Grenada: House Speaker says protest action by parliamentarian over meagre salary was “improper and disrespectful”

Grenada: House Speaker says protest action by parliamentarian over meagre salary was “improper and disrespectful”
Tobias Clement
Tobias Clement

(THE NEW TODAY) — Speaker of the House of Representative, Michael Pierre has slammed the Parliament Representative for the constituency of St. George North East, Tobias Clement for the manner in which he staged a protest action at the last sitting of the Lower House in July over the meagre salary paid to him.

Pierre, the brother-in-law, of Education Minister Emmalin Pierre has warned Clement against any future protest action on the issue.

Speaking at last Friday’s sitting of the Lower House at Mt. Wheldale, St. George, the Speaker said he considered the action taken by Clement as an “error in judgment” since payment to Parliamentarians are done through the Ministry of Finance and not Office of the Parliament.

During the last sitting of Parliament on July 18, Clement launched a verbal assault on the salary received from government by MP’s who are not sitting members of the Cabinet to sustain them as Parliamentarians.

He said that the $1200 salary is not enough for Parliamentarians to carry out their duties effectively in their respective constituencies.

As a result, the MP wrote a cheque to give the money back to the government and proceeded to place the cheque on the desk of the Speaker of the House.Speaker Pierre advised the outspoken Parliamentarian against such future actions and termed it as “improper and disrespectful.”

He said: “Honourable representatives, I must take this opportunity to say to all Parliamentary Representatives that you have a right to protest and to make the issues which affect you or your constituencies known. If you choose to voice your protest at the sitting (of) the House of Representatives that is your right, as you are protesting to your employers, that is the constituents at whose pleasure you sit in the Chamber of this Honourable House.”

“I must mention, Honourable member for the constituency of St. George North East, the protest at the last sitting held on the 18th of July 2018 is not the issue here, the action which followed the verbal protest is the issue. The writing of a cheque exclusive of the NIS reduction and causing it to be placed on the Speaker’s desk while the House is in session could be interpreted to be improper or even disrespectful to the Parliament and the Speaker.

“… Please be reminded that neither the Speaker nor the Office of the Parliament pays to the Parliamentary Representatives their salary, this is done by the Ministry of Finance, so, any return of remuneration received in the future that cheque should be made payable to the Government of Grenada and sent to the Ministry of Finance.

“Honourable member, I consider the action which followed the verbal protest, an error in judgment and advise that it will not occur again in this House.”

MP Clement did not respond to the comments made by the Speaker.

NNP insiders have said that Clement’s position would hurt his chances of being put up in the next general election by Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell as the party’s candidate for the constituency.

Dr. Mitchell has already warned that the MP’s approach was wrong on the issue and that if he had approached him before speaking out in public on the matter, he would have advised him differently.

A party member confided in this newspaper that MP Clement ran the risk of being destroyed politically by the Prime Minister on the issue.

“He (Clement) can’t win the big man on this at all. The big man will only destroy him”, said the NNP activist who did not wish to be named.

According to the source, if Clement was taking an anti-NNP position on the issue then he should do the decent and honourable thing and cross the floor and become the Leader of the House of Representative in Parliament.

The Mitchell-led NNP controls all 15 seats in Parliament following its clean sweep of the polls in the March 13 general election.


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