Speaker of the House Assembly, Jomo Thomas, on Wednesday reiterated his decision to vacate the post.
“Just to say that my time in this chair is coming to an end…
I did say in an Oct 29th press conference that I would be gone by the first, by the end of the first quarter of 2020 and we are rapidly approaching that time…I want to say that I enjoyed the years that I’ve spent sitting up here it’s an honourable bunch, sometimes can be quite unruly but I think in the end all of us come here to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I must say that in the times all of those years, 4 yrs 1 month 22 days that I sit here and if you want to take the hours we could do about 9 hours and 52 seconds, I never came here thinking that I represented anyone or anything but St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
I tried my best, I made errors probably made enemies but in the end I think that I did what my conscience told me was the right thing to do,” he announced to the House.
House Speaker Thomas then thanked “everybody who put up with [him] and all [of his] idiosyncrasies” with the hope that “this august body would grow from strength to strength.”
Thomas was a candidate for the Unity Labour Party’s bid to secure the South Leeward constituency in the 2015 general elections.
Failing to unseat the NDP’s incumbent Nigel ‘Nature’ Stephenson, by a marginal 118 votes, he was named Speaker of the House of Assembly. Always a vocal social commentator Jomo Thomas continues to voice criticisms as he sees fit. And at times the party which he publicly supported came in for its share.
A practicing lawyer, even as he guided affairs in the House of Parliament, his firm was pitted against the Gonsalves led government in several high profile cases – a number of which he won.
This combination of sometimes scathing critique and legal triumphs (in cases marked by the government’s violation of citizens’ rights according to local Court rulings) made for “a rather contentious relationship.”
At his October 2019 media briefing, Thomas first made mention of his intention to resign the House Speaker position while announcing his resignation as a member of the Unity Labour Party.
He attributed his decisions to quit to the fact that “the time, the energy, the money and the effort cannot be properly justified.”
Since then he has lashed out at his former Party for what he called “the effort to deny [him] an elected seat in parliament and to sideline and ostracize [him].”
In one of his weekly columns, Thomas paints a picture of growing disillusionment saying “I joined the ULP in 2013, because I was convinced, at the time that it constituted the best avenue through which people could realize some of their most basic dreams. My first central executive meeting was a revelation of what was to come.
It lasted all of 171 minutes, of which Prime Minister Gonsalves spoke for 136; and so, it went on, whenever infrequent meetings were called. At most meetings, I became bored, nervous or angsty.”
Dr. Gonsalves, on Wednesday, acknowledged the Speaker’s stated intention to quit by saying “whenever you demit Mr Speaker, we will have to pay the usual respects for someone who has served with us. I don’t know what your time table is but I say that in relation to your own statement in acknowledgement of your contribution…”
Thomas is yet to give a precise date for his intended resignation.