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Leacock denies claims of wanting to hijack meeting

Leacock denies claims of wanting to hijack meeting


One day after he was prevented from addressing a gathering of vendors, St Claire Leacock, Area Representative for Central Kingstown, says that he was only making an attempt to address an issue that is of national concern.{{more}}

Leacock, on Wednesday, refuted the claim that he had only entered the Victoria Park after Minister of Transport and Works Senator Julian Francis had made his presentation at a consultation on Tuesday.

He said he was seated in the audience during the minister’s presentation.

“I had no intention and have no reason to want to score political victories,” Leacock said.

He added that he had already scored a major political victory by becoming an elected member in the Parliament.

After Leacock walked out of the park, not having been given permission to speak at the podium, Francis said the meeting was being held as a matter for public discussion between the Ministry and the vendors and all other interested parties.

He further explained that notice of the meeting had been given publicly more than a week before it took place, but that he had not heard from Leacock, who he said would usually contact him on issues relating to his (Leacock’s) constituency.

“Since the matter of vendors under the Bank of St Vincent and the Grenadines gallery, I have not heard from Leacock on the matter one-on-one,” Francis said.

However, immediately following the minister’s presentation, Leacock approached the podium and attempted to address the gathering.

He was not given way by Francis, who directed him to one of two microphones that were set up to facilitate vendors wanting to comment or make contributions.

“I didn’t see him anywhere in the audience while I was speaking, so he approaches from the gate when I am finishing my presentation and then says to me that he wants to speak to the people; that is not correct protocol,” Francis explained.

He ought to have contacted the permanent secretary (PS) or the minister, Francis said.

“I would have said yes or no, depending on how the conversation went, but I cannot have a Parliamentary Representative come in that manner and expect to hijack this morning’s meeting,” the minister said.

But Leacock responded, saying that there was an open invitation to all stakeholders to come to the meeting at the park.

“I would imagine that as the Parliamentary Representative I should have been an invite,” he said adding that as the elected member for Central Kingstown, he has an interest in the issue and that it was absurd that he needed to contact either the PS or minister to be able to speak to the people.

He further contended that, contrary to what Francis said, he was in the audience and that he did not come to speak to Francis, but to the people.

Speaking at the designated spots on the floor would have defeated this purpose, he explained, as his back would have been turned to the very people he wanted to address and his presentation would have been subjected to time.(DD)