KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 20, IWN – West Kingstown representative, Daniel Cummings, who says his back was injured when opposition lawmakers were physically removed from Parliament two years ago, has told Parliament that the Speaker has “refused” to provide him a chair recommended by his neurosurgeon.
Reports say that Cummings, an opposition Member of Parliament, has had surgery to his back for injuries he reportedly sustained during the eviction.
Cummings told Parliament on Thursday that following treatment in Trinidad, the neurosurgeon wrote House Speaker Hendrick Alexander recommending that Cummings be provided with an “appropriate” chair.
“The neurosurgeon gave me a letter, which I communicated to you, including in it a quotation for an appropriate chair, as recommended by the specialist.
Cummings said that firms in Trinidad have chairs “which are quite expensive” but suggested that one can be bought locally for $1,100.
“This morning, I have sat here for almost two hours now, and it is very uncomfortable. I wish to put on the record, Mr. Speaker, that this House has the responsibility to provide to anyone the conditions that will allow them to function effectively.
“And, therefore, Mr. Speaker, I wish to advise you that until such time, until you will do me the basic human courtesy, it is becoming impractical for me to remain in this House. Sitting there, thus far, Mr. Speaker, is becoming very, very uncomfortable.
“… It is apparent to me that you think eleven hundred dollars is too much to spend for the preservation of my health. I beg to differ very strongly and I issue my strongest protest,” Cummings said.
He said he has tried removing the cushion from the chairs in Parliament and had tried sitting on other chairs in the building.
“But, it seems to me, from the communication, that I have received from through the Clerk of the House, that you do not think that the matter is urgent and/or serious,” said Cummings, who subsequently left Parliament.
But the Speaker, while saying he did not intend to debate the matter on the floor of the House, said:
“… whilst we … have acknowledged the letter, I did indicate to you that it is a matter on which I would want to have a personal discussion with you … Yes, I received a letter and it came from your consultant neurosurgeon… And, as you indicated, that you sent a quotation and also I observed the terms and conditions of that quotation.”
Alexander further told the lawmaker, “this whole matter has some historical perspective.
“And, of course, I acknowledge your situation and I don’t think it is the intention of this Honourable House or this Speaker to make the performance of anyone in this House uncomfortable, as it were.
“And, of course, as I said, I have been paying some attention to it and I have indicated to you that I will have some discussion on the matter. And that all I really intend to say at this moment,” the Speaker said.
Reports say that at least one legislator has taken legal action over the eviction and the Speaker’s response to Cummings’ request could have implications for any court battle.