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PM denies any hand in refusing ‘special chair’ for Cummings

PM denies any hand in refusing ‘special chair’ for Cummings


Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has denied that he had a hand in the decision of the Speaker of the House not to provide parliamentary representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings with the special chair that he has requested.{{more}}

While addressing members of the House of Assembly yesterday, Gonsalves said that he wanted to correct an assertion made by a member of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) on a radio programme, that he (Gonsalves) was the one responsible for the chair not being provided to Cummings.

“Or words to that effect,” Gonsalves said.

During the May 17 sitting of the House, Cummings made an oral request to the Speaker Hendrick Alexander to be provided with a special chair to sit on in Parliament.

The opposition parliamentarian explained that he needed the chair to accommodate injuries he sustained during an incident in 2011, when members of the NDP were forcibly removed from the House by police under the directives of the Speaker.

According to Cummings, his condition has worsened.

He said he had previously written to the Speaker with a recommendation from his neurosurgeon that the chair be provided.

Cummings said that it appeared to him that, based on the communication received through the Clerk of the House, 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.”

But Gonsalves said that he had not been written to and that he had no control over the matter. He explained that he only got involved in matters within his juridical competence and that he should be criticized on those issues.

“I am like all the other members, listening to a representation being made to you, Mr Speaker, and you made your ruling,” he said.

Gonsalves also said that had the Speaker of the House made the alternate decision, he would not have interfered and this was because in the Estimates, furniture and equipment are listed and the public officials concerned would address these matters.(DD)