Former Prime Minister and founder of the opposition New Democratic Party (NDP), Sir James Mitchell says the recent fiasco in parliament over the opposition’s no confidence motion and the government’s amendment to the motion, should have played out differently.
On January 31st, 2018, there were about 3 hours of back and forth between members on the government bench and those on the opposition bench along with Speaker of the House Jomo Thomas over whether to proceed with the debate on a no confidence motion brought by the opposition.
A decision was taken to do so however Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves interjected and made an amendment to the motion which was allowed by the speaker turning the motion of no confidence into confidence which was passed in the absence of the opposition members.
Speaking on the matter on Boom FM Wednesday morning Sir James who has been a parliamentarian for 35 years, and the leader of this country for 16 years, says that he had two motions brought against him in the past, and that it is important to have these matters played out as they should.
Sir James said that while he holds in high esteem, the views expressed by some legal minds and constitutional experts on the matter including former Attorney General, Queens Counsel Parnel Campbell, Grenadian Francis Alexis and former NDP senator Linton Lewis, he said they are incorrect with their take on the matter.
Sir James noted that motions of no confidence decide whether governments can go forward or not, and should not be slighted.
The former prime minister questioned whether the government did not want the motion of no confidence to be debated, because of the Yugge Farrell saga and the call for Finance Minister Camillo Gonsalves to resign which he said might have been damning.