KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – An opposition legislator has informed Parliament that he will make a public issue the omission of a question from the Order Paper for Monday’s meeting of the House of Assembly
“… a question I presented to the House was ruled to be of excessive length by yourself, Mr. Speaker,” Central Kingstown representative St. Clair Leacock told Parliament at the end of question time on Monday.
He said he thought he would have been given an opportunity to have the question shortened “than to have it thrown out all together.
“And to the extent that the question involved the important subject of electricity and the cost of electricity, specifically the surcharge, it is a matter that the Parliament should properly address.
“And that’s why I brought it to the attention [of the Parliament]. Because it is a pricing regime that has been in place now for 40 years that, clearly, has outgrown its usefulness. And I asked the question so that I could come to the assistance of the consumers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines using the Parliament as an important medium,” Leacock said.
“And I thought that I could have, at the minimum, be given a chance to shorten that question, bearing in mind it was much shorter that questions that have been here before by members on the other side. And I just want to bring that to your attention because I would now have to carry that debate to the public,” Leacock said.
But House Speaker Hendrick Alexander, in response, said that he does not “slight” questions submitted for inclusion on the Order Paper.
“When I saw the question, I went to the office of the Clerk of the House and I even asked her opinion on the question. She agreed with me,” the Speaker said.
He said he asked the Clerk to contact the legislator and ask him to modify the question.
“I assumed that was carried out. I have no other reason but to assume it was carried out,” the Speaker further said, adding that during subsequent inquiries he was told that Leacock had not responded to the Clerk’s request to shorten the question.
“I therefore ruled that since he has not responded, that the question should not go on the Order Paper. So I don’t make those kinds of judgements. I am sorry sir,” the Speaker said.
“I am grateful for your clarification. But that opportunity was not provided me. It is still here on my Blackberry. It was information that the question will not be allowed; not asked to modify, change. So we have a clearer understanding now, so I will take it to the public,” Leacock said.