Mitchell slams Speaker for 'threats' against him and Griffin

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Hon. Fred MitchellSTATEMENT BY FRED MITCHELL MP
ON SPEAKER’S COMMENTS/11 06 09

On Monday 8th June when the House of Assembly suspended its session for the luncheon break the Speaker of the House made a comment from his chair that two members defiantly refused to stand as his procession was leaving the House chamber for a break.  He named me and the Member of Parliament for Yamacraw Melanie Griffin as the two members.  He went on to issue what I took to be a threat dressed up in the garb of advice, not to repeat sitting down while his procession was leaving.

First, I wish to say I do not take kindly to threats.  If the Speaker perceives there is an infraction of the rules, then he must act in accordance with his conscience but do not threaten me.

Secondly, and more importantly, this provides an occasion to put into context the entire range of events which form the background to the Speaker’s comments, and that is the injudicious, ill considered and intemperate decision by the Speaker to expel Glenys Hanna Martin from the House.  By that single ill considered decision, he derailed the Government’s business and he should be ashamed of himself for embarrassing the Government. Instead, he threatens me.glenysstandoff3609c

The fact is the honour of rising as the Speaker leaves is a tradition of the House not a requirement.  I use the word honour deliberately and I say generally that honour and respect are given to whom honour and respect are due.  If you do not yourself give honour and respect then you are due none.

The occasion of the unfair expulsion of Mrs. Hanna Martin from the House has also provided fodder from one commentator after the next.  These Monday morning quarterbacks are the usual suspects for whom the PLP can do nothing right.

One commentator said that Mrs. Hanna Martin was using the death of a young man for politics.  How cynical and simple minded.

The fact is that the PLP, all political parties, including the FNM and indeed Alvin Smith himself have engaged in forms of dissent, civil disobedience and non violent resistance where they perceived wrongdoing.  What the PLP did was part of that tradition of civil disobedience.  The ignorance of that tradition by the Speaker and the present ruling group allowed them to do what the UBP last did in 1965: to call the police to stop Members of Parliament from speaking.  Alvin Smith now has the dubious distinction heretofore reserved unto former Speaker R. H. Bobby Symonette of the United Bahamian Party of having ordered the police to expel members of parliament.

As for the question of rules, where rules are not fairly applied, they must be resisted.  There is no court to which one appeals; this is about power and politics.  Justice here depends on the fairness of the majority and how they exercise power.  Clearly, all sense of proportionality was lost on the Speaker and the ruling group last week.  Apartheid in South Africa was set up by laws and rules.  If we had listened to the critics then, Apartheid would have been left in place.  Slavery was also set up by laws and rules.  If we had listened to these same critics, slavery would still exist.

I intend to continue to represent the people of the Fox Hill constituency to the best of my ability; to stand up for my principles and to work on behalf of the PLP; just as Alvin Smith wants to do justice for the people of North Eleuthera.

searsdissed

Speaker gets no honour when he exits the Parliament anymore. Alvin Smith has become a puppet of record. Asking members to retract statements, but cannot remember what he wishes to be retracted. He will go down on record as being the worst Speaker ever in the history of the Bahamian Parliament!  Yes, more worst than those who served under the UBP! You’re a DISGRACE ALVIN, WE CRY SHAME ON YOU!

  • Tristan

    I think we should Launch the LETS READ BAHAMAS CAMPAIGN AGAIN!!! I am grateful that Fred wrote this statement. It is human nature to give respect where it is due and to respect someone who deserves respect. It is not a Rule to stand while the speaker is exiting the chamber but a tradition of honour. Now is we want to make tradition a rule then all of us should return to the Catholic Church. You see we must not be hypocritical in our views. FNMs and Independant thinkers agree that the Speaker is dillusional. No FNM Member will ask HAI to change the speaker. NO FNM member can ask HAI anything or else!!! Thats the kind of Governemnt we not me but they voted for in 2007. We need speakers who are willing to be bi partisan like Milo Bulter Jr. for we are BAHAMIANS FIRST!!! We cannot run a country like this. There is no steady hand in this operation and until that happens, we are committing suicide

  • I watched the Parliamentary channel and notice that the Speaker appears to have a hardon for PLP members.He is picking his next victim and having tasted blood now wants to intimidate all others.I do recall that the PLP proposed a motion of no confidence in this Speaker who was the rudest MP ever especially during the term of the PLP in 2002 to 2007.From all appearances he has chosen Melanie and Fred as his next victims.In my estimation any MP who allows persons to intimidate them does not deserve to represent anyone in Parliament.This bullshit about decorum is one big joke as the many victims of this Govt spite,were not given any decorum.Just ask my uncle who was given 48 hrs to resign as a Policeman after serving over 30 yrs.Where was the Tribune,Guardian or the pundits who sat twiddling their fingers?This country needs healing which is 3 yrs away unfoprtunately but in the meantime persons like the Speaker will try to wreak havoc but boy oh boy dont come here.So to my friends and adversaries on this site,my computer is fixed and am glad to be back.

  • sandy peterson

    HELLO BAHAMAS…. Harry and Mike are opening cafe Johnny Canoe that is why they made the Ferguson brother’s life impossible. Also Harry had a huge fight with his father Nick Pikramenos and hit him big times in the face that is why Mr. Nick left to Greece to run from his devil son Mike and Harry. Mr. Nick betrayed Theo and this is what he got from Harry and Mike. Disgussting

  • Just typical of the UBP/FNM! All the vestiges of the ubp were showcased for all to see last week! The ubp, alive an well, through the fnm!

  • If one continues to repeat a lie then eventually many would believe it.I have been a harsh critic of the PLP members in Parliament because I felt they were too nice when dealing with the Speaker and HAI who in my view bullied them.This perception even made it to the street level as many voters felt HAI was decisive and Christie laid back.On issues Omar the Govt always seemed to bull issues down the throat of the PLP enabling the Govt to do all the foolishness now taking place with victimization and disregard for the Constitution of the country.So Omar and others you cannot have it both ways,the Opposition must get the attention of the Govt in order to discuss issues.In my view the Govt is now listening and therefore the Opposition can now discuss issues for our benefit.I am watching you, as you Omar have not criticised the Govt in a long time so I hope you are not being used for interference.Many criticised the PLP for being too laid back but now that they are standing up to the bully some want them to just take it.Abused wives and husbands should leave their partners.I was there for Black Tuesday and welcome the radical position the PLP is taking.PLP supporters throughout the length and breadth of this country are happy that the PLP is back and defending them.The PLP was down after 2007 but they are back as different members are taking the Govt to task on issues.From now on it is PLP all the way but if they let down I shall be all over them.

  • Omar Archer Sr.

    I am so tired of this pulling each other down type of politics. Why are we not discussing issues? Immigration and ethnic targeting, Crime, unemployment, the economy, education, land reform, social ills especially poverty, child protection, job security by way of economic diversification. Let’s please stop this petty back and forth nonsensical attitude and get to the business of the people. As a party we need to produce a national plan to address crime, to assist the homeless and otherwise forgotten. When will we really get serious about the issues? It’s hard to remain loyal to a party when they are being passive and ignorant to the facts and issues that effect our people. MY GOD!!

  • A mature person knows to respect the “Office” and pay homage to the protocol even if in disagreement with the person who holds that office.
    Fred Mitchell and Melanie did indeed act in a childish manner. One of the actions I have noticed, in watching the proceedings, is that some members of the Opposition will continue to speak even when asked several times to take their seat. Usually Fred adheres to the “rules” so I was surprised that he let his anger get in the way of his usual good common sense. He needs to take hold of himself. “There are many ways to skin the cat.” On the other side, while I deplore their constant taunts and verbal assaults, they do know enough to sit down when directed to by the speaker. The Speaker was too lenient in the beginning and now it is difficult to bring the recalcitrant members back into order. I say you are now doing a much better job Mr. Speaker and keep after these wayward persons no matter which side of the divide they are on. Perhaps one day both sides will grow up enough to recognize that the electorate does not appreciate their antics.

  • MAX

    If someone else had made this statement I would have actually given it some thought. However given the source and the hatred that this MP has demonstrated for the Speaker this statement is totally laughable. It is a fact that Mrs. Hanna Martin was in breach of the rules when she pulled that stunt in Parliament. In fact nothing prevented her from using her contribution to speak to this matter as she did yesterday. However it was totally out of order for her to speak at that point on the agenda and in the absence of proper notice. The sad part about all of this is that as a result of her actions she has grabbed the spotlight while the alleged suicide of that 15 year old has been pushed to the background.

  • JT

    I don’t think this is childish at all. It is clear that the Speaker has issues. He is not supposed to be biased, let alone make threats to anyone. He gets no respect because he deserves none!!! He is consistently rude and disrespectful. Members of the FNM chide and respond rudely and make slight of any remark any member of the opposition make. Yet, he treats the opposition harshly. To say that he is anything but a disgrace to the HOA is a fallacy. I especially think that the ordeal with Hanna-Martin could have been better handled. Yes, she may have been out of order, but at the same time, the issue should have been given some consideration. It just goes to show how much of an idiot he is!!!

  • Thomas Finley

    How childish of Mitchell and the others. What a disgrace. Go on and mash it up. One day you will be in charge, and I hope you are happy being in charge of a bar room.