MORE than a year after what most reporters considered to have been evasive responses to repeated questions about whether she had resigned, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Leonne Theodore-John, has finally admitted that she actually did, effective March 1st 2018.
Unconfirmed reports of her impending resignation emerged early last year, allegedly over the manner in which the Speaker treated members on the Government side of the House. But Madam Speaker repeatedly dismissed these reports, claiming she had not been asked to resign.
In fact, when asked to comment about how she dealt with parliamentarians during sittings, particularly Government MPs, she always responded that she always conducted herself in a manner befitting her office, maintaining her integrity and professionalism, as her main responsibility was to ensure the proper conduct of House proceedings.
But despite her responses to the contrary, the reports lingered throughout last year.
Madam Speaker continued to deny the claims up to last month when reporters, outside parliament building, asked her to comment on new reports that she intended to resign. She instead reminded them that she was still House Speaker.
She acknowledged being aware of the reports of having been asked to resign, but she neither confirmed, nor denied, the reports.
Even Prime Minister Chastanet was reluctant to say much on the subject of John’s alleged resignation, telling reporters a fortnight ago that ‘House Speaker’ is a ‘constitutionally protected’ position.
“So this idea that I’m gonna fire the House Speaker…I cannot do that… We all understand that,” he said.
PM Chastanet also said that Mrs Theodore-John is a personal friend of his and “a lady that I have a tremendous amount of regard for.”
He said, “I sit back and I laugh at the suggestions that I’m upset with her. I’m not. I have great admiration for her.
“At the end of the day, if she needs to move and go somewhere else and it’s something that we think that would be to the benefit to the people of St. Lucia, then we will do that. But, until that time, I have no announcements to make.”
Related speculation became even more rife, last week, when the Prime Minister confirmed he would be making what he described as slight changes to his Cabinet. He explained, however, that it would not be a major reshuffle affecting ministries, but just a slight change.
Then, out of the blue this week, Madam Speaker admitted to resigning from the position she has held since the first sitting of the House following the last General Elections.
However, she gave no reason for giving-up the prestigious post.
According to new reports, the ex-Speaker is now expected fill the position of Minister Counsellor to the St. Lucia High Commission in the United Kingdom. But, as with her resignation, she is yet to confirm these reports.