SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY, Michael Carrington, has described the Opposition Barbados Labour Party’s boycott of yesterday’s sitting as a slap in the face of the parliamentary process and bordering on contempt.
Carrington cited several comments made by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, printed in both daily newspapers yesterday.
“It may be necessary for this Chamber to take further action,” the Speaker warned.
In addition, Carrington said a firearms policy would not be introduced at the House simply because other jurisdictions had done so; on the insistence of a few MPs; or as a knee-jerk reaction sensationalised by the media.
He also defended his actions since the matter was officially brought to his attention.
“I deprecate the suggestions made both directly and obliquely that the Speaker has not done his job properly, or quickly enough. I consider it an insult to this office,” he told the House during a 23-minute statement.
Carrington said both Marshall and Mottley had requested the matter be heard by the Committee of Privileges, but yet neither were in their seats yesterday.
He noted that in this regard, the incident was reported to have taken place when the House was in Committee of Supply, and that Barbados’ system of government considered matters of privilege to be of paramount importance, and that such matters be raised at the earliest possible time, which would have been when he took the chair for conclusion of the evening’s debate.
“It was not so raised, yet leave has been granted to have it raised this morning,” the Speaker said, explaining why he had taken the opportunity to speak on the matter yesterday.
Carrington also called for more Members of Parliament (MPs) to seek clarification from Parliamentary staff regarding the exact rules of the House, and what actions should be taken in an effort to have certain matters expedited.
“I regret having to deal with this matter in this way, at this time. I am of the view that it is necessary to preserve the authority of this honourable chamber. I have received no indication from any member of Her Majesty’s Opposition about his or her absence this morning.”
The Speaker said it was not for him to speculate as to why they were absent, but he considered their no-show unfortunate.
He read to the House the dates, times and details of every piece of communication he received from Member of Parliament for St Joseph, Dale Marshall, and Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley, between March 19 (the date of an alleged incident between Marshall and Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr David Estwick) and yesterday.
Carrington revealed that he also wrote Mottley on April 14, 2010, informing her that he advised that matters which involved the authority and dignity of the House would be investigated by the Committee of Privileges.