By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner said yesterday that despite newly appointed Senator Rodney Moncur being described as “vile and bombastic,” persons will come to understand “very soon” why she chose the controversial talk show host for the post.
While appearing as a guest on the 91.7 FM show “Morning Madhouse” with host “C-Note,” Mrs Butler-Turner admitted that Mr Moncur will have to “modify his behaviour in Parliament” but reiterated earlier comments, saying she supports his right to express his views and opinions.
Mrs Butler-Turner said Mr Moncur, who has openly advocated against gender equality, is a champion for the “down trodden” and a voice for those who would “otherwise not be heard.”
“I believe that there was certainly an emotional response when Senator Moncur was appointed and I think people will come to understand in the fullness of time why he was chosen,” Mrs Butler-Turner said.
“In some people’s estimation Mr Moncur can be bombastic and vile, as I have heard it described. I stand by him because the flip side of it is this, he has for many years been an advocate of the down trodden and those persons who feel marginalised. He has gone out boldly to stand up for things he believed in. I think one of the key things that I looked at was, I realised in leadership you have to make tough decisions and you are not only going to decide on people who think your way or see things your way. You have got to have diverse group of persons.
“Moncur was very hard on me personally, very, very critical of me when I moved for the Martial Rape Bill and continued to be very critical of my actions when I (supported) the Gender Equality Bills and so when people look they say ‘this man does not believe in equality, he is a misogynist.’ Interestingly you have to look at the flip side because Moncur said that women cannot lead but yet he is following me.”
Mrs Butler-Turner said while she encourages Mr Moncur to be himself, he will have to modify his behaviour in the upper chamber of Parliament.
“I am absolutely leading him and teaching him,” she said.
“I think there is such a thing as modification of behaviour and he has apologised I understand on his talk show to the many person he would have offended. As a senator, he is going to have to modify much of his behaviour, especially in Parliament. That is going to be important. I believe if you are going to fight a battle and you have adversaries and you are able to turn your adversary into an ally before you hit the first blow, you are well on your way to winning that battle.”
Over the years, Mr Moncur has not been shy in vocalising his conservative and anti-feminist views, which led many to question and criticise Mrs Butler-Turner’s decision to appoint the community activist and justice of the peace to the Senate.
Mrs Butler-Turner was an advocate for the vote ‘yes’ campaign ahead of the gender equality referendum. In 2009, when she was minister of state for social development in the Ingraham administration, she tabled a bill that would have made marital rape a crime. That bill was shelved after pushback from the community. Mr Moncur did not support the legislation.
Mr Moncur called for all Bahamians to vote “no” in the June 2016 referendum in order to “save women” from themselves and to “stop foreign men from having the same rights as Bahamian men.” He called the process “witchcraft”.
Days after he was sworn in as a senator, Mrs Butler-Turner publicly apologised for the “inappropriate and insensitive comments” made by Mr Moncur towards a Tribune reporter who had raised questions about his position on marital rape.