Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he is pleased with Jomo Thomas’ performance as Speaker of the House of Assembly despite criticisms from within their Unity Labour Party (ULP).
“I think that Jomo has performed commendably as Speaker. Even though you are a lawyer, it takes a little while for you to settle into the role,” he said Monday at a press conference when asked to comment on Thomas’ performance after almost two years in the role.
“Look, I know that there are some persons, who think that Jomo — some rank and file members from the ULP think that Jomo — from time to time, appears not firm enough with persons from the NDP, that they take advantage of him and so on. I don’t share that view,” Gonsalves said.
The prime minister said that he was “happy” that Thomas last Tuesday allowed a question from opposition lawmaker Daniel Cummings of the New Democratic Party, which the speaker later said should not have been allowed.
The prime minister said that in allowing the question, the speaker gave Minister of Health, Sen. Luke Browne an opportunity to provide information on the relevant topic.
He said that NDP lawmakers have not levelled at Thomas accusations of bias as they often did at Hendrick Alexander, who was speaker from 2001 to 2015 — under the ULP administration.
“But I know that there are some rank and file members of the ULP who feel that Jomo is soft on the opposition. I don’t share that view and I think the debates in the house are conducted quite well,” Gonsalves said.
“And I think also the occasions when Carlos gets an opportunity to sit, that Carlos is also quite a good person, acting, standing in as speaker. I have high regard of Jomo, and, of course, in that similar role, of Carlos,” the prime minister said, mentioning deputy speaker, Carlos James.