Honourable Rochelle Forde
The Speaker is not an elected Member, nor is he a Senator. Neither the Speaker nor his Deputy can be a Minister of Government.
Section 30 of the Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines provides for the appointment of a Speaker. He is elected by the majority party in the House of Assembly in consultation with the Opposition, when the House first meets after a General Election and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any other business. Apart from his own election, the Speaker must be present (in the Chair) for the conducting of all business in the House.
The Speaker may be elected either from among the Members of the House who are not Members of the Cabinet or Parliamentary Secretaries, or from among persons who are not Members of the House. He must be a Commonwealth Citizen, and must not be disqualified from standing for election as a Representative or appointment as a Senator.
The Speaker presides over the House, except when it is in Committee (as he then becomes Chairman of the Committee particularly when Bills reach the Committee Stage).
He maintains order and guides the House on all questions of privilege and practice. He is expected to be impartial between political parties, and especially to protect the rights of minorities in the House and to ensure that they have their say. He does not take part in debate.
He does not vote unless there is a tie and he is a Representative. He gives advice and rulings on procedure; signs warrants of committal for contempt and reprimands Members and strangers for misconduct; and signs warrants for the issue of writs for By-elections.
At anytime the office of Speaker becomes vacant, no business shall be transacted in the House. Such a vacancy can exist:
1. If the Speaker, chosen from among the elected Members, ceases to be a Member of the House, or if he becomes a Member of the Cabinet or a Parliamentary Secretary, or for any disqualification of an elected Representative or a Senator.
2. If he is chosen from outside the House, the vacancy will occur when the House first meets after any dissolution of Parliament, or if he ceases to be a Commonwealth citizen; or for any of the general disqualifications affecting Representatives and Senators.
To ensure that a temporary vacancy would not affect the ordinary business of the House, a Deputy Speaker is also appointed. He would be elected from among the Members of Parliament in accordance with the procedure for electing the Speaker, and would have to vacate his office if he ceases to be a Commonwealth Citizen; or if he becomes a Member of the Cabinet or Parliamentary Secretary; or if he is elected Speaker.
Deputy Speaker Mineva Glasgow