House Speaker denies being asked to resign

The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Leonne Theodore-John, has denied reports that she has been asked to resign over concerns about the way she has dealt with members of the government side in the parliament.

“I have not been asked to resign, I want to make that clear,” she told reporters today.

Theodore-John said if there are personal issues that she is unaware of, she will always conduct herself in a manner befitting the office that she holds.

“I will do so to the extent that I maintain my integrity and my professionalism,” Theodore John stated.

Asked whether in retrospect she thought that she had come across as being too forceful, the Speaker said:

“I think after this incident one thing has to hit home. The thing that hits home for me is that perhaps in my office as Speaker I will definitely have to do a lot more to basically, I  would not use the word educate but  inform and remind members of parliament of the  behavior that is fitting and the decorum required for the house.”

She said while she understands that elected members are elected to serve their constituents and they get to be in the limelight in parliament where their constituents can see them, the affairs of the house have to be conducted in a respectful manner.

“Asking the Prime Minister to take his seat is a matter that – to me, it is not disrespectful,” she asserted.

Theodore- John said as the presiding officer, her main responsibility is to ensure the proper conduct of the proceedings.

“These are not rules that Leonne Theodore-John made,” the Speaker told reporters.

Asked whether she was concerned about losing her job, the Speaker said: “Why would I be worried about that? People have differences of opinion.”

She said every Saint Lucian knows that she is unquestionably a supporter the ruling United Workers Party (UWP).

“It is very important that Saint Lucians understand that while I am UWP, when I accepted the office of Speaker of the House of Assembly, that office mandates that I conduct myself in a manner and I am impartial in my judgement and the way that I conduct myself with members of the house,” Theodore-John explained.

She said there are seventeen elected members of parliament, all of whom must be treated with respect.

The Speaker also pointed out that her office needs to be treated with respect.

“The rules are there and we have to understand that,” she declared.