The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Claudius Francis, has invited opposition leader Allen Chastanet to table a no-confidence motion against him in the House of Assembly.
“I am inviting the leader of the opposition to bring forward a motion of no-confidence. I assure him I will place it on the order paper and I will recluse myself from the debate and allow the Deputy Speaker to take on that debate,” he told reporters.
“I welcome at any time a motion of no-confidence by the leader of the opposition. I don’t own the speakership. The House gave it to me and the House can take it away,” Francis explained.
Francis spoke at a news conference on Thursday, one day after Chastanet called for his resignation over a court ruling regarding the House Privileges Committee matter.
The High Court ruled that the Speaker had no power to refer to the Committee of Privileges any complaint made by a Member of the House of Assembly against another Member in respect of privilege or contempt.
Last October, Francis announced that Chastanet should appear before the Privileges Committee of the House to answer contempt complaints by Tourism Minister Ernest Hilaire and Housing Minister Richard Frederick for statements the opposition leader had made against them in the House of Assembly.
However, Francis told Thursday’s news conference that there was no bar on the matter being sent to a hearing.
“Indeed, the opposition leader has succeeded in ensuring what would otherwise have been a matter heard in camera, to now be heard in open House if in fact either Honourable Dr. Hilaire or Honourable Frederick choose to bring the motion before the House,” the Speaker declared.
“So there was no decision to quash entirely future hearings on the matter,” Francis asserted.