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George-Masicote returns as Speaker! Mather appointed deputy

George-Masicote returns as Speaker! Mather appointed deputy

Corine George-Massicote haș been selected as the Speaker of the House of Assembly. George-Massicote, an attorney-at-law, was elected moments ago during the First Sitting of the First Session of the Fifth House of Assembly after serving for one year in the previous administration.
The motion for George-Massicote to be elected as Speaker was moved by Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley and seconded by Opposition Leader Ronnie Skelton.

Several reports had emerged that George-Massicote was likely to be replaced by former Attorney General Dancia Penn-Sallah as House Speaker, however, there were no other candidates put forward during the House sitting today.

Proceedings in the House then took an unexpected turn when Fourth District Representative and Junior Minister for Culture & Tourism Luce Hodge-Smith was proposed by Premier Wheatley to be Deputy Speaker.

The Opposition Leader immediately pointed out that no one serving as a minister can be elected as Speaker or Deputy Speaker.

Skelton was then offered the opportunity to propose a Deputy Speaker and nominated Stacey ‘Buddha’ Mather, who is also a member of the parliamentary opposition. Mather’s nomination was seconded by Second District Representative Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull.

Third District Representative Julian Fraser pointed to the constitution and noted that there was no provision made for Junior Ministers.

Premier Wheatley then asked that the vote for Hodge-Smith proceed since the constitution clearly expressed that a Speaker or Deputy Speaker should not be a member of Cabinet or be a sitting minister.

The House then took a brief recess and upon its resumption, Premier Wheatley withdrew his nomination of Hodge-Smith.

“Upon review, it is indeed correct that Section 69(5) applies junior ministers as ministers in the 2015 amendment to the constitution. We, therefore, withdraw our nominee, Honourable Luce Hodge-Smith, and will support the nominee Honourable Stacy Mather,” Dr Wheatley stated.

Mather was sworn in as Deputy Speaker thereafter.

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