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Linton Lewis: ‘I have never been consulted on senatorial positions’

Linton Lewis: ‘I have never been  consulted on senatorial positions’


Chairman of the New Democratic Party (NDP) Dr Linton Lewis has sought to set the record straight on his party’s appointment of two new senators.{{more}}

Lewis, in a call to the Current Affairs programme on Nice Radio, hosted by Bert Francois on Tuesday, December 28, said, contrary to what has been said or may be presumed, he had not been consulted about the appointment of his party’s two senators to sit in the House of Assembly.

Earlier on Tuesday, the NDP announced that lawyer Vynnette Frederick and former civil servant Anesia Baptiste will be the two senators to sit on the Opposition benches for the 9th sitting of the parliament of this country.

“I am the Chairman of the Party, and I have never once been consulted on the issue of senatorial positions. I have never had the priviledge of knowing who the senators are before they go out to the public. I have only ever known who the senators are after the public knows about it,” Lewis said.

“I know a number of my colleagues also were not consulted,” Lewis stated.

Lewis, a lawyer and a chartered accountant, was, however, quick to add that the Constitution of St. Vincent and the Grenadines gives the Leader of the Opposition the right to make recommendations to the Governor General for two persons to be appointed as senators.

Lewis contested the December 2010 general elections in the constituency of East St. George on an NDP ticket, but was defeated by the incumbent Unity Labour Party (ULP) representative Clayton Burgin. Burgin also beat Lewis in that seat in 2005. In 2001, Lewis also unsuccessfully contested the West St. George seat against Mike Browne of the ULP.

He has never been appointed a senator in the House of Assembly.

In 2001, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace named Joseph “Burns” Bonadie and Gerard “Rasum” Shallow as Opposition senators. Bonadie’s appointment lasted only five months, as at the request of the Leader of the Opposition, it was revoked by the Governor General in September 2001. Bonadie was replaced by St. Claire Leacock in October of that year.

After the 2005 elections, St. Claire Leacock and Daniel Cummings were named opposition senators.

Lewis said over the years, he has allowed things to pass by, because of his focus on the country. He, however, said in this case, it would not be fair to allow it to pass, the presumption that he had participated in the decision making process about the senators.

When asked to comment on the appointments, Lewis said he would not do so publicly.