LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner accused House Speaker Kendal Major of being “partial” following yesterday morning’s House session when he warned her that she would be asked to leave the House if her “disruptive” comments continued.
The warning came after the Speaker admonished both sides of the House for frequent disruptions during Central Grand Bahama MP Neko Grant’s contribution.
“Members, I would like you to refrain from extraneous talk,” Dr Major said.
“Member for Long Island, the chair will not tolerate it. You are warned,” he later continued when Mrs Butler-Turner responded to comments from the government side of the House.
She told the Speaker that she “hopes” he doesn’t tolerate it when other MPs act in a similar manner.
“Member for Long Island - the chair will make a point to tell you that you are being disruptive and rude with your comments,” Dr Major said.
Mrs Butler-Turner replied: “Well, Mr Speaker, if you were wearing a PLP band up until Monday I think you were disruptive.”
She was referring to the yellow and blue wrist band worn by the Speaker. The “One Bahamas” wrist band is yellow and blue, the same colours as those of the governing PLP.
Ft Charlotte MP Andre Rollins then commented: “That was a One Bahamas band.” Mrs Butler-Turner disagreed.
“Member for Long Island, I’m going to say this one last time,” Speaker Major warned, before being interrupted by Mrs Butler-Turner who advised him to “be impartial.”
“The chair is being impartial,” said Speaker Major. “You cannot speak from your seat... The chair was wearing a One Bahamas band.”
Mrs Butler-Turner commented: “PLP.” Mr Rollins retorted, “One Bahamas.”
Ending the disagreement, the Speaker called on FNM Leader Hubert Minnis to “speak to” Mrs Butler-Turner and warned that she would be asked to leave if the comments continued.
“Leader of the Opposition, I’m going to ask you to speak to the member for a final warning – afterwards, I will ask the member to withdraw from these chambers,” he said. “The chair was wearing a One Bahamas band. The chair would never walk in here, to this place, with a PLP band. That is a fact.”
Again from his seat, Mr Rollins added: “Shame on you and shame on the Leader of the Opposition for not being able to control you.”
“But you can’t talk to them?” Mrs Butler-Turner asked the Speaker, referring to the Government side, and Mr Rollins’ comment. “(Be) impartial,” she urged.
Speaking on the incident after the House ended, Mrs Butler-Turner accused the Speaker of being “partial to the other side.”
“The Speaker is wrong to even speak to a sitting member in that manner,” she said. “You’re not supposed to call a member out once they’re in their seat... He can’t call my constituency when seated.”
It was at the start of the House that Dr Major sent out a general warning to all MPs for their behaviour during House meetings, stating: “This must end... Honourable members consider yourselves duly warned. I advise you to refrain and desist from speech and behaviour that is diminishing the respect and honour I have for this place.”