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
Will Urban Baron Cross the Floor?
The Member of Parliament for Petite Savanne, Urban Baron is very likely to cross the floor and join the opposition United Workers Party when the House of Assembly meets for a highly anticipated sitting this week, sources have told the Sun.
However, Baron has remained mute on the issue, angrily turning down the Sun's request for an interview.
"I am not interested in giving any story," said the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) MP when contacted by telephone at his home in Grand Bay.
"And don't call my home anymore. Let's get something straight, don't call my home anymore," he repeated before hanging up the phone.
Several sources told the Sun that Baron was almost certain to quit the DLP, ending a relationship with Prime Minister Pierre Charles that became turbulent in the period leading up to the Petite Savanne MP's demotion as a minister.
In fact, Charles seemed resigned to the fact that Baron would cross the floor.
"I got information that he is already gone," the Prime Minister told the Sun. " We tried our best to talk him out of it, but for whatever reason we have not been able to talk him out of it."
Baron, who in his youth was an ardent supporter of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP), first contested and won the Petite Savanne seat for the DLP in 1990. He has not lost since.
He, along with a number of other DLP parliamentarians, was reportedly approached last December by "persons acting on behalf of the United Workers Party (UWP)" to abandon the governing party. One minister said he was offered US$50,000 for changing his allegiance.
The pursuit of Baron intensified after he was stripped of his cabinet post in August, the Sun was told.
Agents acting on behalf of the UWP have also approached Castle Bruce MP, Loreen Bannis-Roberts seeking to get her to return to the party for which she won the seat in the 2000 general elections, the Sun has learnt.
"I have been approached by party supporters but not any hierarchy of the UWP," confirmed Bannis-Roberts.
When asked if she would cross the floor, she responded: "Been there, done that. Leave that for other people. (I will only cross) with justification (and right now) I don't have any justification."
The latest development, along with planned action by Soufriere MP Frederick Baron (no relation to Urban Baron), has unsettled some of the leading members of the administration, sources within the DLP have said.
Frederick Baron confirmed to the Sun that he had written to both the president of Dominica, Vernon Shaw and the Speaker of the House, Alix Boyd-Knight, informing them of his decision to withdraw his support for the governing coalition and to sit as an independent in parliament.
"Pierre Charles and his government can do nothing to get me to change my mind. The only thing they can do is getting rid of Pierre Charles," insisted the Soufriere MP who said that no one from the UWP was "actively pursuing" him.
"A lot of people (within the DLP) have been nervous about it (what has been happening)," said one minister.
"There are people trying to topple the government (and these) guys have been flashing money and everything," added the minister who was among those actively pursued last December but who said he was not approached this time.
"These guys are going all out this time. I think they are really desperate," stated another minister. "The offer has been a lot more substantial than what they offered last time."
However, Edison James, the leader of the UWP has said that none of his parliamentarians has been involved in any drive to recruit government MPs.
"The parliamentary opposition has not been speaking to any of them. But as you are hearing, I am hearing too, that there are a number of (government) parliamentarians are not happy with the leadership and what is going on in the government," James told the Sun in a telephone interview.
James dismissed claims that his party was attempting to "buy" government parliamentarian, blaming the ruling coalition for the rumour.
"It's the old thing again. Every time there is problem with the government, they turn to the UWP. They think all the woes can be washed away by shouting UWP," said the opposition leader whose party has again requested that a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government be included on the Order Paper for this week's sitting of parliament.
It is believed that Urban Baron will declare his hand when the motion comes up. But it was not clear, up to press time, how Frederick Baron would vote. His decision to quit the coalition and his ruthless and abrasive criticism of both the government and the opposition, have place the Soufriere MP in a dilemma, although one senior UWP parliamentarian recalled that Frederick Baron was highly critical of the measures announced in the last budget, yet when it was put to a vote, he abstained.
However, the opposition leader, Edison James said the motion gave parliamentarians on both sides of the aisle the opportunity to indicate "whether or not they have confidence in the government regarding the matters which we put before them."
James admitted that he was not certain if the motion would even be heard. But he advised the Prime Minister to "send the right signal" by allowing it.
"If he is confident that he has the support of the constituencies through their representatives, he should nave no problems (allowing the motion to be debated)," James said.