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.
“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.
“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.”