MEMBERS of Parliament of both sides of the House of Assembly are still at odds over the appointment of a Deputy Speaker five months after the House met for the first time under our new administration headed by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.
Now the Opposition is taking the matter a step further by going to a court of law to seek an opinion on the matter.
The issue came up at last Tuesday’s House meeting and once again the opposition made it clear that it was not interested in nominating one of its members to the position.
Opposition Leader Philip J Pierre yesterday told The VOICE that convention dictates that the Deputy Speaker position is filled by someone from the government side of the House, something he said that deceased Sir John Compton understood when he asked Marcus Nicholas to occupy the position.
Government, he added need not have made every elected member a Minister.
“Which law states that every elected Member of Parliament must be a member of Cabinet?,” Pierre asked.
He added that the Deputy Speaker position was already filled by Castries Central parliamentarian Sarah Flood-Beaubrun who afterwards was appointed a Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation and the Public Service.
Pierre is of the view that his side of the House would be short of a speaker under certain circumstances if a Deputy Speaker is appointed from the Opposition side.
He said that if the Prime Minister cannot convince one of his members to take up the position the opposition will decline the offer.
But Pierre’s position has not gone down well with the United Workers Party which released a statement Thursday saying that Pierre “is not among the many who have committed themselves to putting our country first.”
“The United Workers Party considers it shameful that the Opposition should wish to go to court over the issue of the election of a Deputy Speaker, when the Leader of the Opposition himself is on record as saying it was not in his party’s best interests at this time to nominate one of its members as a candidate for Deputy Speaker. The United Workers Party takes this opportunity to repeat itself on the matter:
Parliament is a collective of the government and opposition Members. But it appears the Opposition has absolved itself of its own responsibilities, or consider themselves above the demands of our Constitution,” the party noted in a release.