Speaker’s sudden illness during parliament draws hot debate on social media

By SNO Staff

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Leonne Theodore-John

News that Speaker of the House of Assembly Leonne Theodore-John was hospitalised Tuesday evening, Oct. 31, after she took ill during the sitting of Parliament, has evoked hot debate on social media with some persons expressing disgust that Theodore-John’s medical issues are being used for political gain.

Other persons have expressed the view that had the government appointed a deputy speaker, Theodore-John would not have been in this situaton.

Commenting on the issue via Facebook, a communications officer in the public service, said “shocked is too mild of a word” to describe the response from some persons to the speaker’s illness.

“Have we become such a politically tribal society that we have lost our humanity?” she questioned.

She continued: “I woke up this morning to my Facebook feed full of news of Hon. Leonne Theodore-John’s collapse in the House. What was even more horrifying is the vitriol and political rhetoric burgeoning from a serious health matter of a person – a human being.

“Yes, we know the issue of appointing a Deputy Speaker is contentious. Yes, we know the full commissioning of the Owen King EU Hospital is contentious. Yes, we know the St. Jude Hospital reconstruction is contentious. And yes, the motions and bills down for the day had differing views from the political spectrum. Does that give us a right to make puerile statements directed at the Speaker? Does it give us a right to mock her situation with such embarrassingly vile and illogical statements, especially when her status at this time has not been made public?

“Whether it were Hon. Andy Daniel, Claudius Francis, Peter Foster or Dr. Rosemarie Husbands-Mathurin or any other previously appointed presiding officer, the matter in question should not be the political affiliation but rather the well-being of the individual.”

Another communications specialist expressed similar sentiments: “It happened the final day in October. A month dedicated to breast cancer survivors, the majority of whom like the afflicted are women. This woman is one of our Warriors in Pink. For that alone. Can’t we just be human and have compassion towards each other? It’s not too much to ask. I know we are better than this. I hope the Honourable Speaker is well and if she isn’t, may she have a quick recovery.”

However, in the same field, had a slightly different view.

She said: “Unfortunately….. I can lay the responsibility at the feet of the Speaker. As the supreme authority in Parliament, it was her choice to continue entertaining requests to convene the Parliament without it being properly constituted with a deputy. As terrible as last night’s situation was, the final responsibility of what goes on in the House of Assembly does in fact lie with the Speaker. She allows her members to continue to disregard the constitutional requirement to appoint a deputy.”

A United Workers Party official also weighed in on the debate: “This is what politics have done to the minds of our people and it is indeed sad. We sit and fight over politicians, disrespect each other for their political choices if it doesnt match that of theirs but I witness on every lunch break how these guys go down to the lunch area, sit and chat with each other and drink the most expensive of liquor but we out here trying to kill each other for them.”

However, this response drew a stinging backlash from a member of the opposition St. Lucia Labour Party: “I am a member of Parliament in Saint Lucia. It is disgusting to read miss — post. “…I witness on every lunch break how these guys go down to the lunch area, sit and chat with each other and drink the most expensive of liquor…” . Miss — you have just brought the whole of Parliament into disrepute. I demand that you withdraw this lie …every lunch time we drink expensive liquor????? Wow.

“I can guarantee you that upon my return a formal letter will be written to the Speaker to examine your access to the House lunch room and other rooms of the Parliament . For if you can lie so blatantly, what else would you not do !Please prove your false accusation or withdraw your statement. Do you know what you have just done. That statement also by its nature has just accused the Hon. Leone Theodore- John of being complicit in that untrue act. I await your retraction or proof that Parliamentarians drink expensive liquor on every lunch break. I will also send your post to every parliamentarian for their attention and action.”

Reports are that the speaker remains hospitalised.

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  1. I will always say that the constitution in St. Lucia needs to be revised with a clear focus on good governance. The present structure promotes the polarization of variouus political factions where no one seems to be able to take a middle ground or compromise.

    Our present politicians are like children. Loud and ignorant. The sad thing is, St. Lucia is filled to the brim with brilliant minds, but would the general populace ever install them as political leaders? Never. Mapwis, Roro and Ti qwa are too deeply ingrained in our culture. The general population would prefer a candidate who more closely resonates with them, both in morality and intellect. Is it really surprising then that our Government is filled with corrupt idiots?

    Our politicians represent who we are as a society.

  2. It is so funny as a young person reading these comments....how we have failed. We see only two colours. Someone is sick n we play politics. People let us.be each other's keeper . why can't we be positive....some of these comments are insulting

  3. Karma does not have a menu, it serves you what you deserve. Until Chastanet shuts it down social media is Joe Public's kingdom, who gives two shots about a communications professionals, who was asleep when the Social media crew was on duty during Parliament. Relics and hacks. Who cares about Nicole McDonald's opinion. There she sinking for her supper, there is nothing professional about that


  5. Let me first wish and pray for a full recovery to the speaker. No one wants to be in this situation. If this does not however convince us of how abysmally poor our justice and health systems have become due to politics and corruption, then we really are doomed.

    Our leaders make rules and BREAK them afterwards. The ruling party, the opposition AND the speaker fully well knew that they were proceeding with the business of the house ILLEGALLY. Breaking the law at the HIGHEST level. Although anyone can fall sick, I strongly believe the speaker unnecessarily over exerted herself while perpetuating an ILLEGAL activity. If our leaders break the law on TV...the laws they enact for a purpose...how can they demand us to be law abiding. Law breaking institutionalized.

    I can bet also that the speaker was rushed to Tapion...and that is due to the sudden nature of her illness, otherwise I suspect a flight out of the country would be in order. As for me...given the means...this would be my course as well. But alas, the vast majority of us St Lucians many of whom are die-hard supporters of a red or yellow type who defend their reps to death have no choice but to end up at controversial St Jude or tired Victoria all to the deafening silence of Owen King EU.

    And so we continue to defend party when the BREAK the law and defend party when they CANNOT have health care institutions open due to blatant corruption and neglect. So we have a single speaker with no assistant overworking herself to exhaustion as a result of perpetuating an illegality and getting sent to the best hospital that is out of the league of ordinary St Lucians because the ones that are, are decrepit.

    Wake up St Lucians...WAKE UP!

  6. That's why you don't throw stones at every do the bark slps keep barking

    • Wake up...dude your're still sleeping. I hope your ass don't get sick because Chastanet sure as hell ain't gonna send you overseas to the hospital he goes to. WAKE UP...FOOL.

  7. How ironic? There is nothing social about social media. You can sit behind an electronic gadget and project hate and ill will, spread false news or rumours without even checking how ridiculously false the thing you are sharing is . There is no compassion anymore, you are for or against something or someone, usually a political party. I am truly saddened by how addictive facebook and WhatsApp have become to some of my fellow St lucians. Unfortunately it is getting worse, people's lives are being destroyed by some of this fake news.

  8. Ok well if you'll not drinking expensive liquor, you'll drinking cheap ones then.

  9. Why am I not surprised that SNO would go with this slanted story which in itself is going down a political line in search of sympathy for the UWP. It's typical of you guys to try to spin everything. Come to terms with reality which confronts you. Of course nobody wants to fall sick, but sickness is a reality. And that's exactly why the Constitution puts in place a Deputy Speaker position which Sarah Flood-Beaubrun was but you removed her out of greed. The decision to do that was ALL political because you already had the largest cabinet ever. So please don't come to the people trying to spin this situation and people have to apologize for saying what is OBVIOUS! The dear lady should have never been put under so much pressure especially when she suggested that she wanted to adjourn till the next day but the prime minister felt otherwise! That is ON RECORD. Now he will have to wait until December to come to pass his Airport Tax!

    • well said

    • Who say thats why the woman fainted .lucians quick to diagnose other people problem, but cant solve their own.

    • You're a god dammed mind reader, every thing you wrote went through my mind right after reading the piece,then you wrote, Bravo Anon.

    • Oh my Some people are demons and so crude. The woman is sick and we are quick to judge. We are all sinners and if she lied in anyway, let God judge her and stop judging when you are more full of wicked ways.

  10. Our people knew elections were every five years and campaigning were over after the night of the results, But since KENNY ANTHONY came into politics all this change Labour party people had taken it to a new low as we can see today so I'm not at all surprised at what is being said about the HON Speaker of the house.
    What a Shame!!


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