Speaker of the House of Assembly, Carlos James. (Photo: Lance Neverson/Facebook)

Newly elected speaker of the House of Assembly, Carlos James, has given his word that he will apply the rules fairly.

James, a former senator and former deputy speaker, gave the undertaking on Thursday after his election in Parliament.

“I thank you for the confidence you have placed in me to fit in this capacity and this seat as the honourable speaker of the house,” he said.

He further stated:

“I want to assure all members, including members of the opposition, before we had the election of the post, I had, very briefly, conversations with the Leader of the Opposition and also a very senior member of the opposition, honourable Member for Central Kingstown, and I indicated to them that I’m fully aware of my obligations to preside over this hHonourable House and to apply the rules of this house accordingly.”

He said that the Standing Orders will apply to both opposition and government lawmakers.  

“My commitment to you in this honourable house is to be completely impartial. And I will do my best faithfully and honourably serve in this house for the period.”

James, a lawyer, was elected to fill the post which was left vacant after the resignation, in February, of Jomo Thomas, who was also a former deputy speaker and ULP candidate.

The speaker is the ruling Unity Labour Party’s caretaker for the constituency of North Leeward, which he failed to win in his first outing at the polls in December 2015.

He is expected to represent the party again in the next general elections, which Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has said will be held this year, ahead of the March 2021 constitutional deadline.

James said:

“I genuinely believe that all members of this house are aware of — they’re in here to serve their constituents and the people of this country.

“And it is on that basis I shall seek to discharge my obligations fairly and objectively.”

He said it was not for him to celebrate, in any form, the appointment.

“But if you will permit me to only mention that my thoughts are with every little boy in my home community of Troumaca, and the rest of North Leeward and every young person in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who aspires to be of greater service to their country.

“Colleagues, you will understand that my thoughts at this time are, above all, with the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the rest of the world as we grapple with the challenges of the COVID-19 virus.”

He said he was pleased to see the government and opposition “working together to address our very own challenges here in St. Vincent and Grenadines and I want to thank both the leader of the opposition and the Honourable Prime Minister for their leadership in this regard”.

James was speaking in apparent reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added:

“And I’m hoping that we can all continue to serve the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines without fear or favour in our task and our execution of our duties, both as elected members and appointed members of this honourable chamber.”

8 replies on “New speaker ‘fully aware of my obligation to’ act impartially”

  1. As a speaker of the house and an active member of a political party, how can the new speakers be impartial? Being impartial is just a misnomer. To ensure impartiality, the new speaker should not be affiliated owith any of the party and should be apolitical .

  2. The Cumrod just sealed your faith Carlos. You have to wait until 2035 to win that N leeward seat. The Cumrod has determined you’re not mature enough or ready to be an elected representative. Sorry about that man

  3. A great day for young people in SVG (to see one of their ranks move up to a position of power.) I hope he does well in his tenure. SVG has a lot of smart young people with real talent. Nice speech by Mr. James ! — Only one thing not so kosher here and that is that the speaker of the house should renounce all affiliation with his former political party before assuming the role. Which means you can’t take part in the general elections for no political party. I hope this doesn’t turn into Sanga 1.2. NDP should not be presumptuous and demand this in accordance with the law.

  4. Jose, to achieve this, then you will need to have a foreigner. Or you can make Ivan Oniel the speaker.

  5. The speaker should be chosen by both parties with a minimum of 75 % vote. He cannot and will not be impartial and transparent. Poor Jomo had a hard time and had to give up.

  6. Jose’, I am on your side of this issue but in many democratic countries across the world, especially, in the common wealth, that’s the way it is.

  7. Get out of here! Your name is on a ballot paper contesting a general election for the ruling party and you would be impartial. Wake up bud.

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