The Speaker of the House did not fully exhaust the options available to her during an incident which resulted in Leader of the Opposition, Dr Godwin Friday, being ejected from Parliament on May 11.
So said Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown and a Vice President of the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) St Clair Leacock on the May 17 edition of the NDP ‘New Times’ programme, adding that the Speaker, Rochelle Forde, could have opted to discuss the issue with the Leader of the Opposition.
She could have then instructed the House based on that discussion, he suggested.
Instead, the Opposition Leader was asked to leave Parliament following a brief, heated exchange with Forde during the Questions for Oral Answers segment of the Sitting of Parliament, May 11.
Friday had raised the issue involving Government Senator Ashelle Morgan and an ongoing investigation in which she is a party of interest.
“There needs to be the understanding that the Speakers of the House need to put away their political narrowness and understand that they are Speakers for all of us,” Leacock said.
“And the Speaker has to get that in her head; that we are not junior to her – we are equals,” he continued.
According to the opposition Parliamentarian, there were a number of instances where if they were handled differently, the outcome would have differed.
“But every time they have an issue, [they say] let me go for the gun, let me show you who is boss.”
Leacock referred to the process for the appointment of Speaker of the House in the Westminster System saying that the both sides are given the opportunity to discuss candidates for the position before going to the vote.
But that was not done here, Leacock maintained.
“The conventional practice of the Westminster System does not come out in our Parliament and then so much goes downhill after that,” he said.
“We must bring back some respect to the role of Speaker of the House, and they must be trusted – that is what is missing,” Leacock added.