivan
Regional Tourism Security
Making Millions on Haitians
UWP Falling Apart
© Johnson JohnRose
Possible End of Douglas Dynasty
May 29/2003: - The Douglas dynasty which has dominated politics in Portsmouth for three decades, is about to face its sternest test yet and could fall come the next general election, one potential challenger has claimed.
Cuban-trained doctor Albert Severin, who possibly was the last person to see late Prime Minister Rosie Douglas alive, has indicated more than a passing interest in challenging incumbent Ian Douglas for the seat which has been represented by a member of the Douglas family uninterrupted since 1975 and once in the early 1950s.
The patriarch of the Douglas family, Robert B. Douglas, represented the constituency for a term in the early fifties. His son, the late Michael (Mike) was the member of parliament for the area from 1975 until his death in 1992, followed by another son, Rosie, won the seat in the by-election the followed Michael's passing, and held on to it until his passing in 2000. Michael's son, Ian became parliamentary representative following his uncle's death and remains the MP.
"I think the people of Portsmouth are tired with the Douglases. I think the people want a change," Saverin told the Sun in an interview.
"Ever since I was growing up that's all I been hearing (the Douglas name) and people of Portsmouth think it's time for a change. It's not that they have anything about the Douglases. They have served the country well but there's a time when you need a certain kind of representation. I think this is the right time," he added.
In any event, Severin told the Sun, the current parliamentary representative had done a poor job representing the community, causing Portsmouth to lose a lot of its past fervour and prominence.
"Ian Douglas is my very good friend, I respect him a lot, but I think he has been disappointing. Virtually we can say we don't have representation any more.
"Portsmouth has been the base of the Labour Party, and to some extent we have not seen that manifest itself over the past two years. I think we need a candidate with a certain level of energy to revive the process," Severin claimed.
One observer supported the claim, saying that the people of Portsmouth felt let down by their MP.
"Generally they expect a Mike, a Rosie, and Ian is neither of those. They expect (financial) contributions. They expect constant involvement is what's going on and Ian does not do that," stated the observer, who spoke on the usual condition of anonymity.
But Douglas has defended his representation of the constituency, saying the approach had to be different from what pertained in the past because the circumstances were different.
"In the past the MPs before me were operating from a position of opposition so the amount of agitation that had to do for representation, especially in the media, was much more vocal," retorted Douglas.
"I choose a different path because the Labour Party is in power and if I were to go on (the talk shows) and agitate, it would show some dissention. I choose to do my lobbying one on one, when we meet in caucus.
"Yes, every parliamentarian has certain things he wants done in his constituency, but the reality is the government is cash strapped, you have to be patient. We waited for 20 years to get there and now is not the time to sink the boat and wait another 20 years come to power again," the Portsmouth MP told the Sun.
Severin said he had not ruled out the possibility of contesting the seat, preferably as a candidate for the DLP, but as a "Labour Independent" if there is a movement in the constituency for him to contest and if Douglas failed to stand down.
He said that Portsmouth had voted for the DLP for decades and that it would be difficult for an independent candidate to "break the barrier of the party" and be successful there.
However, he felt that he had what he took to end the Douglas dynasty, even if he ran as an independent.
"Ian Douglas is not so much of a threat. I love my community. Portsmouth is where I was born and raised. I have a very close link with the people. People saw me grow up there and there's a lot of history. That's an asset that one can depend on and I would really like to make a contribution to my community and my town," said the medical doctor, who sounded very much like a candidate even while saying he was still undecided.
"If you have a good Labour Party candidate who runs as an independent who people like, he can win. I want to break that (Douglas) monopoly. At the end of the day we want a change."
But Douglas said that the work that had been done in the Portsmouth constituency by the Douglas family had nothing to do with preserving a legacy and that he was prepared to stand aside as a candidate if the people of the northern town asked him to.
"I don't think it's a Douglas legacy. It's a Labour legacy," Douglas, an attorney, told the Sun.
"The struggles that Mike had to get the Ross University and the struggles of Rosie to get the Cuban scholarships were not done to preserve a Douglas legacy. They did it because they wanted to improve the condition of the people.
"I'm not in politics to maintain any Douglas legacy that is why I said I can give it up any time if the people decide. If Douglas happens to be synonymous with Labour it's purely a matter of fate," he said.
"The people of Portsmouth…have not been voting Douglas, they have been voting labour. It's about Labour it's not about me," he concluded.