Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leaock. (iWN photo)

Member of Parliament for Central Kingstown, St. Clair Leacock believes that House Speaker Jomo Thomas is in a dilemma.

The quandary surrounds what Thomas would do should the opposition bring another vote of no confidence ahead of his announced resignation early next year.

When the opposition brought a vote of no confidence in January 2018, Thomas, who was two years into his speakership, allowed the government to amend it to a vote of confidence.

Government lawmakers passed the amended motion in the absence of their opposition counterpart, who stayed away in protest.

However, he said in a social media post after the debate — and has maintained since then — that he was wrong in allowing the amendment to the motion of no confidence.

Thomas, a lawyer, has argued that while the rules of the House of Assembly allows for the amendment of any motion, they cannot trump the constitution, which outlines, specifically, how motions of no confidence should be handled.

But last Tuesday, Thomas announced that he had resigned from the Unity Labour Party and as its caretaker for South Leeward and would do the same for the speakership early in the first quarter of 2020.

Asked about his handling of the no confidence vote, Thomas told the press conference last week that it remains the lowest point of his tenure but is not something he can correct.

House Speaker Jomo Thomas. (iWN file photo)

Thomas said:

“I think it was the weakest point of my tenure as the speaker. I did say that the very next day. I cannot see how the Standing Orders, which are subsidiary to the Constitution, could trump something that the Constitution demands.

“If the Constitution says that there is something called a vote of no confidence, I don’t see how a subsidiary document can climb over that by saying any motion can be amended, which is what the standing order said. In my view, the Standing Orders need to be amended to say any motion except what the Constitution demands. I think that was the lowest point for me… There is no way to correct it.

But speaking on his weekly programme on NICE Radio on Wednesday, Leacock said that Thomas’ decision to quit as speaker is “escapist”, adding that the speaker “cannot have it both ways”.

“Jomo is sitting on a dilemma in that he doesn’t know when the New Democratic Party will bring to the Parliament another vote of no confidence and on that occasion, all will fall down, because on having said [he] walked and got the cobwebs out of his head and hair, he would have to make the wise and prudent decision that the Constitution is ahead of the House rules and allows the vote of no confidence to take place.

“And not only would the man be in his craw — which means that Jomo would have to have quite a size of craw — it would mean that he would choke up,” Leacock said, in an apparent reference to a recent outburst in Parliament, in which Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told Thomas that if he has something in his craw he should speak it.

Leacock continued:

“And, secondly, Jomo has to recognise as well that the way he handled the motion we brought for electoral reform was also not a help to advancing the democratic traditions. Look where we are in the fourth year of an election with indecisive measures with respect to the election outcome.

“He’s gonna sit there and see we go back with another breadbox ballot box election,” Leacock said, with Cummings adding, “And with those same people in charge.”

Leacock said Thomas should remain as speaker.

“And my encouragement would be for him to stay it out. He has our support to remain there as the speaker. And we all have imperfections as politicians and as human beings. But to the extent that we identify them, we can build upon them. We build and correct it. He has not always been with me or always against me and I know I have pushed him to the limit.”

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15 Comments

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    CONSCIOUS DECISION – ESSENTIALLY CORRECT

    Indecisiveness not only impedes progress, but has been known to be one of man’s gravest enemies.

    Sure the decision to quit was not a decision that was made impulsively or without careful deliberation.

    Therefore, when a man/woman takes a ‘….Conscious Decision;’ …considers it; ‘…Essentially Correct,’ though the Heavens may fall, he/she shall engrave such decision upon their heart and stick to it.

    It is obvious that ‘MP. Leacock’s’ unexpressed intention is to exploit Jomo’s self-acknowledged erroneous ruling on the previous ‘…Vote of No Confidence.’

    This has the potential to lead to further humiliation of the embattled Speaker by both sides in the House of Assembly.

    Reply

  2. MR leacock you and the NDP going about this thing rong.l will say again The people is ready for change.But you all are not bringing it.changes will not come from a No confident motion in paliment.l have to be on the street. There is way the real thing day.We have a right to peaceful demonstration.And don’t forget about what the ULP said in 2000.That they are going to make the country ungovernable and they got true because the country is still not Governable.So what we are going to say is that we going in to make it Governable.Did you see how the GG dress for our independance.wow wow tell me about love for country.SVG help is coming.my peoppo my peoppo my peoppo.

    Reply

  3. NDP has no real strategy to win or contest the next election so they resume their tactics by trying to enter through the back door . The petition failed so now its back to the no confidence vote …..which will fail again if brought because Ralphy boy is just a more cunning and trained fox. He’s always one step ahead of the pack.

    You are right Rawlston about exploiting Jomo …….but Jomo is just too intelligent to fall for this trickery

    Reply

  4. I personally feel that Jomo underestimated the the ability of the comrades to seize upon the opportunity to destroy his adversaries. The comrades is great manipulator. The comrade has demonstrated time time again that he a strong force to be recogn with. He literally destroyed Mitchell and forced upon him to accept the Grand Ayse Beach Accord which literally was a coup de etat in the literal sense.
    This is why I am saying that from my knowledge of the comrade the next election would result in five in a row.

    The Ndp and its policies are myopic at best, a good example is the one China policy. St Vincent benefits a mutual relationship with Taiwan .Why get rid of something that works? Only time will tell, however, the writing is on the wall.

    Reply

    1. Great comment Jose! Although I disagree with what you say about the NDP. They certainly have a better notion of what is best for SVG than the ULP (except they support a DEAD banana industry). Thier problem is that they do not do very good at convincing the people that they know better than the ULP; such as the “One China” policy. Friendship with Mainland China would benefit SVG far more, vastly more, than our relationship with Taiwan, but the NDP suck at telling the people why. Gonsalves certainly knows how to manipulate and he has a bigger podium to do that. ULP Economics has ruined SVG. Ralph Gonsalves does everything “back aswards” in economics and because it has not worked he continues doing things the wrong way and we get poorer and poorer although the government gets richer meaning they will eventually get poorer too. The NDP needs to drive the economics issue home to the people; therin more than anything else lays thier road to success.
      After WW1 it was realized that attacking the enemy at the weakest point is the beginning of thier defeat. The ULP are idiots in economics. LOOK AT ALL THOSE THAT EMIGRATE, THE, UNEMPLOYED, THE CRIMINALS AND STREET VENDORS! LOOK AT ALL THE MONEY THAT HAS TO BE SENT IN THROUGH MONEYGRAM AND WESTERN UNION.

      Economics is the fuel that drives the economy and how much more tax is the ULP going to take from us. Wait until more Climate Change taxes are levied against us. The question is will it happen sooner or later. Before or after the election?

      Reply

  5. Urlan Alexander says:

    Anyone in their right mind will not say that a no confidence motion is trying to gain power through the backdoor. The refusal to debate the MoNC aided and by the speaker is a dark spot on our democracy. To try now to make it about wanting power is showing up the ignorance in some of us. How can a seemingly sensible person cannot see that a basic requirement of our Constitution was trampled on that ill faithed day is beyond me. Anyway the koolaid seems to have more effects on the brains of so-called intellectuals that we realised. What a shame.

    Reply

    1. first off three year ago on facebook iWN forum I actually started and first mentioned the topic of both no confidence and accountability surrounding the AIA financing , so let me get that fact out there . The reason why I mentioned it then was to say its a possible option once it is warranted and there are legitimate grounds for it . You dont just do something just because you can ……

      I say its entering through the backdoor because clearly the elections are right around the corner and for four years straight the NDP focus is court petitions and no confidence vote instead of putting forward to the citizens real political strategies that will develope , enhance and propel SVG economically , constructively and productively . This is what will win elections , you must have a plan and talk SUBSTANCE and give the citizens something to believe in .

      even Sir James warned them that you win elections at the ballot box , not in the courts . but im sure you have a rebuttal to this lol . which in itself is another topic for another day

      Reply

    2. I agree totally Urlan! The problem is that most of our people are so brain-dead they do not see the significance. When a leader gets away with doing anything he wants: having various judges in his pocket, manipulating nearly all key people in the country in order to get his way…- Then you know you are living in a dictatorship.

      Reply

  6. Rawlston, isn’t it obvious that Thomas regrets the mistake he previously made and would like the opportunity to correct it.

    “I cannot see how the Standing Orders, which are subsidiary to the Constitution, could trump something that the Constitution demands.”
    “If the Constitution says that there is something called a vote of no confidence, I don’t see how a subsidiary document can climb over that by saying any motion can be amended, which is what the standing order said. In my view, the Standing Orders need to be amended to say any motion except what the Constitution demands. I think that was the lowest point for me… There is no way to correct it.”

    Mr. Mac, your semi-literate ranting to this media always worries me, in as much you appear to be as I stated only semi-literate and also tend to write rubbish as well. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling make it visible you are under-schooled and ignorant.

    I agree with Leacock, Thomas should stay on even if it’s only to correct the position of the vote of confidence as it is supposed to be in the constitution. The NDP should bring it again, and Thomas should correct his past mistakes by allowing it.

    For Thomas to give up now is a cowardly act, Ralph has got the better of him. When he isn’t speaker it will get worse, Gonsalves will destroy him by whatever means possible.

    Al, it is obvious by what you wrote that you know what happened was wrong but you are willing to support wrong and keep the ULP and Gonsalves from being corrected.

    Reply

    1. Rawlston Pompey says:

      NO JG

      Do not know much about the Speaker.

      Even with his apparent flawed sense of judgment, he seemed to have a ‘…good sense of purpose’ and highly patriotic.

      Believe he is well-positioned to guide himself, and thereby avoid further wrath that may descend upon him..

      Not sure he should remain in the Chair for another ‘…Motion of No Confidence’ to be tabled for him to say, ‘..Well, .I made a mistake with the first one, now let me correct it with this one.’

      The ruling has already been made and as everyone knows, the ‘…Motion of No Confidence’ was amended and stood in favor of his ‘…estranged organization.’.

      That ‘Mistake’ cannot now be corrected by a new ‘…Motion of No Confidence.’
      Each is dealt with on its own merit.

      Do believe he would not wish to subject himself to further humiliation, degradation and indignities.

      Do not believe you would want to see him end in disgrace.

      Reply

      1. Rawlston you are like a gallstone, a pain in the gut with your sneaky dynasty support.

        Yes it can and yes it should be corrected, you are obviously trying to shield Gonsalves from humiliation at any cost.

        Regardless of what you wrote Jomo is of no consequence to you, only Gunzi counts, you are dynasty slave.

      2. essentially what I said also Rawlston in my other comment the bias iWN administrator did not post . I replied to JG but some how this news pick and chooses what he wants to post . especially if its in support of the gov. But say anything negative about the gov and your comment will be the first to post like JG and James .

  7. AL me do think that you do presume far too much! Facts dear AL will always be facts, while assumptions and suppositions, can never supersede reality!

    Plutarch c. AD 46 – c. 120), later named, upon becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus. He was a Greek biographer and essayist had this to say AL

    “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality”.

    ( http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/03d/0045-0125,_Plutarch,_Parallel_Lives_Of_Noble_Grecians_And_Romans,_EN.pdf )

    By way of advice dear, look again at your inner self AL!

    Reply

    1. Rawlston Pompey says:

      RITUALS AND RHETORIC – DEFIANCE TO LOGIC

      AL, He might be a ‘…Jolly Good Fellow.’ He might also be ‘Green.’

      Been following him for a while now. Always on the scene, attacking and ranting, but still follow him.

      Do not get involved with ‘…erratic political rantings.’

      Well, let us see if Jomo would show ‘…Defiance To Logic,’ by supporting ‘JG’s slavish ‘…Rituals and Rhetoric.’

      That which might be truly said of my comments, the Editor often published reasoned submissions.

      Reply

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