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Speaker Moultrie Hands In His Keys

The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)

The Speaker of the House Halson Moultrie. (File photo)

By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT

tsmith-cartwright@tribunemedia.net

HOUSE of Assembly Speaker Halston Moultrie has turned in his keys to the government because he is not satisfied with the state of his office and bathroom facilities. He is refusing to set foot in that area again unless the situation has been corrected.

While in Parliament on October 22, Mr Moultrie chided Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis for mentioning the planned relocation of the Cabinet Office because of a leaky roof while failing to indicate a plan to address issues in the House of Assembly.

Mr Moultrie had previously said there was no running water in his bathroom and cited mould, a leaking roof, and an office that was deemed a security risk by the Royal Bahamas Police Force as other issues of contention.

In his scathing address to Parliament on the matter, Mr Moultrie said he is of the view that a man should never respect any other man above himself and since God is not a respecter of persons, he could not sit idly by as the presiding officer of Parliament and accept such circumstances.

Mr Moultrie threatened that if his office and bathroom were not addressed, he would turn in his keys for his office on October 31, as he would not be utilising that office in its present condition.

When contacted on Sunday for an update, Mr Moultrie told The Tribune: “I have already moved out on Friday and I turned the keys into Parliament. This has nothing to do with me being the Speaker of the House of Assembly. I made it very clear that I will not be resigning as Speaker, but rather pushing for the independence or autonomy of the legislative branch.

“I was given the assurance by the Minister of Works that the ground floor of the Senate building would be renovated to accommodate the Speaker’s office. In the interim, the existing Speaker’s office, the conditions remain the same. In respect to the existing Speaker’s office, I will not be returning there. It is a health hazard and has been condemned as a security risk by the police. There is no running water in the bathroom facilities. The place is full of mould and the ceiling is leaking.”

The Nassau Village MP is of the view that there is not sufficient focus being put on the development of the legislative branch of Parliament by the executive branch.

“I believe that the relationship with the executive branch and the legislative branch is an adulterous relationship in the doctrine of the separation of powers. The model of democracy that we have adopted calls for three branches of government – the legislative branch, the executive branch and the judicial branch. Democracy cannot work when one branch would encroach into the main jurisdiction of any of the other two branches.

“There is a strict, unwritten rule that no individual should function within two or more branches. In other words, if you are an executive, you should have no role in the judiciary or legislative branch. The reasons for that to me are simple and clear. You cannot have one branch of the government dominating the other two branches and that is exactly what we have in The Bahamas today, dominance of the judiciary and the legislative branch by the executive branch.”

Comments

thps 1 year, 2 months ago

“There is a strict, unwritten rule that no individual should function within two or more branches. In other words, if you are an executive, you should have no role in the judiciary or legislative branch."

I agree with much of what he says except for the paragraphs quoted.

Why do people claim there is a separation of people performing functions in our constitution between the legislature and the executive.

Our constitution is explicit in the opposite.

The PM who heads the executive must come from the legislature. The Cabinet must consist of either House Members or Senators. Westminister is based on the executive coming from the legislature as we don't separately elect a head of government.

I would expect the Speaker of the House to know this.

Where he does have a point is the habit of picking Backbench MPs as Govt Corp. Chairpersons. But otherwise, he is off. if he is calling for a change in the constitution that's another thing.

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JokeyJack 1 year, 2 months ago

Good point - however, let me update you on the specifics you may be missing. Government employees are commanded by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry they work for, and he/she is commanded by the Governor General. This is true for all except Finance which is commanded by the Financial Secretary (even though it also has a Permanent Secretary). The PS of Finance is just a figurehead. The Prime Minister (nor any MP) has authority to make/stop any government employee from doing anything. The only thing the PM can do is fire a government employee "in interest of government" - but he can't do that all the time or else the Permanent Secretaries will turn on him. So, the "executive" is not the Cabinet, even though the love the the public to believe that. The Cabinet makes policy and suggest legislation and regulations. They have no executive power. The Parliament (even though many of the same in Cabinet) make Law. The Courts interpret anything in the law which is unclear or which has to be applied to an unforeseen scenario which was not contemplated at the time the law was written, or is suggested to be unconstitutional. What is going on here, however, is the Cabinet thru their "influence" over the Finance Ministry has control over any expenditure by the Legislature (The House & Senate) and the House has not seen fit in over 40 years to provide the House itself with a budget. The Cabinet exercises this influence by refusing to appoint anyone to the position of Financial Secretary (knowing how powerful that position is). We have had an "ACTING" Financial Secretary since prior to 2010 thru 2 changes in PMs. It is a very slick move by government. They feign democracy by no longer having the PM be the Minister of Finance (like Pindling and Ingraham) - but chopping off the head of finance by not having an FS. Since civics is not taught in our schools, the vast majority of Bahamians do not even know that this is a problem. A problem "unknown" is well hidden. I must give them credit for their craftiness. One has to truly wonder what was the purpose of the Constitutional Reform Commission, and how is it that its members have remained silent for over a decade now.

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tribanon 1 year, 2 months ago

By not addressing the very legitimate concerns raised by Moultrie, Minnis has effectively accepted Moutrie's withdrawing from the Speaker's Office (Chair).

Under our Constitution and system of government, Parliament cannot exist without a Speaker of the House. Minnis is therefore duty bound to appoint another Speaker without delay failing which the current session of Parliament must be considered prorogued (terminated) and a date set for a national (general) election. Of course, if Minnis now indeed holds the view that the Bahamas is a dictatorship ruled by himself, then he need do nothing.

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thephoenix562 1 year, 2 months ago

The House can be parouged without an election being called.That being said Moultrie is a pompus ass who needs to go.

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