Earl Michael Williams
Former Leader of the Opposition of the Commonwealth of Dominica
Earl Michael Williams (born 28 February 1964) is a Dominican politician who was Leader of the Opposition in Dominica and Political Leader of the United Workers' Party from 2007 to 2008.
Early life and education
Earl Michael Williams born in Southall, Middlesex County, England of Mrs Veronica and Clark Williams, on the 28 February 1964, he migrated to Dominica at the age of six years. He was educated at the Salisbury Government School before entering the Community High School in 1978. He created history for Alma Mater when he became the first student of the said Community High School to enter the Sixth Form College in 1983 where he specialised in Mathematics and Economics studies at Advance Level.
Williams then served as a teacher at various schools on the island and participated in sports as a coach and player. He was an active member of the Credit Union movement not only in Salisbury but on the Island as well as the Caribbean. He served both on the Supervisory Committee and the board of the Salisbury Co-operative Credit Union as Well as Treasurer of the Dominica Credit Union League Movement and twice was one of Dominicas Delegates at the Caribbean Conference of Credit Unions.
Williams was a member of the Young Freedom Movement, the youth arm of the Dominica Freedom Party which was important to the party's success. He was very active in his community, and he was rewarded for this when in the 1990 General Elections he was elected to Parliament for the Salisbury Constituency. By this time he was no longer associated with the Freedom Party and was now a member of the UWP.
The youngest ever parliamentarian on the island, he learned quickly and was a very vocal member of the opposition. In 1995 the UWP formed the government and Williams widened his margin of victory in the Salisbury (Barroui) Constituency, transforming it into a UWP stronghold. He was appointed Minister of Communications and Works and Housing. As a minister he was very instrumental in the liberalization of the telecoms market within the OECS states,by issuing a licence to telecoms provider Marpin Telecoms thereby opening up the sector for competition on the island. This decision had positive implications for the entire OECS since at that time there were plans on reforming the sector.
In the 31 January 2000, General Elections Williams comfortably retained his seat. However, the UWP did not retain enough seats in the Parliament and they again returned to the opposition. Williams then decided that he would attend the University of the West Indies to study Law. This provoked some criticism from government supporters, but generally his constituents were not angered by his decision.
In the 5 May 2005 Elections Williams again retained his seat by a wide margin, though his opponent did better than expected. The UWP put up a tough election campaign but they lost one seat in the parliament and remained in opposition. This second loss by the party evinced the need for a change of political leadership. Williams had become a very important member of the party, and he along with Julius Timothy were the main contenders for the leadership.
In October 2005, he was called to the bar and this enhanced his chances of becoming the political leader. In December 2005, Edison James stood down as political leader and Williams replaced him. His election alienated Julius Timothy, who as deputy leader under James thought he would have easily secured the leadership. This resulted in Timothy crossing the floor and joining the DLP government in September 2006.
In July 2007 Edison James resigned as leader of the opposition and Williams assumed that office.
In July 2008 Williams, in his capacity as an attorney, became embroiled in a controversy concerning a land deal.
On 30 July 2008, in light of the controversy and in the interest of the party, Williams announced his resignation as Leader of the Opposition and as Political Leader of the United Workers' Party. However, he stated that after consultation with his constituents, he was "duty bound to honour the wishes of the people of Salisbury constituency" and continue as their Member of Parliament.This came days after Williams led an opposition boycott of Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's budget address to highlight allegations of corruption against Skerrit.