Some people have “legitimate concerns” about Jomo Thomas’ decision to become a senator and deserve answers, he told Parliament on Thursday.
Thomas on Thursday took oaths as a senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP) and the Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly.
The move by the political activist and commentator to accept the senatorial position has surprised some persons and has raised some questions.
Thomas, a lawyer, is representing parties in at least three high-profile cases against the government and state agencies.
He has been on the receiving end of unfavourable treatment from the ULP government, including his dismissal as chief executive officer of a state agency, and the failure of the party to grant him membership some years ago.
Up to the time when he agreed to become a senator, he was not a member of the party.
“There comes a time in the life of every man and woman when serious decisions have to be made as to how we chart the course, not only for ourselves but for our country,” he told Parliament in his maiden address on Thursday.
Thomas said that he wasn’t surprised when Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves asked him to be a senator but he had to think long and hard before making a decision.
Thomas said he has been in the struggles and has known Gonsalves for many years.
“I have celebrated and supported the things that I thought uplifted the people and our country and I have also been a critic of his.
“But I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that matters of state are critically important and service in the interest of the people who reside in this state is of even more vital importance.”
He said that before deciding to accept the senatorial position, he consulted with “a host of persons”.
“And I must say most of them were generally supportive. There were only two outright no’s and when I looked at everything else, I thought the decision for me to accept the challenge to be part of the politics of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in a more integrated way is the path that I should take and for that reason, Mr. Speaker, I am here before you today as a senator,” Thomas said.
“There are a number of people for whom I might have to give answers. I don’t think it is unreasonable for me to have to give answers to some people because many people share legitimate concerns and I want to say that Jomo Sanga Thomas, while giving service to the Unity Labour Party and to the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, will never, never be a voice or tool for division or unreason,” he said.
“We in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have a country to build and I know we can build that country and there are talents and ideas on both sides of this Parliament and I am hoping we will sit together and debate the serious issues confronting this country and come away at the end of those discussions allowing our people to be better understanding of building an underdeveloped country like ours,” Thomas said.