Roosevelt Skerrit (born 8 June 1972) is a Dominican politician who has been Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica since 2004, re-appointed in 2005, 2009, and 2014. He has also been the Member of Parliament for the Vieille Case constituency since 2000; re-elected in 2005, 2009, and 2014. Regionally, he has served as the Chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and most recently as Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in 2016. He is the Political Leader of the Dominica Labour Party (DLP).
Skerrit was born in the village of Vieille Case. He began his studies at the University of New Mexico, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. He later transferred to the University of Mississippi, Ole Miss, Oxford, Mississippi, where in 1997, he acquired a Bachelor’s (Honors) degree in Psychology (B.Sc.) and English (BA).
Member of Parliament for Vieille Case
Skerrit was elected to the House of Assembly (legislature) as Member of Parliament for Vieille Case in 2000 before being appointed Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports by Prime Minister Rosie Douglas. He was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for the Vieille Case constituency in 2004, 2009, and 2014.
Skerrit was first sworn in as Prime Minister on January 8, 2004 after the untimely passing of his predecessor. Aged 31 at his swearing in, he became the world’s youngest Prime Minister, leading a two-party coalition government. The following month, February, Skerrit was elected Political Leader of the Dominica Labour Party. This was Skerrit’s first term as Prime Minister.
On May 5, 2005, Roosevelt Skerrit and the Dominica Labour Party won an outright majority in the legislature, a feat last achieved by the DLP in 1975. In addition to being Prime Minister, Skerrit served as Minister for Finance during that term. Skerrit would serve a second term as Prime Minister.
On December 18, 2009, Roosevelt Skerrit and the Dominica Labour Party won a second consecutive outright majority in the legislature, securing 18 of 21 possible seats. On the December 21, 2009, Skerrit was appointed Prime Minister by the President of Dominica, His Excellency Nicholas J. O. Liverpool. Skerrit began his third term as Prime Minister of Dominica. On January 4, 2010, Prime Minister Skerrit also took up responsibilities for Information Technology, Finance, and Foreign Affairs.
On December 8, 2014, Roosevelt Skerrit and the Dominica Labour Party won a third consecutive outright majority in the General Elections, securing 15 of 21 possible seats in the legislature. On December 9, 2014, Skerrit was appointed Prime Minister by President Charles Savarin. On December 10, 2014, Prime Minister Skerrit was appointed Minister for Finance and the Public Service by the President. Prime Minister Skerrit would be the first in Dominica’s political history, to serve a fourth consecutive term in office as Prime Minister.
As Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit is responsible for the Cabinet Secretariat; Elections; the Legislature; National Awards; the Government Printery and; Service Commissions and Board of Appeal. As Minister of Finance, he is responsible for the Office of the Accountant General; the Audit Department; Banking and Banking Organizations; Boards of Surveys; Budget; Capital Repayments; Central Purchasing; Consolidated Fund; Currency; Customs and Excise; Enemy Property; Exchange Control; Finance and Financial Services; International Business; Inland Revenue; Lotteries; Pensions and Gratuities; Public Debt; Regional and International Financial Organizations and; Saving Banks.
Regional and International Profile
Prime Minister Skerrit has earned an international reputation for his national and regional leadership along with his hands-on and sincere approach to international affairs. He is now a frequent lecturer at all levels. Lectures include The David Thompson Memorial Lecture: Future of CARICOM and Regional Integration at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados in 2011. He was Keynote speaker at the 2013 Annual Meeting of Eco-Forum Global in the People’s Republic of China and most recently he was the keynote speaker at a lecture dubbed, “Grenada Revolution and the Current Foreign Policy Challenges of Small Island States”. This lecture was presented on March 16, 2015 at the Trade Centre in Grand Anse, Grenada.
Skerrit, as Prime Minister, has graduated to the forefront of Caribbean leadership, serving as Chair of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) during periods of historic fiscal and economic challenges faced by the region and the world: high debt, high unemployment, low growth, and high deficits. He has contributed to the formulation of the eight-point stabilization programme of the OECS. As leader of the first English-speaking and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of our Americas (ALBA), in 2008, Skerrit is recognized for making a significant contribution towards building bridges between the predominantly English-speaking Caribbean region and the predominantly Spanish-speaking Latin American region. He is an ardent advocate of wider regional cooperation and has worked towards the deepening of cooperation with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLAS).
On February 23, 2016, Lovely Professional University of India conferred the Doctor of Letters degree on Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit for “his dynamism, farsightedness and his being innovative leader”.
Skerrit is married to Melissa Poponne; the couple have a son and daughter, Dmitry and Isabella. Skerrit previously had a son, Malik. He was raised as a Christian and possesses a strong sense of family and community service. He has developed personal discipline and a passion for getting things done. Skerrit has empowered Dominican citizens and residents by involving them as partners in governance and development, especially the youth through education and the poor, women, and the elderly through innovative social programmes in housing and settlement.