Castries, Saint Lucia, Wednesday November 17, 2021:– Saint Lucia’s Leader of the Opposition, Allen Chastanet, was yesterday stripped of emoluments for the over 100 days he did not attend the three sessions of the national parliament since the July 26 General Elections.
Chastanet, the island’s immediate past-Prime Minister, took the Oath of Office as the elected MP for Micoud South at yesterday’s fourth sitting of the House of Assembly since the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) won the last general elections with a handsome 13-4 majority, which metamorphosed into a 15-2 parliamentary majority, with the two independents siding with the SLP government.
But no sooner he was sworn-in, Speaker Claudius Francis intervened with a lengthy presentation about the former prime minister’s lengthy absence, the reasons and explanations, and the way they were communicated.
Speaker Francis also quoted Erskine & May, the authoritative parliamentary publication, and drew on precedents from Trinidad & Tobago, to make the case that in the absence of certain provisions, the Speaker has the authority to determine the withholding of emoluments of Members of Parliament in certain circumstances.
Arguing that British parliamentary practice can also be employed, the Speaker went on to make an overall case for the state not remunerating the former PM for the period he was absent from the parliament and not taking up office.
After presenting his case, the Speaker concluded that Mr Chastanet should not be paid as Opposition Leader for the entire period of his absence.
He also ruled that while the Opposition Leader’s “personal emoluments” will be affected, his Constituency Allowance, on which employees and rental of his Constituency Office depend will be paid.
Speaker Francis also indicated he had met with the Micoud South MP on the issue and the Member has until November 30 to respond.
In the meantime, Mr.Chastanet goes without parliamentary pay for the over-100 Days he spent abroad after being elected by the Micoud South constituency to serve in the 17-member House of Assembly.