Thursday 23 January, 2020

Deputy Speaker non-appointment case adjourned

The matter of the non-appointment of a deputy speaker in the Lower House of Assembly which was scheduled to be heard in court yesterday, October 31, 2019, will now be heard on January 23 of next year.

Attorney Martinus Francois, who filed the constitutional motion in court to bring closure to this matter once and for all, said he hopes that government or the parliament sees it fitting to appoint one of its members to the post before year-end.

He said the law is clear on the matter that the deputy speaker’s post be filled.

Speaker of the House of Assembly Andy Daniel was the person against whom the lawsuit was directed. He was served with documents apprising him of the lawsuit last Sunday at his home by Francois himself.

The case was adjourned because it was felt that the time the documents were served to the time the case was called was too short for Daniel to prepare a defence.

Daniel said he has no issue with the matter going to court, stating that if this is where the question whether or not a deputy speaker should be appointed, then so be it.

The government and the opposition are in dispute over the correct understanding of the Constitution in the matter of the appointment of the or non-appointment of a deputy speaker.

Section 36 (1) of Saint Lucia Constitution states “When the House first meets after any general election of members and before it proceeds to the despatch of any other business except the election of the Speaker, the House shall elect a member of the House, who is not a member of the Cabinet or a Parliamentary Secretary, to be Deputy Speaker of the House and if the office of Deputy Speaker falls vacant any time before the next dissolution of Parliament, the House shall, as soon as convenient, elect another member of the House to that office.”

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