PM Says Opposition are Obstructionists

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Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham along with members of his cabinet called a press conference just after passing the Juries Act in the House of Assembly. 

The government’s Juries Amendment Bill was passed by majority vote in Parliament Monday, despite the Opposition’s disruption of the House’s proceedings. On Monday members of the opposition will move a motion of ‘No Confidence’ against the speaker of the House Hon. Alvin Smith.

THE PRIME MINISTER: The Opposition have sought to make a mountain out of a molehill over this issue. I do not expect anything different from them because they do not accept the fact that they have lost the election. They find every manner of excuse and they wish to be obstructionists as was clearly demonstrated this morning.

Minorities have great opportunities to put forward their points of view and to have their points of view considered. But minorities are not to run the show. They are not to make the decisions.

The opportunity was afforded this morning for Mr. Christie to make his case as to whatever argument he has. He chose not to do so. He chose to only want to do so if it was done when he wanted to do it and how he wanted to do it and he didn’t care about the views of the majority in the House at the time.

Specifically, the rules of the House require a member who is offended by a remark made by another member to immediately challenge that member and rise on a point of order or on a point of personal privilege.

No such step taken was taken by either Mr. Christie or any of his other members when the House met and these remarks [were made] by me saying that they were failures in so far as the judicial system was concerned.

It couldn’t have been that urgent from their point of view. They can’t be that slow, they are very smart people. So, having not taken advantage of the opportunity which they had, they came this morning.

We said there is a measure on the floor for debate. Desmond Bannister was going to speak for 20 minutes to half an hour, we would put the Bill to a vote and after that we’d be happy to accommodate any points of view that the Opposition wished to make with respect to their complaint.

They chose not to accept that.

This matter had become suddenly urgent and immediate, notwithstanding that it wasn’t urgent or immediate when the House actually met. They all sat there and participated. There was a back and forth between ourselves on the 22nd of October.

And this whole question arose because Mr. Christie just jumped to his feet while I was speaking and started to speak in a loud voice and I out-shouted him and since I had the mic, what I was saying came across and his didn’t because the mic system is not capable of carrying two people at the same time.

At no stage did he take exception to it.

He and I met on Wednesday the 24th of October and spent at least 45 minutes together and talked about this and other things.

I didn’t get the impression that he was personally offended, in fact I thought that we both agreed that while he was responsible for the mess of the judicial system, that the persons who failed to perform were others – but he had charge of it and he was the one who made the appointments and he was the one who should accept responsibility for it.