By INIGO 'NAUGHTY' ZENICAZELAYA
After a “vote of no confidence” that the governing Free National Movement government shrewdly turned into an amended “vote of confidence”, the status quo remains in the House of Assembly.
Nothing to See Here
We all had an idea how the votes would come down in the House of Assembly with respect to the Official Opposition’s proposed vote of no confidence. What we didn’t expect, however, was the blatant partisanship that meant an amendment was added to make it a farcical “vote of confidence”.
Instead of defending the unprecedented actions of the Speaker, Mr Halson Moultrie, we were once again treated (some say “bored to tears”) with speeches from Members of Parliament (who should know better) on how the Speaker had “restored the honour, dignity and respect to the High Office of Speaker”.
Let’s get one thing straight; the Speaker did no such thing.
What he did do was lash out in a way never before seen by another occupying his station, and bring disrepute to the chair in the process.
In a speech from the chair last week, the Speaker was on the attack, personal, and petty in his remarks.
Look, we all get the picture.
It’s well remembered how the former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP), when in government, had at their disposal a deputy-speaker in the form of former Nassau Village MP Dion Smith who, when he occupied the chair, was vicious, partisan and extremely rude to the fledgling FNM Opposition at the time.
We all can recall Smith’s cutting remarks and curt tone with Opposition Members, including the dismissive way many felt he often handled our new Prime Minister, Dr Hubert Minnis, when he was merely Opposition Leader.
So Bahamians, to a degree, can understand why the FNM would (falsely) believe “now” was “payback time”.
For the record, “payback time” was actually May 10, 2017.
That’s when the Bahamians delivered an overwhelming super-majority to the FNM as punishment to the PLP party for their many transgressions.
Amongst those transgressions - and one that stands out to this day - is the way former PLP MPs and Ministers used the hallowed halls of the House (and the immunity it afforded them) to behave like imbeciles.
The episodes were too many to count.
Fast forward eight months later, with the same type of behavior on display, and it’s no wonder Bahamians are upset with this new government and its antics.
To be sure, I don’t even blame Moultrie for the entirety of this mess. Blame, in this case, is also reserved for the FNM MPs and ministers who sat there like lap dogs and basically professed, ‘We een do nuttin wrong!’
They are the “cloakers”.
One by one they stood up and barked about the old “PLP did this, and the PLP did that” not realising that most of us are now living in 2018.
To paraphrase Janet Jackson, “what have you done for us lately... except borrow all kinda money?”
We didn’t elect a new government to live in the past, we elected a new government to have a better future. That better future doesn’t include wasting “the people’s time” on trifling grievances.
And I should probably mention, lest the skewed numbers in the House cause the FNM to “get it twisted”: In spite of the PLP being reduced to almost a bare minimum, they still have a lot of support in this country. You could even argue that when a political party is decimated the way the PLP was last election, anyone from that group that survives is what we would call a “Teflon Don”.
Their voices matter, too.
Just to tidy things up (and keep it real), my personal thoughts on Halson Moultrie’s return to the Speakership is that now that he has ‘walked through the valley’- if past is prologue- he should be a better Speaker.
Back in the day, at the legendary Priory Grounds, I remember the Speaker as a basketball player. Yet (another) victim of my famous jump shot, he would often “carry on” the way he did in the House last week. As a self-styled referee, he was often caught screaming, “I don’t care if you disagree, you ga respect my call!”
After a few “animated” disagreements, he became well versed in the rules of the Priory.
So if there’s any consolation, the new Speaker, in my mind, is a person who is a servant to the rules. And having realized he was dead wrong for having “getting in the flesh” and acting out the way he did, will finally adjust his behavior accordingly.
I can’t say the same for the MPs who defended him.
There was no acknowledgment on their behalf of the things that Moultrie did wrong, of the persons he wronged. There was no acknowledgement of Miriam Emmanuel’s wrong, of the things she said that was wrong.
One by one, they identified themselves as persons we need to “watch out for” because their shameless fealty - and loyalty to Party - is something Bahamians no longer trust.
My eyes, however, are on the (magnificent?) seven MPs that “chose” to be absent for the vote. They are the ones to keep an eye on; they, like Freeport MP Frederick McAlpine, didn’t sanction buffoonery. They are in the clear.
The ones that sang Moultrie’s praises without rebuke, including the Prime Minister, should watch out. There’s no way that 34 FNM MPs will be returned to their positions after the next election, and one by one, with their servile disposition, they are already, kindly, weeding themselves out.