‘Pitbull’ is back in the House!
FROM LEFT: Governor General Dame Susan Dougan, René Baptiste, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Senator Rochard Ballah.
February 11, 2022
‘Pitbull’ is back in the House!

Former Community College lecturer and radio personality, Rochard ‘Pitbull’ Ballah was this week reappointed as a government senator.

Senator Rochard Ballah taking the Oath of Office during his swearing-in
on Tuesday.

Ballah took the Oath of Allegiance, the Oath of Office and the Oath of Secrecy on Tuesday, February 8, and a release from the Agency for Public Information (API) stated that Governor General, Dame Susan Dougan congratulated Ballah on his reappointment.

Ballah, who was initially appointed as a senator in November 2020, had his senatorship revoked in mid-January during the 2022 Budget debate in a move described by Gonsalves as “a defence of representative democracy”.

The young senator was among eight government parliamentarians who had tested positive for COVID-19 infection, a situation which consequently caused a stall of the Budget proceedings.

And with the Opposition having decided to stay away from Parliament, the prime minister appointed former government minister and lawyer, Rene Baptiste in Ballah’s place to ensure there was a quorum in the House of Assembley which therefore allowed the passage of the 2022 budget in the time that had initially been allotted by Gonsalves for the debate.

“Senator Rene Baptiste; she voluntarily demitted her office on Monday 7th (February) so yesterday (February 8) I advised Her Excellency, under the constitution, and had Pitbull, Richard Ballah returned to the House,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Wednesday during his weekly appearance on NBC Radio.

In addition to serving as a government senator in Parliament, Ballah is also parliamentary secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security, Legal Affairs and Information, where he has specific responsibility for information.

His reappointment also comes just as he is set to accompany the prime minister and a contingent representing St Vincent and the Grenadines at the World Expo 2022 in Dubai.

“I had already indicated that he was coming back and everybody knows that I acted in the interest of Parliament to maintain the high principle of representative democracy,” Gonsalves also said on Wednesday, a day after Ballah’s reappointment.

At Tuesday’s swearing in, the Governor General commended Baptiste, who was also present at the ceremony, for her continued commitment to nation building as “a true patriot and outstanding Vincentian, who always rose to the challenge where it pertains to moving our country forward.”

The prime minister also joined with the Governor General in thanking the former parliamentarian for her contribution to the debate.
He noted that her transition to the House of Assembly was seamless “as if she hadn’t left the House and [she] dealt with the issues at hand very competently”.

The next sitting of Parliament is slated for March 17, 2022.