Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly, Carlos James during a debate in Parliament in February 2018. (iWN photo)

House Speaker Jomo Thomas, last week Wednesday, Jan. 31, threatened to “toss” his deputy, government senator Carlos James out of the assembly chamber.

The threat came after James shouted down the speaker during a heated debate over what course of actions the national assembly should take on the motion of no confidence that the opposition had brought against the government.

“I didn’t see you and I saw the honourable senator,” Thomas said as he gave James permission to address the Parliament.

“I’ve been trying to get your attention for quite some time,” James said.

The speaker asked him what he had said, and James repeated his comment, adding, “I’m just acknowledging that. I’m glad that you acknowledge me.”

At this point, opposition lawmaker, St. Clair Leacock, who is Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, commented to James:

“Keep alyo personal thing out the people’s business.”

Leacock was apparently referring to what can be interpreted as ongoing tensions between James and Thomas, both of whom were defeated by their opposition New Democratic Party rivals when they ran for the ruling Unity Labour Party in the 2015 general elections.

Thomas has said in his newspaper column that James told him last year that he is a ‘nobody’.

iWitness News understands that James reportedly made the comment after Thomas allegedly told him that he no longer has any respect for him (James).

“This is absolutely nothing personal,” James said.

“Yo’ fresh self,” commented Member of Parliament for North Leeward, Roland “Patel” Matthews, who held on to his North Leeward seat by 12 votes in the face of the challenge by James.

House Speaker Jomo Thoms during last week Wednesday’s meeting of Parliament. (iWN photo)

The exchange came as both sides of the house shared their views on whether the speaker should have allowed debate on the motion of no confidence brought by the opposition or the ‘confidence’ motion which was presented and described as an amendment.

“Mr. Speaker, I’m glad that we’ve arrived at a point where you’ve acknowledged that at some point we are guided by the recommendations of the Honourable Prime Minister in having the substantive matter, which is the original issue which was raised this morning be put, by way of a case stated. And now, further–” James was saying when the speaker interrupted him.

“Honourable member, hold on. We have said that before.”

“Yes, but I am raising a point, Mr. Speaker. Are you going to allow me to raise the point?”

“I don’t feel inclined to allow you to raise a point which has already been dealt with. I thought you were rising to make a substantive point,” Thomas responded.

“I am, but if you would allow me to develop the point I am raising,” James said.

He continued: “And, Mr. Speaker, in addition to that, we are back at square one with this particular issue. It has been how many hours we have been sitting here, standing here in this Honourable House trying to get to a point of clarity and it seems, Mr. Speaker, as I said initially, in my earlier position, that you are between a rock and a hard place and we have to resolve this issue by having this matter referred by way of a case stated. I have stated it before and I’m repeating it again. “But, Mr. Speaker, we are at an issue now, as it relates to the motion that is before you, my understanding is that there’s a motion before this House. One motion and an amendment, which was tabled this morning and, Mr. Speaker, you quite rightly ruled and indicated, but I am not sure if you had issued a final ruling on this matter that where there is an amendment to any particular motion that the amendment takes precedent.”

The speaker had earlier ruled against the government’s submission that the opposition needed the support of the majority of the house to allow its motion of no confidence to be debated.

“You are not sure if I ruled on that?” the speaker asked James.

“Well, Mr. Speaker, I am at a loss — I am stating that because I am at a loss as to why we are still in a position of having not yet concluded, or we have not yet made a decision on how we are moving forward collectively,” James said.

“Honourable member, the people’s business is important business. You may think that this is easy and simple. And, quite frankly, it may be easy and simple for you and I credit you for that level of genius.”

The speaker then told the senator, “Please sit.”

James, seemingly annoyed, began to raise his voice and said:

“Mr. Speaker, I am making a point which I think is very important. In fact, this morning, it was I who said that this matter should not be trivialized.”

“Honourable Member, please sit,” the speaker said again, in the same calm voice.

James, now shouting, said:

“But it seems as if in this House, I am not allowed to make a point on a particular matter, where the Speaker of this house is having a grave difficulty in arriving at a decision. That is the point I am making. For two hours he has been deliberating on this matter and he can’t come to a conclusion. That is the point I am making.”

The speaker responded:

“Honourable Senator, Honourable senator, Honourable senator, I remember sometime in the first year when I was made the speaker of this chamber, a member had a similar outburst and I told him that you have won. I want you to know that you have had yours.”

As the prime minister rose to address the house, the speaker told him, “Speak to the honourable member or I’ll toss him.”

The prime minister, however, did not comment on James’ outburst.

In the end, the speaker ruled to allow debate on the confidence motion.

He, however, said one day later on Facebook that he erred in that decision and should not have allowed the government to amend the opposition’s motion.

11 replies on “Speaker threatens to ‘toss’ deputy out of Parliament”

  1. Carlos James operates like a thug. His behavior now is an indication of how he would be if he were given real power. If you take a pig and dress it up in a nice suit ,it doesn’t change what lies beneath, a pig. Carlos James is not fit to be deputy speaker much less in parliament.

  2. Stand firm Jomo , you’ve been in the trenches..these people who are knocking you are just opportunistic…Carlos for example is brown nosing Ralplie…if tomorrow NDP get’s into power he’ll brown nose Friday also..Ralphie knows and has more respect for the real deal than the fakes.

  3. The Speaker is the ultimate ruler of the house. He should in no way tolerate disrespect or insorburdination. What kind of example are they setting for our young people?

    The NDP is protesting insinsibly about the Yoggie Affair. I am very disappointed that they have not use the avenue of the House of Assembly to ask the Young Gonsalves about the Yoggie Affair. Instead they triumph on the ill advice of Kay Bacchus and my friend Israel Bruce. The Minister is not obligated to answer anyone outside of the House of Assembly not even the Police or the courts unless he is on the witness stand or he agrees to make a statement under oath as a defendant i.e. if he is charge.

    All the Opposition simply had to do was to ask the young Gonsalves to explain his involvement with Yoggie Farrell through the Speaker of the House. They must phrase the question so that it gives the contraction that it is in the Public’s interest to know. He is obligated to provide an answer. They can use this medium to ask any amount of questions they want to. Instead they have used the media to create an unnecessary uproar like a toothless tiger. The Prime Minister is probably smiling and saying to himself, “are these people for Serious”.

  4. Ricardo Francis says:

    I have made these same comments on another incident in the house of assembly and I believe that the comments, apply here also:

    The level of political maturity in St. Vincent and the Grenadines from sitting members of parliament (parliamentarians/Senators) is very childish and call into question their capacity to sit in the House of Assembly. Clearly, this level of maturity is lacking on both sides of the house. They are like children in a school yard looking for attention and fail to understand the seriousness of the nation’s business. The Speaker of the house should also remove himself, immediately, from engaging in dialogues and making comments on social media.

    St. Vincent and the Grenadines is like the WILD WILD WEST (WWW). There is an obsessiveness and compulsiveness on either side of the house with power and control. They are like children trying to impress one another at elementary school. The speaker of the house is a principal who lacks the ability to exert legal authority on the students, since his personal life has been compromised by social fraternization with the opposition and political prostitution with the government.

    I am of the view that there is a mist of uncertain in the air, on either side of the house. Ralph Gonsalves the writer, the editor, the director, the producer, the financer and the distributor failed to anticipate that the current political script may not have been well written and edited and as such the whole production is on the brink of destruction. The official opposition is emotionally charged and is very short sighted and is viewing the situation without logical spectacles. Again, the level of political maturity on both sides of the house is creeping with illness and a good spoon of political medication should be in order.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

    1. Ricado you are wise staying away from SVG, your feet would not touch the ground on the way to the mental instituion. They have a special suite there for out of line family and dynasty members. You will get extras, extra swill, extra JuC, and extra mind changing tablets.

  5. Once more we see your true colours shining through. This gentleman continues to behave in an arrogant and disrespectful manner. Very poor choice for deputy speaker.

  6. I was in parliament on the day that Carlos James made those comments to Jomo Thomas and the last time I saw such aggression in the man was at Petit Bordel when he pulled his gun and discharged it into the air. Police arrived but took no action why? Because he had dynastical protection and was immune from arrest.

    People were injured during the panic that ensued after he fired the gun several times.

  7. When he discharged his gun a pregnant lady ran and fell and had to be taken to hospital. In my view this man is a danger to the public with his inability to hold his temper.

  8. And to think that he is now after Camillo second in line to the throne of prime minister, if only he can get elected.

    God forbid.

    Sorry Saboto, that the way the cookies crumble, when your in your in, when your out your out.

  9. I am uneasy. Democracy is a sacred thing. Once it starts slipping away, even by an inch, history shows that it is difficult to halt the slide and get back on an even keel.

    1. Your quite right Mr Marriott, by the way I allways stay in one of your hotels when I travel.

      Democracy is long gone in SVG.

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