The man who shocked some when he was announced as a senator for the ruling Unity Labour Party (ULP), says the administration has outperformed all its predecessors.
Sen. Jomo Thomas, in his maiden address to parliament on Thursday, said St. Vincent and the Grenadines requires minds that are very committed to its development.
He said he saw such minds in the House of Assembly.
“We may differ in terms of our approaches but I have never questioned the commitment of those persons who have come before,” said Thomas, a lawyer, political activist and commentator.
“I’ve got to say that when I look around in St. Vincent and he Grenadines, and I have decisions to make as to where the country would go and how the country should go, in my mind, I truly believe that the administration of Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves has done more than any other administration in the history of this country in terms of putting things together to help the vast majority of the poor and ordinary people of this country,” Thomas said to applause.
“We can look around for an array of areas. We can think of healthcare and some of the work that was done there, we can think of housing and some of the work that was done there, then the flagship of it all is the kind of advancement that has been made in education,” he further stated.
Thomas has an undergraduate degree in journalism and political science, a law degree, and a master’s degree in international affairs and political economy from universities in the United States.
He said that after he had acquires some O’level passes in St. Vincent, someone wanted to know if he was interested in taking up a position in Jamaica to do communications.
“But I didn’t have the money then,” he said.
“Just imagine if a government with the commitment to education as this government had been in power. It would have meant by the early 20s I would have had a degree.”
Thomas, who is 55 years old, said he never got a first degree until he was almost 30.
Thomas, who has openly criticised both the ULP and the opposition New Democratic Party, noted that one would not agree with every government on every question.
“But I believe, when we do a panoramic view, we have to conclude — at least I have concluded — that this Unity Labour Party government, of which Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves is the leader, has done more than any to advance St. Vincent. And I ground my senatorship here this morning in that knowledge, in that understanding,” Thomas told Parliament.
He said he was ready, willing and very able to carry on “the work that we do here in this country”.
On Thursday, Thomas was also elected Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, a position that he said is “vitally important” for the upkeep of the nation’s democracy.
“And I believe that the person who has the mantle when this Parliament is meeting, that person should exercise the authority in a way that is beyond reproach.
“And I want to pledge and to guarantee that if I am given the chance to sit in the Speaker’s chair, that both side of this parliamentary divide would have residing in me a person who would properly and carefully analyse the issues placed before us and come away making decisions that would be pleasing to all the members of this House,” he said.