Our Readers' Opinions
March 11, 2011

An open letter to the Speaker of the House Hon. Hendrick Alexander


Dear Sir:

As a former Speaker of House of Assembly of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1981-1984), I am saddened by the reckless and despicable act committed against the Members of the Opposition on Thursday, March 3, 2011. After careful and thoughtful deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that you have lost credibility in maintaining balanced and fair proceedings in the House of Assembly.{{more}}

You have declared ‘war’ on the Opposition without fair or rancour. They were speaking out in a professional manner about an amendment to The Representation of the People Act that threatens the fundamental rights of all Vincentians, but instead they were beaten, stomped, kicked and dragged down the stairs. The blood that flowed on the street of Kingstown last Thursday, 3rd March, 2011, as a result of this dastardly act against the opposition forces is on your hands and on those who precipitated it.

We have paid a price for our freedom. It is ours we are going to own it without fear of retribution.

I have been following the most recent proceedings from the House of Assembly. The impression I got was as though you wished that the opposition members could have just disappeared. You went out of the way to micromanage the way they must make their presentations, thereby making their presence in Parliament uncomfortable and miserable.

You engaged them in petty, nonsensical issues, rather than conducting the business of the House of Assembly. A typical example: (Why are you staring at me etc?).

During my tenure as Speaker, I learned that the best way to find solutions was to get members together in my chambers to talk it through. Did you do that? Was any member of the House in grave danger to summon law enforcement into the hallowed chambers for assistance?

With all fairness and due respect to the Police force, have they been trained how to deal with matters pertaining to the expulsion of Members of the House of Assembly?

The job of the Speaker is to rule impartially. But if the Speaker is seen as being unfair, the likely result is a breakdown in Party comity. Mr. Speaker, “Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done.”

The Speaker has been considered the property of the House of Assembly, representing the interest of all MPs.

The individual chosen must be prepared to serve all members of the Legislature without bias. To be good at the job of Speaker, you must be willing to put in the time to be a good listener. By this I mean you must listen to all Members of Parliament.

In conclusion, the question must be asked: Did the Speaker of the House defend the rights and privileges of members, including the right to freedom of speech?

I am advocating that the House of Assembly needs someone with a solid foundation of character on which, overtime, trust can be built. I, therefore, appeal to you, Sir, to resign with immediate effect. Our rights to freedom are in danger of being compromised. Our freedom is too basic for us to make a mistake and not be heard.

Respectfully Yours

Ambassador Dennie Wilson
Former Speaker of the House of Assembly
St. Vincent and the Grenadines (1981-1984)