The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
AS he rebuked Official Opposition members, House Speaker Halson Moultrie said he is willing to “risk everything” to maintain order and decorum in the lower chamber.
Speaker Moultrie yesterday took issue with what he called a “number of insulting” remarks from Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador MP Philip “Brave” Davis and Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper after he refused to allow greetings from them to a group visiting in the gallery.
The Speaker said neither member had given notice of this intention as is parliamentary procedure.
However, the Speaker did not mention his distaste for the opposition’s actions until Education Minister Jeffery Lloyd was well into his contribution to the budget debate. A seated opposition MP had been heckling the South Beach MP over government’s stipulations for those who wish to receive free tertiary education.
At one point Mr Cooper suggested those on the governing side had swayed the Speaker’s position.
The rebuke was also extended to Free National Movement Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine who also joined in with the Official Opposition.
“Honourable member let me put you on notice because I was going to do this a bit later, but let me do it now,” Speaker Moultrie said, referring to Mr Cooper. “Earlier this morning when I advised the House that we had a group of persons here from various Family Islands and I called on the minister of education and the member for South Beach who the chair had already recognised, I heard a number of insulting remarks from both you the member for Exuma and Ragged Island and the member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador being hurled at the chair.
“Now I am putting you and the member for Pineridge, in the absence of the member for Cat Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador, that the chair is not going to tolerate that kind of behaviour from any member,” he added.
The Official Opposition leader had briefly left the chamber when Speaker Moultrie made the remarks. “The chair believes in the independence and the autonomy of the Parliament,” Speaker Moultrie continued. “I take it as an insult when any member suggests that the chair and the presiding officer are being directed by any other member.
“I have taken all risks over being even removed from this chair to fight for the independence of the Parliament. I have asked the clerk to point out my seat in case I am removed…where I will sit and I will continue to advocate for the autonomy and independence of the Parliament because that is what the constitution calls for whether it be from this chair or the back bench.
“So I want you to know that I am prepared to risk everything to maintain order and decorum and respect for the rules and procedure of this Parliament and I am not tolerating, while I am in this chair, any disrespect from any member that could bring this institution into disrepute.”