Leader of the Opposition Philip 'Brave' Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
HOUSE Speaker Halson Moultrie denied the opposition’s request yesterday for debate about the planning, management and execution of operations surrounding Hurricane Dorian.
Opposition leader Philip “Brave” Davis appealed to Rule 51 of the Rules Procedure of the House of Assembly as the basis for a debate.
However, Speaker Moultrie said that rule limits time for debate to 90 minutes, far too little to flesh out the topic.
“To proceed under Rule 51 will limit severely the participation of the Parliament to address this important matter of public importance,” he said. As a compromise, he tabled Mr Davis’ letter concerning the matter after omitting several of its paragraphs.
In his letter to Speaker Moultrie, Mr Davis said it would be derelict for the House not to fully air the “expert advice, planning, management protocol, health, safety and security protocols and the execution of said protocols” given the destruction Dorian wrought.
Among other things, Mr Davis wrote: “The people of Moore’s Island feel abandoned by the FNM government.”
“With no running water and a lack of government presence since the storm, they feel abandoned. The residents of Sandy Point are complaining that not only has the electricity not been restored, their water system has failed. The people in the Abaco Cays complain of deterioration in safety and security, with little evidence of a government response or presence there to address marauding gangs, occupying and vandalising people’s homes and stealing private property.
“Similar reports are coming out of Abaco mainland. In Grand Bahama, the people of Freeport are concerned that they are being left out of recovery efforts by the lack of any reference to financial support for them in Freeport. The loans for civil servants offered by the FNM government do not approximate what the PLP did when it was in office. The PLP allowed up to $20,000 in loans repayable over five years for the civil servants, not the two months salary now being offered by the FNM.”
Speaker Moultrie struck these statements from the record before tabling the document in Parliament, calling them opinionated and unnecessary. However, the opposition later released the letter to the press.
“What a joke the Speaker has become,” PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell wrote in a separate press statement. “Just days ago the Speaker was boasting about 290 years of parliamentary democracy, but when given the opportunity to defend democratic principles, he dropped the ball. The African ancestors are ashamed of him. The House Speaker should be ashamed of himself.”