by Linda Straker
- Clement resigned as a member of New National Party in December 2019
- Clement is mandated through constitution to appoint 3 opposition senators
- Senators Kerryne James, Ron Redhead and Glynnis Roberts will be affected
Tobias Clement, newly appointed Leader of the Opposition in the Lower House of Parliament, said that his decision to fill the post which was vacant since February 2013 was his way of taking a stand for democracy.
In his first news conference since he received his instrument of appointment, Clement who was a backbencher for the ruling Keith Mitchell administration, said that his action was motivated by his need to let his voice be heard after Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell, announced the Covid-19 stimulus package for the country. “I am sitting there and hearing the Prime Minister announcing this big stimulus package and there was no talk about passing it through the parliament.” Clement resigned as a member of the ruling New National Party in December 2019 but promised to continue representing his constituency of St George’s North East until the next general election.
“I believe by doing this, I have again raised the awareness of our Grenadian people that there is a trend that is taking place in our country that all decisions that are made by cabinet is law, and is final but we do have a parliament,” he said.
“We are into a pandemic in which some people talk about lives to save. Yes we have lives to save and I also feel we have a democracy to save,” he said, pointing out that the last time the House of Representative had a sitting was in December 2019.
“Imagine I make this move, after all this is over. Could you ask me where I come from now,” he said as he justified his action. “One should not wait until the fight is over then join,” he added.
Promising that he will continue to speak truth to power, Clement said that while as a backbencher in the parliament he challenged the leadership of the ruling NNP because there was a lot of things that he and the leadership “could not see eye to eye.”
As Leader of the Opposition, Clement is mandated through the constitution to appoint 3 opposition senators to the Upper House of Parliament. He said that he is yet to decide on those persons who will replace the senators who were appointed by the Governor-General following the 2018 General Election when the main opposition party did not win a seat in the parliament. “I have spoken to a number of persons and will make that decision in my own deliberate judgement and then inform the Governor-General,” he promised.
The senators who will be affected by his decision are Kerryne James, Ron Redhead and Glynnis Roberts.
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