The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie said yesterday the chance of a no confidence vote in Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis succeeding is “negligible”.
Nonetheless, he said the Official Opposition would be allowed to move such a motion once they meet the requirements laid down in parliamentary guidelines.
Mr Moultrie told The Tribune while it is obvious the Opposition doesn’t have the numbers to back its motion, exercises of this nature are democratic and politically “symbolic” in nature.
This comes after Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest was reported on Sunday as saying a no confidence vote is a fool’s errand.
Mr Moultrie said he doesn’t agree with this position because this is the Opposition’s right.
As it stands, the Speaker said he has yet to receive official notice of a no confidence vote, but according to House rules they would need to give a one-day notice of their intention.
Once this is done, he said, Parliament would make arrangements for the vote to supersede the normal agenda.
“It could always be argued that the motion would not be successful, but that doesn’t and should not prevent a party from proceeding with the motion. Even though it may be symbolic in nature knowing that it is likely that it would be defeated, because - particularly in politics - some times decisions are made to make symbolic gestures to drive a point home knowing that it would not be successful because you don’t have the numbers,” said Speaker Moultrie.
“So the Opposition shouldn’t be denied that right simply because they don’t have the numbers.
“But it would be similar to the vote of no confidence in the Speaker (in February 2018). It was unlikely that it would not succeed, but they should not be denied the democratic and parliamentary right to bring such a motion.
“If they meet the requirements the Parliament is obliged to accommodate them.
“Usually with a substantive motion of that nature that would supersede the regular agenda and that would become the order of the day, but once we get sufficient notice it is likely that would be dealt with at the opening or the very next sitting of Parliament.”
Regarding Mr Turnquest’s remarks, Mr Moultrie said: “I wouldn’t say it’s a fool’s errand because like I said they have the democratic right and they are within their rights with respect to the rules of procedure to bring such a motion.
“The success of it is negligible but they still have the right to bring the motion and in bringing the motion they will be able to debate matters relevant to the motion, so they will be able to air their views as opposed to what they tried to do the last time we met when they came without notice and tried to raise an issue to basically ambush the Parliament with a debate on a matter that was not on the agenda. What they are doing now is the proper way to do it.”
On Sunday. Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine said he will likely vote to abstain if the Opposition brings the no-confidence resolution to the assembly, signalling he will not show public support for the leader of his party.
For his part, Centreville MP Reece Chipman appears undecided on the matter while Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller said he has to weigh the various factors involved before making a decision.
During the final night of the PLP’s convention on Friday, Progressive Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis announced he will bring a no-confidence motion at the earliest opportunity and require Free National Movement parliamentarians to “go on the record and vote”.
He cited the controversial Town Centre Mall lease as rationale for such a move.
The House of Assembly is currently on summer recess until October 2.