Sylvanie Burton, Dominica’s first woman head of state, was sworn into office, pledging to serve all citizens as the island nation faces an uncertain global environment. The inauguration took place before High Court Judge Jacqueline Josiah-Graham.
Burton, 58, hailing from the Kaliangoo Territory, the home of the indigenous Carib people’s descendants, expressed her commitment to be a president for all Dominicans, emphasizing unity. She acknowledged the historic nature of her election as a woman and a member of the Kaliangoo community. She received Dominica’s highest national award, the Dominica Award of Honour, the day before her inauguration.
A former senior public servant, Burton succeeded Charles Savarin, serving two five-year terms. She asked for the nation’s prayers as she assumes her largely ceremonial role. Quoting from the Bible, she expressed her determination to serve with empathy, courage, dignity, and honor.
Burton acknowledged the sacrifices of her ancestors, particularly the Kaliangoo people, who defended Dominica’s land with their lives. She noted the gravity of the moment and the joy of her historic inauguration as the tenth President of Dominica.
She recognized the challenges facing Dominica, including climate change, artificial intelligence, and global economic instability. Burton vowed to face these challenges with wisdom and understanding.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit welcomed Burton’s election as a gesture of hope and optimism. He highlighted her inspiring background of struggle and triumph. He emphasized that Burton would serve as a source of inspiration for all Dominicans, especially young girls and boys. Skerrit pledged his support and expressed confidence in Burton’s ability to serve the country with pride and distinction.
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