Speaker aggrieved over comments by Cummings
April 28, 2006
Speaker aggrieved over comments by Cummings

Hendrick Alexander, this country’s Speaker of the House was fired up last Tuesday. He was not pleased with statements attributed to opposition Senator Daniel Cummings.

According to Alexander, he felt obliged to speak on the matter, which he described as a “sinister attempt to discredit and destroy the name of the Speaker.”{{more}}

The comments came in a radio programme on February 24. That was the day following a sitting of the House when a question by Senator Cummings about the Value Added Tax (VAT) was ruled “out of order.”

Alexander disputed claims that he “connived” with the Prime Minister in keeping the nation from being informed. According to Alexander, the Senator “imputed improper motive.”

He considered the word “connive” as a strong word and refuted the charge.

The Speaker referred to calls for a “kinder, gentler society” which has become the motto of the opposition New Democratic Party leader Arnhim Eustace.

“We have to be very careful when we go on our various programmes and say what we have to say,” Alexander added.

The Speaker felt “very aggrieved” with the statements, and also took issue with the fact that his “good friend Senator Leacock” was on the programme and did not rebuke Cummings.

As far as Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves was concerned, “in other Parliaments, I know what would happen to persons who say such a thing about the Speaker.”

The Prime Minister asserted that he had received the answer to Cummings’ question from the Director of the VAT Unit Alma Dougan.

“There was nothing in the question that held any terrors for the government,” he declared. The Prime Minister conceded that “there was no need to connive,” and added that he found the words “insulting.”

The Speaker concluded by saying that he knew what his duties were, but that he was “a man of great forgiveness.”