An Open Letter: – Conduct during Parliamentary Proceedings

July 11th, 2018
Ms. Alix Boyd Knight
The Speaker of the House of Assembly
In the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Dominica
Roseau
Commonwealth of Dominica.
Dear Madam Speaker,

As one of the voices of civil society which are committed to parliamentary democracy in the Commonwealth of Dominica, Concern Citizens Movement (CCM) is obliged to write to you to express our concern over the impartial
manner in which you have presided over our country’s House of Assembly.

You have had the honour to serve as the Speaker for eighteen years, indeed the longest tenure of any Speaker in the forty-year history of this august House of Assembly. Our observation of your stewardship over those years is
that it has been characterized by a fundamental lack of appreciation for the principle of impartiality, one of the most important principles essential for the effectiveness of the Speaker.

Further, we have noted your consistent failure to grasp the fundamental concept that the Speaker is the Servant of the House of Assembly, not the servant of the Government. As the guardian of the Standing Orders, you have, on many instances throughout your tenure, used these very Orders to grant favour and advantage to the Government side, and to punish and belittle the Opposition side.

In the recent sitting the House of Assembly on 25 June 2018 you again demonstrated your standard practice of invoking the Standing Orders to bring to a premature end, the sterling contribution to the Resolution on Housing Assistance by Opposition Senator, Isaac Baptiste, by stating that “the Member has gone beyond the scope of the debate” and “unfortunately, I have the honour to preside in this House and the rules say my interpretation
carries”. Senator Baptiste was not imputing improper motive and we feel strongly that you should have allowed him to complete his contribution to that debate.

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