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Cummings makes another request for special chair

Cummings makes another request for special chair


Opposition Parliamentarian Daniel Cummings has again requested that the Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander provide him with a special chair to sit on, during meetings of the House of Assembly.{{more}}

According to Cummings, he needs the chair to accommodate injuries he says he sustained to his back, during an incident when opposition parliamentarians were forcefully removed from the House by police, under the directives of the Speaker in March 2011. The problem worsened this year, he said, and explained that he was required to receive further treatment and hospitalization in Trinidad.

The parliamentary representative for West Kingstown said he had written to the Speaker of the House requesting the chair, which was recommended by his neurosurgeon, immediately following treatment back in 2011.

A second letter was sent to Alexander this year, Cummings said, this time containing quotations for a special chair, as was again recommended by the specialists in Trinidad.

“Mr Speaker, the matter is a very serious, personal one. I have exhausted all the channels available to me to have the matter resolved,” Cummings said, on May 16, as he addressed a sitting of the House.

Admitting the chair is “quite expensive”, he listed some outlets where the piece of furniture was available.

“This morning, Mr Speaker, I sat here for almost two hours now and it is very uncomfortable,” the opposition parliamentarian said.

“I wish to put on the record that this House has a responsibility to provide to anyone conditions that will allow them to function effectively, and therefore, Mr Speaker, I wish to advise you that until such time as you would do me the basic human courtesy, it is becoming impractical for me to remain in this House,” Cummings said, adding that he was very uncomfortable.

Cummings said that it appeared to him that based on the communication received through the Clerk of the House, that the Speaker did not think that the issue was urgent or serious.

“It would appear to me, Mr Speaker, that you think that $1,100 is too much to spend for the preservation of my health — I beg to differ very strongly and I issue my very strongest protests.”

Alexander responded saying that he was not going to debate the matter in the House.

He, however, acknowledged receipt of the letter from Cummings’ neuro-surgeon.

The Speaker of the House said that he particularly observed the terms and conditions of the quotation.

Alexander said that it was his intention to examine the document and then have some follow-up discussions with Cummings.

“Because, as you are well aware, this issue has some historical perspective and I don’t think it is the intention of this Speaker or anyone in this House to make performance uncomfortable for anyone,” the Speaker said. (DD)