November 7, 2000

Former leader denies he left Dominica's treasury empty

                  ROSEAU, Dominica (AP) -- Former Prime Minister Edison James, now the
                  opposition leader, on Tuesday denied claims by Prime Minister Pierre Charles
                  that Dominica's treasury was left "empty" by James' administration.

                  James lost Jan. 31 elections to Roosevelt Douglas, who died on Oct. 1 of a heart
                  attack. Charles was chosen by the governing coalition to take Douglas' place two
                  days later.

                  In his first few weeks of office, Charles has alleged that his party "found the
                  treasury of this country in far worse condition than we had imagined."

                  "I am being frank when I tell you that the treasury was empty when we assumed
                  office," Charles said.

                  James denied that his United Workers Party drained the country's resources and
                  he accused Charles' administration of wasting money.

                  "If you met an empty treasury and you are going to exercise fiscal discipline then
                  there is no need for 13 government ministers and three special advisers," James

                  James said the coalition "is daunted by the work which has to be done, is
                  incapable of doing the work and continues to look for excuses with talk of an
                  empty treasury."

                  The former British island's coalition government is led by the Dominica Labor
                  Party and Dominica Freedom Party.

                  Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.