THE SPEAKER ought to be censured for his poor judgement!
By Jerry Roker
for Bahamas Press
In the latest of a series of robust and fiery meetings of our legislature the Speaker of the House has had to suspend several duly elected Opposition members. Arguably it could be said this is one of the most tumultuous parliaments in recent times. No right-thinking person envies the charge and responsibilities accepted by Garden Hills; he presides over an extremely adversarial House where posturing and one-upmanhip are the normal rules of engagement.
The Speaker in my opinion has shown great dignity and humility with demonstrated statesmanship with respect to the Urban Renewal/Auditor General saga. However, he was ‘dead wrong’ for letting Fort Charlotte speak, outside of when he was scheduled, particularly against the wishes of his own side. The Speakers interpretation of Rule 33.1 was seriously flawed, as it is my understanding that this rule is intended to protect the rights of the minority. Fort Charlotte obviously is on the side of the majority! It would appear that the Speaker allowed his ‘feelings’ to cause him to violate the rules of The House. This is a very serious matter and brings into question Garden Hills’ judgement. Also, not to be overlooked, is his loyalty or absence thereof to his side.
Those of us who have the appetite and the time to listen to endless debate hear very heated and strident to and fro arguments to win the debate for their side. Too often it is personal and vitriolic in heated verbal conflict from both sides. For the most part, The Speaker has shown commendable fortitude and patience while trying to maintain order and decorum. Nevertheless, it is my view that he ought to be censured for his poor judgement, which brought significant embarrassment to his side.
The truth be told, there are no good guys and bad guys that make up our legislature but the fact that one side won and the other lost is always at the heart of our adversarial democracy. The Speaker must know the rules, and if he doesn’t, he has access to the Clerk of The House who has been in that position since king hatchet was a hammer. The Speaker must not only know the rules, but he must be capable of their flawless interpretation and application. In this instanced miserably.
I am not sure his side still have confidence in Garden Hills. But time will take care of that.