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Eustace needs to take more control over his team

Eustace needs to take more  control over his team

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Tue Aug 20, 2013

Editor: Last Thursday I was relaxing at home and decided to listen to the parliamentary debate in the St Vincent and the Grenadines which was broadcast live on 705 radio. I must say that I was shocked and amazed at the behaviour of two opposition lawmakers who, after making themselves nuisances, were ordered out of the House. I must say the attitude of the two was most unbecoming for persons who should be looked up to in the community.{{more}}

Besides listening to the live debate on radio, I had the opportunity of seeing a clip of Daniel Cummings, who was demanding that his orthopedic chair be brought in, since he was suffering from a back problem. Speaker Hendrick Alexander informed Cummings that he could bring his chair in at the break, since he did not want to disrupt the House, but the representative from West Kingstown could not wait for the interval and demanded that the chair be brought in immediately and started to shout at the Speaker, insisting that his chair be brought in the very minute. The Speaker repeated that he would have to wait until the break, but Cummings started to shout at the top of his voice, forcing the man with the gravel to ask the lawmaker to leave, but he refused, arguing on what basis he was asked to leave the Chamber. He was eventually escorted out of the House.

I do not think that there would have been a problem with Cummings and his chair if he had, with the Speaker’s permission, taken his orthopedic chair to the Chamber prior to the commencement of the sitting.

I attended scores of sittings of Parliament in Guyana, Montserrat, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, St Lucia, Belize and other independent states, as well as St Thomas, the USVI, and in St Vincent and the Grenadines in the late 1980s and early 1990s and I have never seen any such what I would describe as disgraceful behaviour. I have spoken to several former parliamentarians and they cry shame on Mr Cummings. What message is he sending to the youths in the country, who no doubt would have seen and heard the debate on both radio and television.

At the same sitting another NDP lawmaker, Mr St. Claire Leacock, created another uproar when he was asking questions about the safety and well-being of passengers at the proposed Argyle international airport.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves explained that all international standards regarding safety have been met and approved by the regional and international authorities, yet Leacock insisted on detailed answers to his several ques–tions. The Prime Minister reiterated that he had already given “safety” assurance and won–dered why Leacock was pressing for answers when his party was not supporting the government on the airport project. I could not believe my ears when I heard Leacock telling the PM “Ah cutting you throat” more than once; although he might not mean that he would slit the PM’s throat, but I do not think that it was appropriate language for the highest forum in the land. His constant, and loud insistence forced the Speaker to intervene and eventually he demanded that the lawmaker from Central Kingstown leave the Chamber.

The President of the NDP, Arnhim Eustace, who is also the Leader of the Opposition, should be more vigilant with his team and should ensure that they live up to the high office of member of parliament.

Oscar Ramjeet

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