By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie yesterday named Glenys Hanna Martin and ultimately suspended the Englerston MP from the House of Assembly after she abruptly left the lower chamber while being reprimanded for her behaviour during parliamentary sessions.
She was backed by Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip "Brave" Davis and Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper who followed her departure as a sign of solidarity.
The shocking scene in Parliament came after a heated exchange between Mrs Hanna Martin and the Speaker over comments she made last week in reference to two Eleuthera airport workers who were fired. These comments were ultimately expunged from the House's records.
She said the record did not reflect comments that Speaker Moultrie had attributed to her.
At one point Mrs Hanna Martin accused the Speaker of an "ambush" and further insisted she was being "targeted" after the Speaker made it known that his investigations led him to review not only the Hansard, which is the official transcript of the House, but ZNS tapes of her during numerous sessions.
The Speaker also on several occasions struck from the record comments from Mr Davis who was adamant that Mrs Hanna Martin was being treated unfairly and should have been informed of the depth of the investigations into this matter.
Responding, Speaker Moultrie said: "Sometimes in life you have to understand that for every action is an equal opposite reaction."
However, before he could complete his statement, Mrs Hanna Martin gathered her belongings and left the chamber.
"The member for Englerston, Glenys Hanna Martin is named by this chair . . ." he continued.
It was at this point when both Mr Davis and Mr Cooper also gathered their belongings and exited the lower chamber.
The Speaker continued: "A decision on the period of the suspension of the member for Englerston will be determined and this Parliament will be informed.
"Sergeant at arms is notified that the member for Englerston is hereby suspended and the member is not entitled to enter the precincts until otherwise determined by the House and this chair."
This is the second time this MP was named. The first time took place under the last Ingraham administration.
Following this, the three opposition members spoke to reporters outside Parliament, where Mr Davis said he was "sorely disappointed" with the conduct of the Speaker.
He said the Speaker's actions were "unfair".
"I was astounded to hear the Speaker admit that he went into an inquiry concerning the member without even allowing the member to know about the inquiry and then to make conclusions that adversely affected her character, reputation and even standing in the member's community," Mr Davis told reporters gathered outside the House.
"And did not even give her an opportunity to at least know that he was embarking on that inquiry to try to appreciate why he was embarking on that inquiry and then at least say to her having looked at this, this is what I am minded to do. But to ambush her in Parliament the way he did, it's despicable."
Asked whether all opposition members would boycott House sessions for as long as Mrs Hanna Martin is suspended, Mr Davis said they all stood with her, but would not answer outright.
She later released a statement saying she viewed the Speaker's decision as an attempt to silence her voice in Parliament.
The statement read: "I will not be silenced, nor will I surrender my sworn responsibilities as a representative for the people of Englerston and the people of this country.
"The decision by the Speaker to exercise his authority, albeit contrary to the rules of Parliament, has only strengthened my commitment to fight for what is right and just.
"What I attempted to do this morning was to simply correct the Speaker's representation and/or interpretation of what I had said relative to the firing of two women who served as airport managers in Eleuthera in a previous sitting of the House.
"The Hansard, which is the official record of the House, clearly shows that I did not use the words claimed by the Speaker, nor did I disrespect or shun the Speaker as he had previously claimed. In fact, the Hansard shows that the Speaker misquoted me and wrongly accused me of saying something I did not say.
"I would have thought that in the spirit of cohesion, and in the interest and protection of all members, the Speaker would have accepted that we are all human and his error was simply that and attribute it to his learning curve. He chose instead an extreme response and in the course of that response sought to abuse my privilege as a member of the honourable House of Assembly," the statement continued.