Statement of Dale D. Marshall, Q.C., M.P. given at Parliament this 27th day of April, 2010
MR SPEAKER, the circumstances in which I stand to address this Honourable Chamber are such that they can bring no pleasure. To use the words of Edmund Burke, these are matters on which it is difficult to speak, but on which it is impossible to remain silent.
I have been advised by the Clerk of Parliament that I must, in seeking to have a matter involving the conduct of a Member of Parliament referred to the Committee of Privileges, address your Honour The Speaker on the facts, and I therefore rise to do so.
On the evening of Friday, March 19th, I was in attendance at Parliament. This was the final day of the Estimates debate of the year 2010.
At about 7:30 in the night, the House was debating a matter relating to the Barbados Drug Service. The Member for St Philip West was speaking on the subject of the Barbados Drug Service, when I rose on a Point of Order. I was heard on the Point of Order by the Chairman of Committees and then took my seat.
After taking my seat, the Honourable Member for St Philip West again addressed the Chamber, and upon taking his seat, shouted across the Chamber that he was going to slap me across my head.
Mr Speaker, this threat by the Honourable Member was totally unprovoked and came as a complete surprise to me, as at no time did I address any comment or remarks to the Honourable Member while on my feet or while in my seat.
In fact, I do not recall any instance during the previous four days in Parliament or on the last day of the debates at any time addressing the Honourable Member, either directly or indirectly on any matter relating to the debate or otherwise.
The Honourable Member repeated the threat again, whereupon I got up and left the Chamber. After about ten minutes, I returned to the Chamber and took my seat.
Immediately upon me resuming my seat, The Honourable Member for St Philip West bellowed across the Chamber the following words: “You couldn’t wait outside for me? I ready for you now! Come back outside if you is a bad! I gine slap you cross you head! Come back outside if you is a bad!”
The Honourable Member then jumped up from his seat and proceeded in the direction of the door to exit the Chamber.
I left my seat and followed him to the door. We approached the curtain in the Chamber from opposite directions. He reached the area of the curtain first, and I was approximately one step behind him.
As I rounded the edge of the curtain, I saw the Honourable Member for St Philip West bend over and remove his firearm from his ankle holster. He returned to an erect position with his body turned towards me with the firearm in his hand. The firearm was still in his right hand and he was looking at me in a menacing way.
The Honourable Member then pushed the firearm into his pants waistband on his left side, directly in front of me. He then turned and opened the door and exited the Chamber.
At the time when I saw the Honourable Member remove the firearm and with the firearm in his hand, I was fearful for my life and safety.
I went out of the door to the Chamber behind the Honourable Member and emerged in the area outside of the Speaker’s office. On my emerging into that area outside of the Speaker’s office, the Honourable Member turned to me and walked up to me in a belligerent and threatening manner, saying “I ready for you now”.
The Honourable Member continued his threatening, aggressive and belligerent behaviour towards me with further threats of beating me. By that time, The Honourable Member for St Andrew, the Honourable Member for St Michael North, and the Leader of the Opposition, The Honourable Member for St Michael North East had come out of the Chamber.
The Leader of the Opposition positioned herself directly between The Member of St Philip West and myself. The Leader of the Opposition said to the Honourable Member for St Philip West, “You gine hit me?” And other words followed.
The Honourable Member for St Philip West continued his threatening, aggressive and belligerent behaviour towards me. By that time, the Honourable Member for St Philip North, the Minister of Housing, had come out of the Chamber and was trying to restrain the Member for St Philip West by seizing by his left shoulder and left arm and pulling him away in the area of the bust of Sir Conrad Reeves, which is situated at the top of the stairs.
Shortly thereafter, the Member for St Philip West pulled away from the Member for St Philip North and rushed towards the Member for St Andrew. The Member for St Philip West then backed the Member for St Andrew against the wall with his continued threats and his belligerent and aggressive behaviour.
The Leader of the Opposition and the Member for St Thomas, who had by then come out of the Chamber, went in between the Member for St Philip West and the Member for St Andrew to prevent the Member from St Philip West from assaulting the Member for St Andrew.
All the while, two other Honourable Members for the St Philip constituencies continued to try to restrain and subdue the Member for St Philip West.
I am aware that there is a security camera in the area of the bust of Sir Conrad Reeves and I believe that much of what I have stated would be verified by the security footage.
There was one police officer in the vicinity of the bust of Sir Conrad Reeves during the altercation. The situation was quelled shortly thereafter.
Mr Speaker, those are the facts.
I respectfully submit, Mr Speaker, that the conduct of the Honourable Member for St Philip West with the firearm constitutes the act of brandishing his gun and constitutes disorderly conduct. It was done within the precincts of Parliament and specifically, before the Honourable Member exited this Honourable Chamber.
His handling of the gun was executed in a threatening manner and his conduct falls far short of the standard of conduct that is required of Honourable Members within this Chamber.
Mr Speaker, the conduct of the Honourable Member for St Philip West affects this House and its Members in that it is likely to bring this House into disrepute. The conduct was disorderly, contumacious and disrespectful.
I therefore move that the conduct of the Honourable Member for St Philip West be referred to the Committee of Privileges for its consideration and recommendation.