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Alexander refuses to respond to former Speaker

Alexander refuses to respond to former Speaker

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Speaker of the House of Assembly Hendrick Alexander has opted not to respond to a call for his resignation.{{more}}

The call was made by former Speaker of the House Monty Maule last Saturday, March 5, during an interactive radio programme on NICE Radio called ‘Global Highlights’, which featured Randy Dopwell, Chester Connell and Luzette King.

“I will not dignify Monty with a response,” Alexander said when contacted by SEARCHLIGHT to comment on the matter.

“I know Montgomery Maule more than anybody else in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I won’t make Monty feel happy by responding to him. I totally, absolutely and completely ignore him.”

Maule said that Alexander should step down immediately, after his decision to have the opposition members forcibly removed from Parliament on March 3, when they ignored his requests for them first to be seated, then to remove themselves from the House.

“I cannot see how the Opposition could sit in the Parliament again under the present Speaker.”

“I put it to my friend…If a Speaker of the House realizes that he doesn’t have the confidence of one side of the House or the other, he should leave.”

“I think that the first thing that we have to do to clean up this mess is for the Speaker to act maturely and offer his resignation.”

Maule, who was Speaker of the House from 1991 to 1998 under a New Democratic Party (NDP) administration, said that in his opinion, he did not consider the actions of the Opposition members grossly disorderly, and ‘failed to see why the Speaker would have gone to the extreme in that situation, and so quickly’.

“It is an awesome power and authority, but an authority which must be exercised with a great amount of caution and restraint,” Maule added.

According to this country’s constitution, the Speaker has the responsibility for maintaining order in the House through Standing Order 43, which states: “The Speaker or Chairman shall order any member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the House during the remainder of the day’s sitting, and may direct such steps to be taken as required to enforce his order”.

Maule said that according to his own understanding, and from personal notes, gross can be defined as unpleasant, very rude, coarse and vulgar, while he defined disorderly as a state of confusion; breakdown of peaceful and law abiding order.

Admitting that the opposition NDP members were clearly in breach of the standing orders of the House relating to order and discipline, and stating that he was not politically affiliated to any of the parties, Maule pointed out that on occasions, the Speaker of the House is “deliberately set up to be the villain”.

He said that anyone who is appointed Speaker must understand that “the politicians will use you to the hilt to get their nastiness done”.

“You must be a person of integrity and strength to do what is right.”

With respect to the reasons given by opposition members and supporters for their protest actions inside and outside of the House, Maule said that the changes being made to the various Bills were unnecessary.

“The timing is extremely bad, and in the circumstances, it brings into question the motives behind the recommendation, and when we attempt to answer these questions it is frightening.”

Commenting on Maule’s statement about both men being friends, Alexander stated: “My Bible says “A man who is a friend must show himself friendly….” I show myself as a friend. He knows the Word quite well and he would understand that statement quite well.”

“If he realize we were friends, he would want to maybe comment on my statement to him after his first outing as a local preacher in the Methodist Church,” Alexander added.