Meet Mrs Sylvanie Burton.

The Commonwealth of Dominica has just achieved a significant historical milestone with the election of Mrs. Sylvanie Burton as the country’s first female President!

This groundbreaking moment unfolded amid celebrations, underscoring the significance of her appointment. Mrs. Sylvanie Burton was nominated by the Prime Minister-led administration and secured her place as the Commonwealth of Dominica’s first female President with a resounding vote of twenty in favour and five against during the Fifth Meeting of the First Session of the Eleventh Parliament, where she emerged victorious.

The election marked a momentous occasion, as it not only elevated a woman to the highest office in the country but also provided the Kalinago people with an unprecedented opportunity to be represented at the highest level of government.

Honourable Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit urged everyone to focus on the positive aspects of this historic moment, emphasising the need for unity and resilience, especially among the young generation facing challenges. He celebrated the achievement of Mrs. Sylvanie Burton as a symbol of progress and equality.

Mrs Sylvanie Burton

 Embracing Diversity and Resilience

Honourable Cozier Frederick, the Parliamentary Representative for the Salybia Constituency, expressed his pride in Mrs. Sylvanie Burton’s accomplishment and highlighted the resilience of the Kalinago people despite years of discrimination. He also regretted the missed opportunity to showcase unity and resilience as a nation.

Octavia Alfred, the Parliamentary Representative for the Castle Bruce Constituency, lauded Mrs. Sylvanie Burton’s contributions to development projects in her constituency. Alfred emphasised the importance of women’s full participation and leadership in all aspects of society, recognising Mrs. Sylvanie Burton as an inspiring role model for both women and men.

A Female Leader with Experience

Mrs. Sylvanie Burton, a senior public official since 2014 and the former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Rural Modernisation, Kalinago Upliftment, and Constituency Empowerment, brings extensive experience to her new role.

Her qualifications include a Master’s Degree in Project Management and a Bachelor’s Degree in Rural Development. She has also served as a Justice of the Peace for 25 years. Her family, including her husband and children, stands as a source of support in her journey.

 A Vision of Unity

In a moving speech, Mrs. Sylvanie Burton expressed her belief that her Kalinago ancestors were rejoicing in the heavens as she assumed the role of Dominica’s first female and Kalinago President. She humbly acknowledged the opportunity to serve her country and expressed gratitude to her family for their unwavering support during challenging times.

Mrs. Sylvanie Burton also extended her appreciation to Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, sharing that “I am very grateful to the Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit and his Government for my nomination to be president of the Commonwealth of Dominica and to my Kalinago people and to the entire Dominican community who have so warmly and enthusiastically embraced my nomination.”

She recounted her educational and professional journey, emphasising the role of her Kalinago community in nurturing her development. Mrs. Sylvanie Burton attributed her destiny to divine guidance and encouraged others to develop a relationship with the Divine Master to navigate their paths.

She concluded her speech with a pledge of unwavering commitment to serving her Kalinago people and her country, echoing her love for Dominica and its people.

 A Momentous Election

This historic election took place during the Fifth Meeting of the First Session of the Eleventh Parliament, on 27 September 2023, as the term of the outgoing President, Charles Savarin, ends on 1 October 2023.

Mrs. Annette Sanford, another Kalinago woman, had been nominated by the parliamentary opposition but faced an election outcome where the Dominica Labour Party-led government held a majority, resulting in a predetermined outcome based on party lines.

Mrs. Sylvanie Burton’s election as Dominica’s first female President marks a significant moment in the nation’s history, celebrating diversity, resilience, and the progress toward gender equality.

Dominica’s Commitment to Empowering Women in CBI Programme

Dominica is making strides in promoting gender equality and empowering women in key government positions. One notable achievement in this regard is the appointment of Marie-Therese Johnson to the Citizenship by Investment Unit (CIU), a significant development that coincides with the country’s upcoming celebration of three decades of its Citizenship by Investment (CBI) Programme, initiated in 1993.

Before joining the CIU, Johnson served as the General Manager at AID Bank, where she demonstrated her exceptional leadership skills. In that role, she was responsible for the daily operations, strategic guidance to the Board of Directors, and the establishment of a robust risk, compliance, and governance framework.

Her extensive experience in the financial services sector will play a pivotal role in bolstering Dominica’s position in the investment migration industry, benefiting all stakeholders.

Marie-Therese Johnson has set her sights on delivering a customer-centric approach that surpasses the expectations of global investors. Her vision is grounded in a strategic, well-regulated, and compliant work ethic. Johnson aims to provide transparent, affordable, flexible, and secure solutions, solidifying Dominica’s CBI Programme as a top tier offering in the industry.

In a rapidly changing world, international investors seek well-managed programmes in stable countries to diversify their portfolios and mitigate risks. Reputable programmes with stringent due diligence processes are gaining the trust of investors and regulators alike, positioning themselves to cater to the evolving needs of a new generation of global citizens.

Marie-Therese Johnson’s appointment reflects Dominica’s commitment to excellence in its CBI Programme and its dedication to gender diversity in leadership roles. As the country celebrates three decades of this programme, it remains at the forefront of the industry, offering secure and attractive opportunities to global investors.