Home » Speaker denies opposition’s move to unseat Sir Robin Yearwood

Speaker denies opposition’s move to unseat Sir Robin Yearwood

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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir Gerald Watt has made a ruling

on an issue raised by the Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle, over the

validity of Sir Robin Yearwood’s presence in the House.

Pringle has made the point on more than one occasion, that during the swearing in

ceremony in February, Sir Robin, who was elected as Deputy Speaker of the House

swore the Oath as required, but that he failed to sign his name to the document as

the Standing Orders dictate.

The Opposition Leader first raised it when he delivered his Budget Presentation on

March 9 and he again raised it prior to the close of Wednesday’s proceedings.

At that time, both the Attorney General and the Speaker refuted the claim and it

was even indicated by the Clerk of Parliament that the member did in fact sign the

book as was the requirement.

The matter seemed not to have satisfied Pringle, so when the House resumed its

sitting on Thursday morning, the Speaker sought to give a final ruling on the

matter. He asked Pringle to restate his claim and asked the AG to respond before

he made his ruling.

The Opposition Leader repeated the assertion that Sir Robin said the oath, but that

he failed to subscribe (sign). “For any member to participate in any business of the

house, they must not only take the oath, according to Section 6 of the Standing

Orders, the member must do both things. This is not a matter of merely wanting to

be contentious, because if we are going to be doing things in this honourable

House, it must be done properly. Just simply to acknowledge an error and correct

it, you, Mr. Speaker, were sitting right there when the AG went off. I simply came

here to inquire, where do we go from here with that matter. I asked you to do your

investigations and get back to me,” he stated.

The Speaker then turned to Pringle and asked, “If it is, that what you are saying is

right, what turns on that, how can it be remedied?” In response, the Opposition

Leader said his understanding of the rules is that the member cannot participate in

any business of the House.

Called to respond, Benjamin stated that after considering the points made by

Pringle, he found that they were without merit. He explained, utilizing the Standing


Orders, that the first Order of Business is the election of the Speaker and a Deputy

Speaker, and in order for one to be deputy speaker, that person must first be a

member of the House. He then went into detail to explain that the opposition

member’s claims were not grounded on sound arguments.

In his ruling, The Speaker consulted the register where Dean Jonas signed in 2014,

Londel Benjamin signed in 2018 and he added that he even checked a video

recording of the matter and that he was satisfied that Sir Robin did sign. Further, he

noted that all the members of the opposition debated the budget and at no time

objected to the presence of Sir Robin in the House. “Consequently, the budget

completed and the legal principle applies here, you cannot approbate and

reprobate, that is, you cannot accept the he was right to participate in the budget

debate, voted on the budget and now want to raise this matter at the end. I rule that

Sir Robin did what was required and that the matter is now settled and to be

recorded in Hansard,” the Speaker declared.

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