Former Attorney General Parnell R. Campbell, left, and House Speaker, Jomo Thomas. (iWN photo)

While House Speaker Jomo Thomas said one day later that he erred in allowing the government to amend, last week Wednesday, the motion of no confidence, prominent lawyer Parnell “PR” Campbell, QC, says he does not think this is the case.

In a post on Facebook last Thursday, Thomas said that he should have allowed debate on the no confidence motion.

But Campbell, speaking on his weekly “The Law and You” programme on SVGTV Monday night, said that he agreed with the decision that Thomas made in Parliament that saw the government changing the opposition motion into a motion of confidence in the Unity Labour Party administration.

“He was not mistaken at all because proposing an amendment to an opposition no confidence motion is routine,” Campbell said of the speaker.

“And where the opposition says the House has no confidence in the government, the government’s amendment usually says, yes, the house has full confidence in the government.”

Campbell said that because of this, the speaker — who is also a lawyer — was quite correct to allow the prime minister “to move his motion that the opposition’s no confidence motion should have been put aside or postponed or whatever, because, really and truly, the no confidence motion duplicated the opposition attacks on the estimates”.

There was extended debate in Parliament on Wednesday regarding whether the framers of the conditions, in saying that the house should meet to “consider” a motion of no confidence, meant that the motion must be debated at such a meeting.

“Some persons have argued that the word consider there means you have to debate it. Can’t be so,” Campbell said.

“To consider means to bring it to the attention of the house for the house to decide what to do with it. Other provisions below speak to disposing and debating — debating and dispose,” Campbell said in reference to Section 47 of the Constitution.

“But there is nothing in 42(8) which makes it mandatory that a motion of no confidence must be debated. No. In my respectful opinion, not when it comes on the very day that you are debating the Estimates, which is a form of no confidence motion. Because the rules of the House provide opportunities to sift motions … A motion is not automatically debated. It has to be sifted for relevance, for anticipation and matters like that kind,” Campbell said.

“So, in my respectful opinion, brothers and sisters, what happened last week was practically a storm in a teacup because when the opposition get to debate the Budget they will have the opportunity to bring down the government, if they have the majority, which is what their motion of no confidence purported to do.

“But if the government survives the Budget, it will show that the motion of no confidence was bogus. And if you file a motion of no confidence and you don’t know that somebody on the government side is planning to cross, you are just trying a thing. It’s not a genuine motion where you honestly feel that you have a chance to bring the government down because they have lost the majority.”

Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday speaks at a New Democratic Party press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday. (iWN photo)

But speaking at New Democratic Party press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, who is also a lawyer, said he disagrees with Campbell.

“… I mean, just think about it: how can you possibly ask the opposition or say members who brought a motion of no confidence that threatens the government to debate a motion that says that we have full confidence in the government?

“I mean, that’s like, you know, it’s not just insulting to me it’s insulting to all the people who send us there,” Friday said.

The speaker’s mea culpa came in a Facebook post last Thursday.

Friday said that, in the past, the Speaker gave a detailed response as to how he may reconsider such a motion.

The opposition leader said he has since had a conversation with the Speaker,  “… but he hasn’t said to me how he would deal with the matter if it were to come before him again.”

Friday said there is more than can be fleshed out and noted that the prime minister had said in Parliament that he would take the matter to court as the case stated.

“I welcome that, I urge him to do so. He should do so with urgency.”

19 replies on “House Speaker did not err — Campbell”

  1. How many of you believe that there are too many Lawyers in SVG?
    Every one’s goal is to display their expertise, literally have created a pandemonium at every angle. Allowing no room for resolution, A society matching the articulation of ‘dog eat dog world’, that being my/our lovely Isle of Paradise of today.
    However, that’s what happens when the education directives of yester years led towards academic and very little focus towards trades. Those of us who attended Timmie School Commercial classes are now realizing how fortunate we were; as Timmie Richards was ahead of His time. Love to all of you. Cheers!

    1. There are never too many GOOD lawyers!!

      This was never a grey area of law. The NDP tried to make a mountain out of a mole hill and their only success was the constant gullibility of some people.

  2. Having read the relevant sections of the Constitution regarding motions of no confidence and the tiny bit about amendments, I generally agree with Parnel Campbell and other distinguished legal scholars, including NDP supporter, Dr. Linton Lews, that the ULP amendment was not a different motion because, while it contradicted the original motion, it specifically and directed addressed the content of the original motion.

    Had the ULP proposed an amendment to the nonconfidence motion which argued that they were not confident that the moon was made out of cheese, a totally irrelevant proposal, then the Speaker could have rightly ruled it out of order.

    The NDP, while correct about the mistreatment of Yugge Farrell by the court, are dead wrong on this.

  3. This man has been a puppet of the dynasty for years. He is a definite case that should be considered under the mental health acts.

  4. If the NDP was so wrong about this issue, as I and real legal minds proclaim, because, among other issues, it would have had ample opportunity to try bring the government down by rejecting the budget, as Parnel Campbell rightly points out, why did a party with lots of legal expertise go ahead with such silly grandstanding?

    Simple because it was grandstanding — a poppy show effort to keep their ignorant base of supporters energized, just as their ULP opponents have produced countless poppy shows over the past 17 years, most notably the biggest and most expensive poppy show in our history, namely the construction of the virtually unused Argyle “International” Airport.

    Given that so many supporters on both sides have accepted these poppy shows as reality, how can any thoughtful and independent-minded person reject the claim that we are a sh**hole people.

    1. A lot of lawyers doesn’t mean expertise. With all those lawyers here and the 24 they flew in, why were the petitions filed at the 11th hour?

    2. You really are funny David, you try and put yourself up there with real people, legal minds and educated people. Yet you actually do not exist your are a mere fiction of your own imagination. Whatever views you have on the matter mean absolutely nothing in the scheme of things, they are worthless.

      I hope you put yourself on the top of the sh**hole list because I will vote you as the president of all the sh** that is in SVG.

      Ha! haaaaaaaaaaaaa

      You really are a star turn and if you were not so dangerous you would be a real stand up comic.

      1. Vincy in New York says:

        Where have u heard a government has fallen because the house loses confidence in the budget?

        Mr. Campbell is hoodwinking the ppl. Bringing a country to a standstill via a socalled no confidence in the budget does not guarantee a change in government. A no confidence motion can.

        Campbell is quick to point out issues about this pointless motion and is mum on the Yugge farrel issue.

  5. They reduced the issue of the day by going through the no-confidence saga. The Yugge Farrell issue was riding high and all the NDP had to do was to keep their heads down and let the people have their say.

  6. Dr. Lewis, PR Campbell and my learned Grenadian Senior have all shown the lawyers on the Opposition side that perhaps they should have more attention in Constitutional Law Class and courses on statutory interpretation. The issue was mute. The area of law was clear.

    Its a shame politics has once again highlighted the NDP’s constant legal faux pas.

    Next to be thrown out are those frivolous and vexatious petition cases.

    1. I think you and the other corrupt lawyers need to go back to Constitution class. If not in cases like this, WHAT WAS THE INTENTION OF CLAUSE 47? WHY WAS IT WRITTEN? The intent was not for corrupt lawyers to twist into different meanings and have dumb people believe them.

      1. I will implore you to read and re-read the constitution and any scholarly article on the issue. The intent of the section is unequivocal.

        Please note your attempt at a personal attack does not sway me.

        Being credulous and gullible are not good looks!

  7. Campbell is a has-been and in this case he is surely wrong just as much as Linton Lewis who also does not have a very good success record. The Constitution is clear! Anyone commenting above in favor of the change to a “confidence” vote do not seem to see the intent and purpose of clause 47. It (the no -confidence vote) was not written for the purpose of being struck-down. It was written to give REAL Democracy a chance. Those of you who agree with corrupt lawyers […] that twist the law to the point of being unworkable need to ask yourselves why the clause was written in the first place.

      1. I am waiting for YOURS. You are certainly no lawyer since you do not understand the purpose of why laws are written. You never come up with anything. You really need to go to law school. I am not a lawyer but I took several law classes, and from very well-known law professors. I can, in one way understand corrupt lawyers trying to manipulate lass although I do not condone it, but I am no longer even going to respond to anything you write because you are not a lawyer and have no understanding of law or justice.
        If you cannot see the LEGAL BASIS you may have to go back to school altogether. Have someone who can read, read out that clause from the Constitution for you. It is not even worth responding to you anymore.

  8. Campbell says that the Constitution does not make it mandatory to debate a motion of no confidence.
    Yes! The founders put it in the Constitution just to fill up some space to make the Constitution a little longer.

    Anyone who falls for Campbell’s tricks must be really dumb!

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