Cummings asks House Speaker to rethink  chair decision
June 11, 2013

Cummings asks House Speaker to rethink chair decision

Parliamentary Representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings has asked Speaker of the House Hendrick Alexander to rethink his decision not to provide a special chair for him to sit on in Parliament.{{more}}

Cummings said he had received a letter from Alexander, which indicated that the Speaker would not recommend that a special chair be provided. However, last week, during his contribution to the debate on the Supplementary Appropriation (No. 4) Act of 2013, Cummings asked the Speaker to rescind his decision.

SEARCHLIGHT obtained a copy of the letter from Alexander to Cummings, dated May 23.

It reads: “After careful consideration of the aforementioned, I cannot make such a recommendation considering the circumstances under which you claim to have sustained or aggravated an injury which affects your sitting for long periods in Parliament.

“You will recall that an order was given to you and Members of the Opposition to withdraw from the Parliament as a result of the disorderly conduct in accordance with Standing Order 43.

“Notwithstanding, should you wish to make personal arrangements for the appropriate seating to lessen any discomfort you may experience, the Chair will not object, provided that such arrangements do not disrupt the Assembly Chamber.”

But Cummings insists that he is not begging, but simply making a request.

He said he had served as a manager for about 17 years; had an understanding of industrial relations laws; was a humanitarian; and had done significant training in human resource management.

“You have a responsibility as my employer to provide for me the conditions necessary to carry out my work, in accordance with all the laws and accordance with all the international agreements signed between our country and the rest of the world,” he said.

“I would say to you that I am assuming that you wrote that letter in haste and I would want to give you credit, and I would pray that you would sorely rescind it,” Cummings said during the debate.

The Opposition parliamentarian said that he had had experiences with former employees who wrote letters, which in his opinion were done in haste. He said he gave them the opportunity to withdraw the letter and then treat the matter as if it never took place.

“So, I give you, with all respect, the opportunity to reconsider and to deal not only in a humane way, but in a lawful, sensible, judicious and I hope expeditious manner,” Cummings said.

During the May 16, 2013 sitting of the House, Cummings made public a request he had made to the Speaker to be provided with a special chair.

The Opposition parliamentarian said that the chair was needed in light of the injuries he alleges were sustained when in March 2011, he and other Opposition parliamentarians were forcibly removed from the House by police, under the directives of the Speaker.

Cummings said he had first submitted his request for a special chair immediately following treatment back in 2011. (DD)