Opposition calls for the Resignation of Claudius Francis as Speaker of the House

Opposition calls for the Resignation of Claudius Francis as Speaker of the House
Leader of the Opposition and Parliamentary Representative for Micoud South Allen
Chastanet has called for the resignation of House of Assembly Speaker Claudius Francis.
This follows last week’s High Court victory by Chastanet in a case involving The
Last October Francis announced that Chastanet should appear before the Privileges
Committee of the House to answer contempt complaints by two government Ministers,
Foreign Affairs Minister Ernest Hilaire and Housing Minister Richard Frederick for
statements he had made against them.
Chastanet filed an injunction in the High Court to restrain Francis from going ahead and
hearing the complaints.
At a hearing before Judge Shawn Innocent both parties agreed that Speaker Francis had
no power to refer to the Committee of Privileges any complaint made by a Member of the
House of Assembly against another Member in respect of privilege or contempt.
King’s Counsel Garth Patterson in association with Mark Maragh and Mrs. Taylor
Laurayne, Attorneys-at-law, appeared for Chastanet while Ms. Renee St. Rose,
Attorney-at-Law, represented the Speaker.
Judge Innocent declared the referrals by Speaker Francis to the Privileges Committee to
be null and void and of no effect, He then ordered the Speaker to pay to Chastanet his
costs for the claim and of his application for the injunction.
Chatanet today welcomed the outcome of the case indicating that it was in line with his
own position which had been communicated to Francis by his legal team at the time the
complaints were made against him.
Added Chastanet: “It is clear that the Speaker grossly miscalculated, assuming powers
that clearly he did not have. By his careless act he has tarnished the position of Speaker
as well as forcing the government to bear the cost of the Court action, which I believe
may run into several thousand dollars. The government must feel embarrassed by this
turn of events and in the circumstances Speaker Francis, who has in the past boasted
about his desire to see that the House does not descend into disrepute, should do the
honourable thing and tender his resignation.”

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