Hotelier Judith Pestaina has stepped down as political leader of the Dominica Freedom Party (DFP) as of October 10 and businessman, Michael Astaphan is the new interim leader.
At an October 8 press conference, Pestaina, who has led the party since September 2008, noted that politics can be time consuming and she plans to place more focus on her family and business.
“…I have a family. I am part of a business called The Garraway Hotel. I would need to devote more time to my family and my business. [Politics]…is a job that demands a 24/7 dedicated effort and I do not think I would want to compromise whatever contribution I could make because I don’t have the time…” Pestaina said.
She encouraged young people to play a bigger role in the country’s development but advised that “it has a lot of sacrifice.”
Pestaina added that her departure from the party’s leadership gives the party enough time to prepare for the next general elections that are constitutionally due in 2014.
Astaphan thanked the outgoing leader for her tenure and recognized that she held the position at a very challenging time for the party – mere months ahead of the 2009 general elections.
He continued, “Judith kept the torch burning and I think we have to congratulate her…we hope that Judith will be with us for the years to come.”
Astaphan commended her for being able to field a slate of twelve candidates during the 2009 general elections.
“She championed the cause of electoral reform despite the fact that little or nothing has been done.”
The party said that its short term focus is to rebuild its various arms and make preparations for its delegate’s conference, expected to be held within the next six months following Pestaina’s departure