Opposition lawmakers ask House Speaker to quit

Speaker of the House of Assembly, Henrick Alexander.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition legislators on Wednesday wrote to House Speaker Hendrick Alexander asking him to demit office for what they say is his lack of impartiality.

“We have become very tired of the attitude displayed by the Speaker of the House of Assembly,” Opposition Leader and President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Arnhim Eustace told a media briefing.

The call for Alexander to go comes in response to statements he made to Searchlight newspaper about Central Kingstown representative, NDP Vice-President St. Clair Leacock after an exchange between the two men in Parliament on March 26.

Leacock repeatedly referred to the NDP’s Social, and Spiritual Redemption Charter as he debated the Interviewing of Suspects of Serious Crimes Bill 2012 in Parliament even as the Speaker repeatedly told him to stay on topic.

“I want you to get directly to the point of the Bill that is before you and if you cannot do that, I’m asking you please to discontinue, because I am not happy at all and you yourself said that you are not dealing with the matter that is before you, it doesn’t take a genius to see that,” the Speaker said.

“Mr Speaker, with all due respect, I am not a child, I’m an elected member of this House,” Leacock said.

“I’m an elected member too,” Alexander said.

“I am an elected member to this House representing a constituency. You feel you can dress me down in here?” Leacock said.

The Speaker then instructed Leacock to sit and added, “I am also an elected member of this House by almost, you can say, the whole country,” Alexander said.

“Questionably,” Leacock said, in an apparent reference to the NDP’s doubts about the legitimacy of the Speaker’s election because the Attorney General voted.

Frederick subsequently told Searchlight that Leacock is “simply a rude and out of place man who is not fit to be a parliamentarian to represent people anywhere in this country

“… Sometimes I wonder if he doesn’t suffer from some sort of complex or the other. He just simply believes that he can flaunt the rules of the House, at any and all times must be allowed to do that,” the Speaker further said, according to the publication.

Beyond parliamentary privilege

But the NDP in its letter on Wednesday noted that the Speaker’s comments to the newspaper are not protected by parliamentary privilege.

“You, Mr. Speaker must recognised that this statement was made outside the House and its privileges and therefore is subject to a lawsuit,” Eustace said, quoting the letter.

“Since there was no retraction by you, Mr. Speaker, of your statements, we conclude that they were meant for public consumption. And coming from the Speaker, this is untenable, since the Speaker is expected to be impartial and a keeper of the peace,” Eustace further said.

“The opposition Members of Parliament therefore call on you to step down from the office so that a more impartial individual can be elected as Speaker in the interest of our democracy,” Eustace said, quoting the letter.

The letter said that opposition legislators have repeatedly raised issues about the Speaker’s lack of impartiality.

They mentioned an exchange in Parliament last Thursday, May 31, when opposition legislator Daniel Cumming asked about the Speaker’s ruling on a matter in which South Leeward Representative Nigel Stephenson was made to withdraw a statement, attributed to Gonsalves, about the crime-fighting initiative Vincy Pac.

The opposition say they have given the Speaker evidence that Gonsalves in fact made the statement.

But the Speaker is yet to rule on the matter and responded hostilely to opposition legislators, including West Kingstown representative Daniel Cumming and his Northern Grenadines colleague Dr. Godwin Friday, when they inquired about it in Parliament Thursday.

“So he has the evidence that he has asked for and still has not ruled on the issue. And when asked to do so, at the last sitting of the House, he gave no assurance that it would be dealt with,” Friday, an NDP vice-president said at Wednesday’s press conference.

Friday, a lawyer, said opposition lawmakers believe the legal opinion the Speaker received and announced in Parliament about Attorney General Judith Jones-Morgan’s ballot in the Speaker’s election is “wrong”.

“But the Speaker himself has essentially presented the opinion, but, in my view has not ruled on the issue as to what extent the Attorney General is entitled to vote in the House,” Friday said.

“So that is another issue that is lingering. So, there are a number of serious procedural issues and when we raise them, there is a temptation of some to trivialise them and say we are simply trying to score political points. But the Speaker is constitutionally an impartial person so we can’t score political points against the Speaker,” he said.

The NDP has copied its letter, singed by all opposition legislators, to Gonsalves, Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne, and the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.

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17 thoughts on “Opposition lawmakers ask House Speaker to quit


    Posted by Peter | June 7, 2012, 08:22
  2. I have to say, this call for the Speaker to resign IS A LOAD OF CRAP!…It has been two years or there since the NDP has been calling for the resignation of the Speaker…and have yet to make a smidgen of a dent in this regard. It is clear to me that whatever the OPPOSITION IS DOING, IS TOTALLY INEFFECTIVE and ought to put up their discourse until they could come up with a more effective effort to remove the Speaker.

    Look, voluntarily stepping down from high positions is not a practice of our culture…high officials behave in all sort of worthless manner ala our Prime Minister Gonsalves and the thought of stepping down will not even enter their consciousnesses. Why do the NDP believe that the Speaker will ever step down voluntarily, for these minuscule transgressions?.Ths FOOL IS NOT GOING TO BUDGE WITH PURE RHETORIC. So why is the NDP wasting time with calls of the Speaker’s resignation on such weak matters is beyond my limited intellect…

    On the issue of whether or not he was duly elected to be Speaker is another pursuit of asinine proportion ..why do we need legal opinion to determine this issue? Can the AG vote in electing the Speaker..YES OR NO…why are we prolonging this issue? Are our parliamentary procedures so archaic that we cannot determine from the onset who can vote and who cannot vote and so need a legal opinion to do so?..this supposed to be elementary stuff…WTF

    As for the Speaker making remarks in the Newspaper about Leacock…this is neither here or there in my book…imagine the NDP is talking about impartiality..really? In our political system and culture, where do you find impartiality? Whether its the NDP or the ULP or the Green Party… IMPARTIALITY IS NOT PART OF OUR POLITICAL VOCABULARY…So Leacock needs to stop with this feigned outrage and answer the Speaker in the manner that we accustom to…by water-soaking his arse inside the House and outside…and likewise in the newspapers…this is how politics work in Vincyland and the Caribbean…this nonsense of asking the Speaker to resign cause he hurt your feelings in the media, ought to be frowned upon. YES, the Speaker is an indisputable …but the NDP cannot be wasting time beating this fool with a feather…if you can’t put a bulwood on this fool now…wait for another time, the speaker is a dotish man, and will … up sooner or later…but for now, the NDP has to use their energy on a more meaningful and worthy cause…the speaker is like dogdoodoo that you mashed…you say..oh #%^&…wipe your foot on something and move on.

    **Speaking of dogdoodoo…where is JASON THE RACIST DUMB…?…Oh wait, he was shot dead! Lets say a prayer for the dumb…and hope his soul wander in purgatory for a very long time.

    Posted by Saadiss | June 7, 2012, 17:58
  3. You have a problem? Go to the Law-Court!!!! Opps! forget that you guys don’t trust the Caribbean Justice System!

    Posted by no-nonsense | June 7, 2012, 21:09
  4. They need to provide Hendrick with transcripts and tapes of former speakers of the house,so he would know what a real speaker is supposed to act like or sound like,they should replace Hendrick with someone sensible like the Governor general,or ask someone respectable like Cecil Cyrus to be speaker of the house..Sometimes lisening to parliament one wonders whether one of those guys who loiter on the street or sell dvds wouldn’t be a better speaker,or a conductor or van driver…How about making “Code Red” speaker of the house…Even Snagg would be an improvement,

    Posted by Joe | June 7, 2012, 22:44
  5. So these ndp morons are so arrogant and stupid that they expect to disrespect the speaker over and over again and then wants him to resign? WOW talk about the audacity of these monkeys!

    Posted by Jason | June 8, 2012, 10:29

      Posted by Saadiss | June 8, 2012, 16:57
  6. Donkey Dung Gonslaves [DDG] should just give the Spunker of the House Alexslander a new better paid job. You know one like he has now ‘only works a few times a month’ and ‘only a few during the year’ pay him a load of money and give him a wheel barrow to take his pay home in.

    Come on Donkey Dung, the Spunker deserves at least that for his unflinching unquestioning support for you in the house, through good and bad, through right and wrong, you must keep his mouth shut so fill it full of dollars.

    Posted by Peter | June 8, 2012, 12:16
  7. THE SPEAKER of the HOUSE has more PATIENCE than JOBE, especially when DEALING with LEACOCK and CUMMINGS.


    Frankly, I am SURPRISE that he has not THROWN LEACOCK out of the HOUSE for his BEHAVIOR towards him.

    Posted by VINCY POWA (@VINCYPOWA) | June 8, 2012, 12:49
  8. Listening to the speaker reminds me of ths scene with Bernie Mac where he’s drunk with power

    Posted by Joe | June 8, 2012, 15:44
  9. VINCYPOWA, there is no bigger blight on our parliament than DONKEY DUNG GONSLAVES he just can’t keep his mouth shut when others are standing and speaking, unfortunately the SPUNKER OF THE HOUSE ALEXSLANDER is unable and even unwilling to control GONSLAVES, and even on the two occasions he has GONSLAVES ignores him.

    Now that is what Marxist’s call democracy.

    Then to top it all, we have to put up with crap from the sniveling snurging VINCY POWA along with total rubbish submitted by JASON his apprentice cottager.

    SAADISS, I am disappointed with you, why don’t you tell JASON the way it really is instead of all that fluffy tame stuff. LOL.

    Posted by Peter | June 9, 2012, 08:50
  10. Too often the opposition thinks it has a duty to fabricate and twist the truth, often using clever language in which words are thrown about as baited lines to catch unsuspecting fish. By casting doubts and using clever innuendos and aspersions, the opposition which often has more time on its hand than it knows what to do with, can raise the political mischief level, whenever it chooses, to the discomfort of governments and its other perceived opponents, alike.
    It is also fair criticism that certain governments attract deserved hostility by reacting too hastily and heavy handedly, in response to vague and dubious charges against them. It is not uncommon in the Caribbean for the opposition to spread malicious and reckless rumors which it cannot prove. Such rumors can damage the image and reputation of both the government and the country, in the eyes of the outside world. It may even affect the willingness of entrepreneurs to invest. But who cares? Certainly not the opposition! Those who indulge in such behaviour tells us that all is fair in war and politics. What they always omit to say, however, is that people whose conduct is informed by negative aspects of politics, finds it more difficult to settle down into positive work rhythm when they form the government. Unfortunately, in less well educated societies in which people lack the ability to read and critically analyze news reports, government and opposition propaganda can often become biblical truths, taking on a life of its own. This constant conflict and warring may be sending the wrong message to the youths and may even prepare the ground for conflict and disunity within the population. In time, such conflict and disunity can also lead to increased criminal activity.- Peter Josie, Shattered Dreams.

    Posted by VINCYPOWA | June 9, 2012, 17:38
  11. If you give him the job, then take it, You MORONS!!!!!

    Posted by fed-up | June 9, 2012, 21:12
  12. FED-UP he was not given the job, he was elected by dubious means, which is still awaiting legal judgment.

    NO-NONSENSE, everyone is aware that justice in SVG is prejudged by one man, the DPP, he finds it expedient to just disallow almost anything that comes from the opposition, its members and followers.

    VINCYPOWA, you are such a twisted person. Don’t you think that most of what is written here can be found elsewhere written by others, protesting the same stuff. Do you really think that in today’s age of technology you can get away with all your lies and support for liars.

    The country has been hijacked by a Marxist who allowed the people to be bribed at each election to gain power, our only hope is that Karma will strike at Gonsalves and all those who support him only for gain or favor.

    History shows that these kind of leaders allways come to a sticky end, its inevitable that Gonsalves and people like VINCYPOWA, JASON, CADDY KING, NO-NONSENSE will all qualify for punishment by the World of Karma.

    The problem is the damage that is wreaked on the people by such scum during the reign of spite, untruth, sexual and political indecency and pure evil.

    Posted by Peter | June 10, 2012, 07:51
  13. SEEMS that someone is FEDUP with NOT being able to see the FOREST for the TREES.

    Posted by STEVE_HUGGINS | June 14, 2012, 13:52
  14. VINCYPOWA. your comment “Too often the opposition thinks it has a duty to fabricate and twist the truth, often using clever language in which words are thrown about as baited lines to catch unsuspecting fish. By casting doubts and using clever innuendos and aspersions” this sounds like a self description on your part, you really are a very sick man.

    Do you think that anyone who has followed your posts over the years believes one word of what you write.

    Posted by Peter | June 16, 2012, 20:20
  15. I concur.

    Posted by STEVE_HUGGINS | June 19, 2012, 21:03
  16. I think that Hendrick has outstayed his welcome. Every man must have that sense of when its time to quit a demeaned office of a necessarily bi-partisan, or neutral position, such as the SPEAKER’s.

    However, I am constrained to squelch my comments as I would have transparent vested interest, or conflict of interest.

    WOULD SOMEONE INFORM ME, please, WHENEVER ALEXANDER FINALLY HAS THE GOOD SENSE TO RESIGN and demit this august office so sullied by ineptness, simple lack of knowledge and common sense, and political incompetence.

    You see, ONCE that office is declared to have a vacancy, then i intend to apply. So, hurry up, Hendrick. Of course, I would very much prefer a brand new post as INDEPENDENT OMBUDSMAN, or PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSIONER – – – then I can finally, definitively, tell Hendrick Alexander – – – ” GO !”

    Posted by STEVE_HUGGINS | June 21, 2012, 22:41

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