By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
BAIN and Grants Town MP Travis Robinson expressed anger that he was not allowed to speak in the House of Assembly yesterday during a debate on amendments to the Juries Act and the Bail Act.
Mr Robinson, who read the speech he wanted to give on Facebook Live, did not blame a particular person, but said the actions were an attack on democracy.
“I am very disappointed in what happened today in Parliament,” he said. “As is customary, members of Parliament are given the speaking order on which every member of Parliament is expected to speak in that order. Unfortunately, that did not happen today. My speaking time delivered to me today on my speaking list was for 3.30 pm today (Wednesday). However, at around 2pm or just before 2pm today the House moved directly to the third reading and passing of the bills.
“As you would note, my speaking time is around 3.30pm in the afternoon. However, no notice was given to myself as the member of Parliament to indicate that the House was going to move to the third reading and passing even before I had my opportunity to deliver my presentation on behalf of the people of Bain and Grants Town who elected me to serve for them. It is very unfortunate. I am highly disappointed and I see it as an attack on democracy and the actions can be likened to the stifling of the voice of the Bahamian people.”
Mr Robinson said when he asked what happened, he was told the debate ended because opposition members had walked out.
He said after opposition members left, Parliament should have suspended proceedings to determine who would speak next.
“This is not what our country is about and this is not what the people of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas deserve,” he said. “Every member of Parliament was elected to represent the voices of his or her constituents…I did not even have the courtesy of a message or a call to inform me that they were moving to a third reading and the passage of the bill.”
Mr Robinson has shown willingness to ruffle the feathers of senior Free National Movement party members in the past, most notably joining Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller, Centreville MP Reece Chipman and Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine in voting against a hike in value added tax in 2018 that cost him his job as parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
However, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis reinstated him to that position in July after he spent months closely aligning himself with his party.
He said yesterday: “I am not here as merely another number or another vote. I am a vote for the people and the consciousness of the people of Bain and Grants Town and because they sent me there to speak on their behalf, it is their voice that I represent. So if you disrespect Travis Robinson I don’t care. But what you will not do is disrespect the people of Bain and Grants Town. You can do whatever it is you please but when it comes to the voice of the people of Bain and Grants Town, they deserve to be heard too and that did not happen today.”