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Speaker calls on parliamentary snipers to put up or shut up

Speaker calls on  parliamentary snipers to put up or shut up


Rather than sniping at the Speaker of the House of Assembly in the public domain, parliamentarians should address their issues in Parliament.

Jomo Thomas, the Speaker made this suggestion at yesterday’s sitting of Parliament, when he said that he was taken aback by the sniping that takes place on public radio by members on both sides of the House.

“I think that it is appropriate and I would welcome – if people think that I have done something outside of the ambit as Speaker of the House – that they can bring a censure motion and have me censured for doing something,” he said. “It would be for my own educational value and if people think that I am so beyond the pale, that they can bring a motion which can result in me being removed as the Speaker.”

Thomas writes a weekly column called Plain Talk in a local newspaper, and is known for explicitly stating his opinions on a number of issues.

And he said that the sniping from parliamentarians usually has to do with positions he has taken on one issue or another.

The Speaker expressed that he did not think he has done anything outside of his borders as the Speaker of the House. But he said that he serves all parliamentarians in the House.

“And rather than go sniping here there and everywhere, in the public domain, it may be best to come here where at a minimum, I would have the opportunity to defend myself,” he said.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, in response to the Thomas’ comments, said that he saw no need to even consider a motion to censure the Speaker.

“…There are always different opinions,” Gonsalves said. “ I don’t know that you have done anything to be censured. I don’t know about that, or certainly to bring a specific motion for removal. I personally don’t think that that is a matter that really should be on the agenda for any serious consideration, though I understand why you said it.”