Our Readers' Opinions
March 25, 2011

The Speaker is elected, not appointed


Editor: Sometime last week, while watching the news on SVG TV, a report of the protest outside the Administrative Building in support of Mr. Daniel Cummings was aired. The reporter spoke with some of the protesters. One of them, a male, stated that the Speaker and the Director of Public Prosecutions must go because they were not elected, but appointed by Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

I have to excuse the individual who made that statement because he does not seem to be someone of any high intellect. He does in fact have a problem with the pronunciation of certain words. I am of the opinion that he was only repeating what has been fed to him by those who should know better, but continue to mislead and misinform their supporters.

In the weekend issue of the News newspaper of March 18, 2011, on page 8, under the caption “The Speaker’s Dilemma – It did not have to happen!”, appears a letter written by Mr. Nolwyn McDowall, a former Speaker of the House. He stated in that article, quote: “So the Speaker sits, the embodiment of power in the middle of these parties and above the collective House.

How did he get there? Answer: The House below him appointed him…”

Mr. former Speaker, I rise on a point of order under section 30 (1) of the Saint Vincent Constitution Order 1979, which states. “When the House first meets after any general election of Representatives and before it proceeds to dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a person to be Speaker and if the office of Speaker falls vacant at any time before the next dissolution of Parliament the House shall meet as soon as practicable, elect another person to that office.”

Mr. former Speaker, (9 appointed-contrasted with elected), so you see, sir, you have misinformed us when you wrote that the Speaker is appointed. No wonder the gentleman at that protest made such remarks.

Can you recall, sir, at the start of the new Parliament just after the last elections what took place? The Prime Minister nominated Mr. Hendrick Alexander and the Leader of the Opposition nominated Mr. McCaulay Peters for the position of Speaker. There were votes cast to elect one of them, and the result was 13/9 in favour of Mr. Alexander. He was then elected, not appointed.

I will also like to let that man know that the Prime Minister did not appoint the DPP. You are correct, sir, when you stated that he was appointed, but the one who appointed him is not Ralph Gonsalves.

Section 81 (1) of the same Constitution states: “The Director of Public Prosecutions shall be appointed by the Governor- General acting in accordance with the advice of the Judicial and legal Service Commission.”

I, therefore, urge all our educated friends and leaders, when you are sending out information please do your best to get the truth out so that those who listen to you or read what you write will be fed with proper and correct information.