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MP: Not so

Barry Alleyne

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MINISTER OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS Dr David Estwick, under fire for his role in a March 19 incident involving an Opposition MP, has flatly denied he brandished a gun whilst at Parliament during last month’s Estimates debate.
But he apologised to the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Carrington, for his behaviour when he was involved in a heated altercation with Deputy Leader of the Opposition Dale Marshall that led to an incident which has become a national issue, and helped trigger a boycott of Parliament yesterday by the Opposition, which had also called for his sacking from Cabinet.
In a brief statement in Parliament yesterday, Estwick also denied that he had threatened Marshall after a heated argument between the two outside of the chamber but still within the precincts of the House of Assembly.
Last week, St Joseph Member of Parliament (MP)Marshall made an official complaint to police, saying he had been threatened by Estwick, and felt intimidated and fearful for his life during the alleged incident.
Estwick’s comments were made with the seats opposite him unoccupied as members of the Opposition kept their promise not to attend the House until a firearms policy had been established.
The public gallery was full, however as several people made the trek to the House in anticipation of Estwick’s statement.
“On the last day the House sat during the Estimates debate, an event occurred which has given cause to much debate and discussion on a number of issues including Parliamentary privilege, and the conduct of members, and the carrying of firearms,” the MP for St Philip West stated.
“On the day in question, certain remarks made across the political divide caused me to leave the chamber and to get into a heated discussion with two members of the Opposition within the precincts of Parliament.”
He then noted that on reflection, the entire episode was unnecessary and viewed by others as “sending the wrong message”.
“Let me make it abundantly clear to all, that I did not initiate the confrontation,” he told the Speaker. “… And neither did I brandish, or threaten with a weapon, any member of this House, as has been implicitly speculated. Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, even though there have been attempts to blow this matter entirely out of proportion, I wish to apologise to you for whatever part I may have played in the events of March 19, 2010.”
According to Estwick, his behaviour may have reflected poorly on the standing and reputation of the House of Assembly.
“… But I will reiterate, that at no time did I brandish a weapon or threaten any member of Parliament,” Estwick concluded to loud applause from his colleagues.