Our Readers' Opinions
December 22, 2015
Church and political parties have failed to unite St Vincent – GG

Editor: In Kenton X Chance’s I- Witness news of 16/12/2015, under the caption: CHURCH, POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE FAILED TO UNITE ST VINCENT – GG: “Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne has again noted the divide in St Vincent and the Grenadines, adding that the Church and Political parties have failed to bring the Nation together. Speaking at the swearing-in of the new Cabinet in Kingstown on Monday, he appealed to the citizens to each play a role in healing the Nation.”{{more}}


Lawlessness and its attendant attributes is a recipe for political divisiveness. Someone once said that RALPH’s RULE IS TO BREAK THE RULE.

The following quotations from the St Vincent Constitution will support my argument:


Section 22 (1): Whenever the Governor General –

(a) Has occasion to be absent from the seat of Government but not from St. Vincent;

(b) Has occasion to be absent from St Vincent for a period that he considers, acting in his own deliberate judgment, will be of short duration; or

(c) Is suffering from an illness that he considers, acting in his own deliberate judgment, will be of a short duration, he may, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint any person in St. Vincent to be his deputy.

Since Ralph’s tenure of office, there has been permanently a Deputy Governor General. That is a contravention of the Constitution.


Section 23: There shall be a Parliament of St Vincent which shall consist of Her Majesty and a HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY.


Section 30 (1): When the HOUSE first meets after the general election of Representatives and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business, it shall elect a person to be the Speaker…

Section 30(3): No business shall be transacted in the HOUSE (other than the election of a speaker) at any time when the office of the Speaker is vacant.


Section 39(1): Every member of the HOUSE shall, before taking his seat in the HOUSE, take and subscribe to the HOUSE, the oath of allegiance but a member may before taking that oath take part in the election of the Speaker.


Section 50(1): The executive authority of St Vincent is vested in Her Majesty.


Section 51(1)There shall be a Prime Minister of St Vincent who shall be appointed by the Governor General.

Section 51(4) Appointments to the office of Minister, other than the office of Prime Minister, shall be made by the Governor General, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, from among the members of the HOUSE


Section 54(1) Whenever the Prime Minister is absent from St. Vincent or by reason of illness…., the Governor General may authorize some other Minister to perform those functions (other than those functions conferred by this section).

The creation of the post of a Deputy Prime Minister is clearly a contravention of the Constitution.

The SEARCHLIGHT of Tuesday December 15, 2015, under the caption: NEW CABINET TAKES OATH: “Members of the new Cabinet of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration were sworn into office yesterday despite hours of protest on the streets of Kingstown by the New Democratic Party (NDP). The new Cabinet was announced and sworn in at Heritage Square where hundreds of Unity Labour Party (ULP) supporters gathered to show support for the fourth consecutive term.”

From the above quotations, it is obvious that before an elected Representative can perform the duties of a Cabinet Minister, he has to take the oath of allegiance before the HOUSE under the supervision of the Speaker. What happened at Heritage Square on Monday, 14th of December, 2015, is nothing but a farce: an absurdly futile proceeding, based on pretence and mockery. In reality, it was a political party’s victory rally at the taxpayer’s expense, a recipe for political divisiveness. The call from the Governor General for unity can only be made clarion if he will first realize that the forum chosen was the wrong one and his presence there in the capacity of Governor General was clearly demeaning that high office. The swearing-in of Cabinet in the streets of Kingstown was a mockery of the Constitution and of the Parliamentary Rules.

Dr Ballantyne, more than any other, should know that the first line of treatment for the victim of poison is to remove the victim from the source of contact. Can any right-thinking person seriously expect unity amidst such vulgarity and lawlessness? One simply cannot treat an allergic reaction in the presence of the allergen.

Matthew Thomas