The Dominica parliament is unicameral in that it has only one legislative chamber. Therefore, all members sit together and make decisions on matters brought before the House. It is patterned on the Westminster system of the United Kingdom.

Dominica Parliament convenes at 10 o’clock unless otherwise determined by the Speaker. Members must be given no less than twelve days notice of the sitting except in cases of emergency. All the proceedings and debates or petitions are to be in the English language. Members will be asked to translate any utterance that is done in a language other than English. The quorum of the House consists of twelve members. A member who has taken the oath can occupy any seat providing that one has not been allotted to him/her by the Speaker.

The first sitting of every session of Dominica parliament is by Proclamation from the President in accordance with Section 53 of the Constitution. Subsequent sittings are at the discretion of the House or the Speaker. However, in order for there not to be an interval greater than six months between the last sitting of the House in one session and the first sitting of the next, there must be a session at least once a year. Barring early dissolution, Parliament continues for five years. Only the President can prorogue or dissolve Parliament acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Currently the House of Assembly is made up of 31 members: 21 elected representative and 9 senators (5 on the advice of the Prime Minister and 4 by the Leader of the Opposition). The Speaker, who is elected at the first sitting of Dominica parliament after a general election, is an ex officio member. To be elected as a Representative, one must be a citizen of Dominica of at least 21 years of age and resident on island for no less than a year before the date of nomination for election. A senatorial appointee must be a Commonwealth citizen 21 years or older who is living in Dominica at the time of his or her appointment. Both Senators and Representatives must have communicative competence in the English language.

A member of Dominica parliament must vacate his seat if he or she misses three consecutive sittings in any one session of the House and not having leave of the Speaker to do so. If a representative is no longer a citizen of Dominica or a Senator, a citizen of the Commonwealth, he or she will also lose his/her seat. A vote of no confidence can only be taken by elected members.

The last general election was held in December 2019. The Dominica Labour Party won 18 of the 21 seats and the United Workers Party won 3.

Leave a Reply