A lawmaker who is leaving Parliament after 15 consecutive years has appealed to his colleagues on both sides to conduct themselves decently.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sen. Douglas Slater, who is among three government Senators to be replaced by month end, made the point during his farewell address to Parliament on Thursday.
He told lawmakers to be mindful that their supporters might follow them even when they are wrong.
Slater, who is a medical doctor, will become Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM responsible for human and social development.
Last Thursday, Slater’s last day in Parliament as a senator, the Opposition disrupted the proceedings of the House of Assembly twice.
On one occasion, they stood and applauded embattled opposition senator, Vynnette Frederick, as she entered.
Later on, MP for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, stood and was demanding a special chair he has secured to address a back injury be brought in.
Slater said he was saddened that his last day in Parliament “has ended not as I would like”.
“I think it is incumbent on us as leaders, because our constituents see us as leaders, that we display a decorum in this House, a manner of behaviour, that the young people especially can emulate and look forward to serving in this capacity,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that at times we have drifted away from this. Therefore I wish to suggest to my colleagues in this House that we do some introspection. Our citizens are watching us. Unfortunately, because of the political divide, sometime they follow us even when we are doing wrong, and we must all remember that. Leadership is a very serious responsibility and we must take it as such,” the former South Leeward representative said.
Slater was appointed an opposition senator in 1998.
He won the South Leeward seat for the Unity Labour Party in the March 2001 and December 2005 general elections.
He did not contest the 2010 poll and was appointed a senator and Minister of Foreign Affairs after that election.
Senators Elvis Charles and David Browne are also being replaced.