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Speaker having difficulty managing the House

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Tue Feb 10, 2015

Editor: I paid special attention to the Prime Minister’s budget presentation for 2015. I came to the conclusion that the presentation was lacking, in terms of providing for, and protecting poor Vincentians.

I have some suggestions for the Prime Minister Hon Dr Ralph Gonsalves: pay more attention to the tourism sector in terms of marketing. Listen to Vincentians more!{{more}}

The 2015 presentation of Opposition leader Arnhim Eustace was very extraordinary! It shows a different side and was far better than what was expected. He spoke about the importance of the NIS, mention was made about the British American Insurance and what was needed, job creation, the tourism industry. These are aspects that affect poor people in St Vincent and that’s why Vincentians are ready to give Mr Eustace a chance to be Prime Minister.

His thoughts are with the poor. I will refrain from commenting on presentations by other members of parliament — all that was done by them was to oppose and propose. PR Campbell QC said that he was impressed by the starting of the Prime Minister’s budget presentation 2015. I’m wondering what he thinks about the Speaker of the House and the way he manages the House of Assembly.

The Speaker of the House lacks impartiality. Sometimes I wonder if he understands the house rules or if he is just afraid to implement them. Is he intimidated by the Prime Minister being the Leader of the House? Is it because the Prime Minister knows all the house rules? I often listen to the Parliament for cross-talk between the Prime Minister, MP Leacock, Cummings, Dr Lewis and Senator Francis. It makes listening very interesting. This is where the Speaker should manage the house, but he lacks management, he allows the crosstalk, sometimes allows it to go overboard. So I am hoping the Prime Minister pays special attention to these issues and removes Mr Alexander from being the Speaker of the House and select Mr Jomo Thomas, who is a lawyer. He knows the rules of the House and the way they should be implemented. Mr Alexander doesn’t have a clue. I have some questions for the Speaker of the House. Mr Alexander, why are you finding difficulties managing the House? Is it fair to say that you are intimidated by the Prime Minister? Do you think that Vincentians are satisfied with your service?

By asking these questions I hope you don’t consider me your enemy. The cross- talk between the Prime Minister, Senator Francis and St Clair Leacock got out of control. Some words were used; “liar” is not parliamentary language, except it is used by the Prime Minister! He once referred to the Opposition Leader as a compulsive liar.

I am hoping my opinion doesn’t offend the Speaker of the House. The good news is that Mr Jomo Thomas will eventually be the full-time Speaker of the House. Regardless to if the ULP regains the position of Government, or if the NDP wins and takes over the Government.

I am hoping my writing isn’t taken out of context, because I don’t have immunity.

Kingsley DeFreitas

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