Opposition MP and vice president of the New Democratic Party St Clair Leacock believes that recent choices by the Unity Labour Party (ULP) are clear indications that it is seeking to strengthen its profile on the Leeward side of the island.
Leacock was at the time referencing the choices of the ULP’s North Leeward candidate – Carlos James as Speaker of the House of Assembly, and new South Leeward candidate designate – Dr. Minelva Glasgow as Deputy Speaker.
The governing ULP has eight of the 15 parliamentary seats and the NDP has seven. The ULP has all seven seats on the Windward side and one on the Leeward.
The NDP has all three Kingstown seats, the two Grenadines seats and two of the three seats on the Leeward side, the ULP having the middle seat – Central Leeward.
James, who was Deputy Speaker and Senator, has replaced lawyer Jomo Thomas as Speaker of the House.
He officially resigned as senator and was elected Speaker during the sitting of the House yesterday morning. Dr Glasgow was elected as Deputy Speaker at the said sitting.
On Wednesday, one day before the election of the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker, Leacock expressed the view that the election of James as the new Speaker signaled a stepping back to the time when Hendrick Alexander served as Speaker.
Alexander attracted wide criticisms as he was seen as outright bias towards the ULP he supports.
Leacock said that Thomas’ “moving away from the parliament” allowed for the coming to the realizing of his fear of retrogression.
And when he appeared on his party’s New Times programme on NICE Radio on Wednesday, Leacock said: “I was always worried that if he moved out, it will make room for others who may take us back to where we were in the previous Speaker’s years.”
Leacock also said of Thomas: “In the relatively short period he had in the House, he brought much sanity and objectivity.”
Thomas did a good job as Speaker, in Leacok’s estimation, but he would have to carry the weight of the “gigantic blunders” – namely his rulings on the No Confidence Motion against the Government and a Motion on the Representation of the People Act brought by the NDP.
Thomas was appointed Speaker of the House following the December 2015 general elections. He had contested the South Leeward constituency but lost to the NDP’s incumbent candidate Nigel ‘Nature’ Stephenson.