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‘Major’ leads opposition march out of Parliament

‘Major’ leads opposition march out of Parliament


Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock, says he will not demonstrate any form of respect for the Speaker of the House,{{more}} Hendrick Alexander, unless Alexander demonstrates a level of fairness and maturity.

Leacock, last Monday evening, led Opposition members in a walk out of the House, following a heated debate between him and the Speaker.

The exchange of words came to a head during the debate on the Interviewing for Suspects of Serious Crimes Bill 2012.

The Speaker of the House had asked Leacock to let the subject matter of his debate reflect the topic of discussion.

“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 responded.

“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 questioned, in response to which, the Speaker instructed Leacock to take his seat.

“Fine!” Leacock shouted back.

“I am also an elected member of this House by almost, you can say, the whole country,” Alexander said.

“Questionably,” Leacock retorted.

The Central Kingstown MP then picked up his belongings and left the Assembly Chamber. He was followed by the other members of the opposition who were present.

Leacock’s exchange with the Speaker came after earlier skirmishes between opposition members and Alexander, mostly related to a Motion on Private Sector Development presented by Senator David Browne. During these exchanges, the Speaker had ruled against other opposition members including MP for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings and MP for the Northern Grenadines Dr Godwin Friday.

In an interview on Wednesday, Leacock described the actions of the Speaker of the House as “manifestly incompetent, undemocratic in his practice and manipulated by the ruling regime in the conduct of the House.”

He said that his attitude in Parliament will continue, if, according to him, the Speaker continues to be “disrespectful, contemptuous and non-democratic”.

“It is my duty to represent the people who put me in this Parliament,” Leacock said.

He told SEARCHLIGHT the possibility of being disciplined by the Speaker does not faze him.

“Let me make it clear to you SEARCHLIGHT, it is the people of Central Kingstown who elected me to be a member of parliament in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. When they have enough of me, they will withdraw me …

“Until such time it is not for the Speaker to reverse that decision of the people of Central Kingstown… the Speaker needs to get his act together,” Leacock stated.

During a January 13, 2012 New Democratic Party (NDP) press conference Leacock said that no one had the authority to “scold” him and there would be no letting up between him and the Speaker of the House in Parliament.

When contacted on Thursday, Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander told SEARCHLIGHT he does not expect anything different from Leacock, because he 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 does not suffer from some sort of complex or the other.

“He just simply believes that he can flaunt the rules of the House any and all times and must be allowed to do that, but while I remain Speaker of the House of Assembly, he will never, ever be able to do it and get away with it. I’ll always challenge him,” the Speaker of the House stated.

Alexander admitted that he is not sure if measures could be taken to curb such behaviour.

“I don’t know… he says he is a big man and he’s no child, and big men are supposed to have proper manners. I see him as person who does not display, even if he has it, he does not display proper manners.”

Alexander said Leacock just simply needs to understand and respect authority.

“If he is wrong, he is simply wrong and like any other person in Parliament, acknowledge they are wrong and move on, but he always wants to put up a fight,” Alexander added.

The Speaker however said he has nothing personal against Leacock.

“I have nothing personal with St. Clair. Nothing, absolutely nothing!

“When he feels like, he comes and talk to me. When he doesn’t feel like talking to me, he passes straight.”

According to Alexander, Leacock just simply needs to learn good manners. (AA/DD)