Leader of the Opposition, Godwin Friday, left, and House Speaker, Jomo Thomas.(file photos)

Leader of the Opposition Godwin Friday seems to believe that a few laps on the track will, again, clear the head of Speaker of the House of Assembly Jomo Thomas on proper interpretation and application of the rules of the national assembly.

He was speaking on radio on Monday about Thomas’ decision, last Friday, to allow the government to amend the opposition’s motion on electoral reform.

Neither the motion nor its amendment proceeded to a debate amidst arguments about whether the amendment was permitted under the rules.

“… maybe he needs to go for another jog,” Friday said.

The opposition leader was referring to a post by Thomas on social media in January 2018, after he ruled to allow the government to turn the opposition’s motion of no confidence into a motion of no confidence in the government.

In the social media post, Thomas, an avid jogger, said that it occurred to him, while jogging, that he had erred in his ruling.

In last Friday’s debate, Thomas pointed out the tradition of allowing debate on opposition motions, which changed when the Unity Labour party came to office in 2001.

The opposition leader had appealed for a common sense interpretation of the rules, but Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Louis Straker, said that the rules, not common sense, are to govern the conduct of the national assembly.

Speaking on Hot 97 on Monday, Friday said:

“I think the people of the country have to be very careful…” 

He called on lawmakers to guard against what he said occurred in Guyana years ago, when he said there was “the guise of democracy … you had all this notion that you have elections” but the system did not function as intended.

He noted that the democracy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is based on the on British model.

“… you have convention, meaning practice in the house,” Friday said, adding, “… you cannot put everything in the letter.”

He said that for the first time in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Unity Labour Party administration has not allowed the opposition to bring private members’ motions.

“… they have always put it forward and said that their senators can put forward a private member’s bill and, of course, because they are government they give precedence to their private members’ bills.”

He said that this year, the government did not bring a private member’s bill, as had been done in the past, consuming the time so allotted.

“Maybe they forgot or somebody fell asleep at the switch but they thought we weren’t going to bring one. So, this time, what they did, they amended or sought to frustrate ours so it never gets debated and that is wrong.”

In making his ruling last Friday, Thomas said the debate on the issue is an interesting one.

“I feel constrained by all of the points that address the standing orders that the motion is in order,” he said of the prime minister’s amendment to the opposition motion.

“I must say, however, that I think, as I said to the prime minister, which he disagreed with, I think it fundamentally upends the parliamentary procedures and practice that have been established since Independence and members can choose to think that through and see how we go forward. But … based on the rules, I cannot say that the motion cannot carry,” Thomas told lawmakers.

24 replies on “Jomo ‘needs to go for another jog’ — Opposition Leader”

    1. It is not surprising that you will support anything that tarnishes the NDP and benefits the ULP. Even Jomo Thomas admitted he made a mistake. According to you SVG should be a totalitarian Dictatorship under your hero, Ralph Gonsalves. If Friday ever came to the office of PM the country would slowly begin to improve and you would have nothing to comment on besides all the FAKE INFORMATION you put out whenever it concerns the NDP. You should stick to tourism and the Airport, what you are good at but on crime and other subjects you seem to miss the boat.

      1. Vincy Lawyer says:

        Jomo did NOT err in his original ruling.

        He only erred when he publicly admitted he erred via facebook.

        The law literature has clearly supported his original ruling that the motion brought by the Opposition could have been amended.

        If one is still confused, PR Campbell has eloquently elaborated on this situation in the Searchlight newspaper today.

      2. C. ben-David says:

        There is nothing fake about Linton Lewis’ interpretation of our Constitution which I listed but which you didn’t bother reading or about Jomo Thomas’ refusal to argue that the government’s amendment was unlawful in his debate with the Prime Minister on this issue.

      3. C. ben-David says:

        Thank you, Vinci Lawyer, for correcting Johnson J and others who are unwilling to read for themselves what two recognized constitutional experts, Linton Lewis and Parnel Campbell, have written about this issue.

        Even Dr. Friday has stopped saying that proposing amendments that are contrary to an original motion is unconstitutional.

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    JOGGING AND PARLIAMENTARY RULINGS

    Far is know, one is done in convenient places, in the streets, parks and sporting facilities. The other is done in parliaments.

    A Speaker of the House of Representatives, would be ‘…grossly reckless,’ to look at ‘…Parliamentary Rulings’ when ‘…jogging or walking or sleeping and dreaming; or fishing or swimming.’

    In such circumstances, a Speaker and a lawyer might prudently advise himself on quitting or resigning.

    1. Jolly Green says:

      Pompey you are becoming known as a writer of rubbish.

      Anyone has a right to think whatever they like wherever they like.

      Could you imagine the quality of a preacher who only thinks about God when he is in Church.

      Many people think better and make better decisions when alone with an uncluttered mind. That can be anywhere including the toilet.

  2. Elma Gabriel says:

    Nothing will change for the better until these Lawmakers stop blaming each other for their lack of Team focus in preparation for these parliamentary debates. The PM and His Team clearly did some prep due to their performance. Politics is ALL about technique, timing with the ability to hold ones composure through the process

    1. No, you are wrong Elma. Politics is based on perception. Those that have the “technique” to fool people usually always win. Our PM is the master of deception. He has the help of you, Vincy “lawyer” C. Ben and all his other ULP Trolls to flood the internet with misinformation with the right “timing” in order to spin the facts, truth and laws. Minor legal expressions are used to negate the true intent and purpose of the laws, as in this case, which makes the intent and purpose of Private motions totally useless.
      C. Ben seems to use “selective” research to help fool the people for his ULP boss. He ignores laws and information that do not further the cause of his over-the top bias for the ULP and his worshiped hero. See his very laughable and extremely flawed “research” on crime and you will see for yourself his extra heavy bias and what his agenda is!

  3. What we have here is the three propagandist musketeers saying that the brilliant PM and his brilliant team can manipulate the system (as per the legal luminaries Campbell and Lewis) to ensure that the opposition can never bring a motion that embarrasses the govt. in any way.
    What a sad state of affairs! Do we even need an opposition? Do they(the propagandists) have any suggestions as to how a fledgling democracy can give some voice to an opposition that (maybe) has the support of 40-50 percent of the populace?
    Of course not. It is all about pushing their partisan views about how silly the opposition is and how brilliant our PM is!
    This is madness. How can our country ever emerge from this darkness? I know : “stop blaming each other for their lack of Team focus” . What does that even mean?

    1. Lewis is obviously an accolade of the ULP and so is Campbell. This has been proven over and over again. Your hero certainly is a “brilliant” master of lies and manipulations and deceptions. The greatest propagandist, appointed by God himself, is obviously Ralph Gonsalves, His son is in training for that when he is not told to “keep silent”, like back when his father compared him to Jesus.
      Some of you people that worship the ground that certain others walk on regardless of what they do, really need to look carefully who and what you are supporting.

    2. Elma Gabriel says:

      Interesting question as to> “How can our country ever emerge from this darkness?” <That will be when both the opposition and the Government are able to see through their own melancholy, beyond their self-regarding interest.

      1. Elma, Glad that you notice our country is in darkness. I wonder who is most responsible for that? You should also stop blaming the NDP because you should also notice they have, at present, absolutely NO policy-making power. C. Ben contends that Nice Radio is a branch of the Government controlled by the opposition, (which is hogwash) but what about the ULP station(s)?
        The way forward is if the Government starts to obey the laws as they are intended instead of construing and ignoring them and the people have to wake-up and notice this, and also stop listening to ULP Propagandists like C. Ben and hold the corrupt Government to account.
        Elma, start listening to the teachings of Jesus. The NDP is at present in NO position to make changes. Jesus said not to listen to words but “Know them by thier fruits” and then you can figure out who is responsible for our “darkness”.

    3. C. ben-David says:

      Actually, the Opposition has lots of voice: (1) in parliamentary debates — the NDP could have debated the content of this amended motion and the previous one but chose not to do so; (2) in the media, including NICE radio, their newspaper columns, news releases, and editorials; (3) in town hall meetings; (4) in various public rallies; and (5) pre-election rallies.

      What this NDP doesn’t want to participate in are one-on-one election debates because they known the Comrade, the most skilled debater in the land, would wipe the floor with Dr. Friday.

      1. Stop trying to deceive the people C. Ben!
        We are not talking about a “voice”. We are talking about Policy-making power. Or are you trying to tell us that NICE RADIO is a branch of government?

        You and the man you worship in our government believe that we are all stupid and easy to fool. Shame on you! Just like you say that Ralph Gonsalves is legally correct when he uses a minor rule of proceedure in order to completely wipe out the LAW that states that Private Members are allowed BY LAW, LET ME REPEAT THAT …BY LAW! to bring motions on that one day. You say I should read the law but you seem to have missed that law like you miss everything that can benefit the NDP. That obviously means with any common sense that the ULP are not allowed to block it and instead allowed to be brought forward as the Private Member wrote them. You want Vincentians to believe they made that law just to waste time. You are a very good con-artist but most of us on this site are not stupid.
        I do not know what you are afraid of. The reform probably would not have happened anyway because Ralph would have ordered his majority to vote it down.
        You are doing all in your power to bring about an Authoritarian Dictatorship with a “sham” Democracy to SVG. Apparently that is what we already have, but what do you care, you do not live here and YOUR man is in power?

    4. Vincy Lawyer says:

      The opposition filled with so many lawyers just need to apply their training and all will be well. They could have still argues their motion albeit it was amended.

      Law is about skill and tactics. The NDP appears to lack both.

      The strength of a legal cases is knowing your weaknesses and using them to your advantage. So, the Government amended the motion but that didn’t stop the Opposition from using their points from the original motion.

      This is a law school moot scenario that clearly missed the Opposition who seem like they cant adjust to the changing wind in their sails.

      1. If you are a lawyer tell us how Jomo missed it by allowing a proceedural rule to negate an entire law, making the law effectual only under the allowance of the ruling party, which in and of itself defeats the entire purpose of the law. The NDP is totally right when they say common sense is not even allowed with this government.
        It is the same as making a law that states Ganja is legal in SVG but when people are caught growing, smoking or selling it they are arrested, beaten and imprisoned for life because the law does not state it is legal for humans.
        With C. Ben David’s and all the other ULP people’s totally biased interpretations of the laws, we as a people are undeniably lost!

        The entire intent and purpose of the laws are thrown out the window (unless they benefit the ULP).

      2. C. ben-David says:

        This is why the NDP is destined to lose five inna row: they have neither the skill, nor the brain power, nor the tactics to win.

  4. C. ben-David says:

    Johnson J, you are very confused. “Policy-making power” rests only with the elected government, not the opposition; approving amendments to motions belongs to the Speaker and only the speaker as do other matters pertaining to the proceedings of the House of Assembly.

    If the NDP wishes to make policy, it should try harder to gain the sufficient number of constituencies to form government.

    None of this has to do with political bias for one party or the other. Rather, it is all about the proper functioning of our government based on the laws of our land.

  5. Jolly Green says:

    You people that come here should understand that C.ben-David is a sicko who gets gratification out of winding you all up. He knows that what he writes is crap but it winds up the readers and makes them debate rubbish. He is able to argue wrong is right and you all fall for his nonsense.

    I remember when he said what he wrote something like what he writes is 95% rubbish and untrue.

    He has taken the name of a leading Israeli professor and seeks to deceive the readership that he himself is a retired university professor and a learned man. When in fact he is little more than a fake.

    Unfortunately we have to allow all kinds of people to say what the want as long as it isn’t untruthfully damaging to others or of indecent content.

    So the best way to treat the person using the stolen name of C.ben-David is by ignoring what he writes and if you suspect an article or letter is his, don’t open it don’t read it.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Peter Binose, nothing like you can ever silence me even though you silenced yourself and changed you name in the process after nearly all your predictions about Argyle airport proved false and fabricated except your intelligent claim that SVG did not need such an airport because we would never have enough traffic to see any spin off benefits to pay for its costs. Bravo for that, Peter!

      As for the current issue of the constitutionality of amending motions, you have been eerily silent.

      Why, Peter?

      Is this because you know that the laws of SVG, based on nearly identical laws in Great Britain from which they were derived, allow governments to transform opposition no-confidence motions into government confidence motions as no better constitutional scholar than Dr. Linton Lewis has clearly shown, even using case law from Great Britain to prove it:

      https://news784.com/opinion/can-a-no-confidence-motion-be-amended-by-dr-linton-a-lewis/

      What say you, Peter, about Dr. Lewis’ reasoning?

      Or are you too zealously anti-Ralph to engage in rational debate on this issue?

  6. This issue point to my call to change the constitution and damn soon. The ULP is blocking anything the NDP bring before the house. This is dictatorship behaviour. How could the ULP amend an issue brought by the NDP without some debate? Jomo should hang-up his hat and resign. I once thought he would be a great speaker, but his actions and behaviour show he not up to the task. Can you imagine Jomo and the woman Batiste on the CCJ court? If my friend Louis says walk – run like hell!

Comments are closed.