SHANENDON Cartwright MP in the House of Assembly previously.
Photo: Donavan McIntosh/Tribune Staff
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Tribune Chief Reporter
DEPUTY House Speaker Sylvanus Petty threatened to have St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright removed from yesterday’s morning sitting of Parliament after the member continuously stood to argue with Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin as she made a contribution.
During his contribution to the Climate Change and Carbon Markets Initiatives Bill 2022, Mr Cartwright said thousands of Bahamians continued to financially struggle, echoing calls for the removal of value added tax from breadbasket items.
The items were zero-rated under the former government, but have again been subject to VAT under the Davis administration.
He called on the government to “find a way to bring some relief to those who struggle.”
His comments struck a tone with Mrs Hanna Martin. When she stood to make her contribution to the Bill, she staunchly criticised the St Barnabas MP.
She said in part: “I listened with interest to the member for St Barnabas and I’m just wondering whether he has just arrived in the reality of what has been happening in this country.
“... We went through a pandemic where it took three months before there was even an intervention and the economy was shut down and people didn’t have a dollar or a piece of bread and people had to be innovative.
“I know in Englerston we had to try to find some solutions. I didn’t hear St Barnabas crying for the poor.”
In response Mr Cartwright stood to his feet to make a point of order, telling members that he had maintained a reputation of caring about the poor and advocating for better conditions for them.
“Take VAT off breadbasket items. How can you govern looking back? Let’s look forward to it. You in government fix it,” he said.
While the deputy speaker struggled to get order amidst the shouting MPs, Mrs Hanna Martin said: “I don’t want the member for St Barnabas to believe he could bully this member.”
The deputy speaker went on to remind members that a point of order did not equate to a difference of opinion.
The Englerston MP said she viewed Mr Cartwright’s words as giving the impression that the struggles of the poor was a new phenomenon.
As Mr Cartwright again stood, Mrs Hanna Martin quipped: “You’re a good guy. May I finish my contribution?”
Still he continued that Bahamians expected the government to bring relief, to which Mrs Hanna Martin shouted: “This is not Hollywood. Hollywood ain’t in the Parliament, man.”
Once again Mr Cartwright continued to argue his position leading the Englerston MP to say: “This member believes I’m a light target in here. I don’t want him get mix up.”
The deputy speaker interjected that Mrs Hanna Martin had 27 minutes and 43 seconds left to contribute to the Bill and no one would be allowed to interrupt further.
After several more minutes of back and forth between the MPs, the deputy speaker stood to his feet in an attempt to restore order.
“I already made a ruling three times,” Mr Petty said. “I will have the sergeant-at-arms remove you from this House if you need to cool off. I already made a ruling three times. It would not be a fourth time.
“Sergeant-at-arms, I am putting you on guard to remove St Barnabas if he cannot respect the rules of this place.”
In response, official opposition leader Michael Pintard stood, saying he took exception to a blanket ruling that a member is not allowed to get up on a point of order until a contributing member has concluded.
He said threatening a member’s removal on those grounds was inconsistent with the rules of Parliament.