Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Free National Movement’s wide majority in the House of Assembly is clear indication of the expected failure of today’s no confidence vote in Speaker Halson Moultrie, Bamboo Town MP Renward Wells suggested yesterday.
Mr Wells, who is also leader of government business in the House, said when the sitting convenes, Bahamians will also see the government is intent on continuing with the people’s business.
Commenting on his expectations, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis added he would give “great news” when Parliament meets again. He did not elaborate further on how the government intended to handle the no confidence motion, which is to be brought by the Official Opposition.
This vote follows a two week stand off between the government and the Official Opposition over Mr Moultrie’s disciplinary action on the minority members, resulting in first the suspension and naming of Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin two weeks ago. Cat Island, Rum, Cay and San Salvador MP Philip “Brave” Davis, South Andros and Mangrove Cay MP Picewell Forbes and Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper were then suspended last Wednesday for two sittings.
For the vote to be successful, the opposition would need the support of almost every government member of Parliament.
“The government is the majority,” Mr Wells said yesterday when he was asked about the Minnis administration’s confidence level ahead of Parliament today.
“As the prime minister has intimated in the dailies today, this is always…with every Free National Movement speaker of the House, every speaker that was appointed by the Free National Movement, just about, has faced a vote of no confidence by the side opposite.”
It is unclear specifically which speakers both the prime minister and Mr Wells were referring to, but according to The Tribune’s records only one of the three most recent speakers faced a vote of no confidence.
In 2007 the Progressive Liberal Party, then in opposition, moved a motion, which was approved, to hold a no confidence vote in then Speaker Alvin Smith.
The decision to move the vote was predicated by then opposition leader, former Prime Minister Perry Christie’s attempts to speak raising objections to certain terms used by then prime minister Hubert Ingraham, which were made at a previous sitting.
At the time Mr Ingraham had criticised the former PLP government for leaving the Bahamian judicial system in a mess.
However, the motion was defeated during debate in the House. At the time, the governing Ingraham administration held the majority in the House, 23 to 18.
In 2001, then Coalition for Democratic Reform Leader Bernard Nottage called on former Speaker R Italia Johnson to resign her post in the House and as chairman of the Boundaries Commission for attempting to join the race for leader of the FNM. His calls did not advance past this point.
No record could be found of a vote of no confidence in former Speaker Vernon Symonette. He served as speaker under a previous FNM administration in 1992.
In a letter sent to the House of Assembly, Mr Davis served notice of his or another minority member’s intention to move a vote of no confidence in the chair.
On Friday the notice was sent to David Forbes, Acting Chief Clerk in the House of Assembly.