By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEPUTY House Speaker Sylvanus Petty threatened to have opposition leader Michael Pintard removed from the House of Assembly last night after the Marco City MP took exception to remarks made by North Abaco MP Kirk Cornish.
In his first budget contribution, Mr Cornish told parliamentarians he was grateful to have been elected by the people of Abaco, who had suffered many trials since Hurricane Dorian.
He also conveyed a message to the opposition which he said was sent from Abaconions.
“Many, not all, but I repeat, many of whom asked me to please convey on their behalf to the opposition – the opposition sits in Parliament well dressed with elaborate speeches and their frozen hearts using Abaco’s misfortune and situation to support their budget,” Mr Cornish said.
However, the remarks did not sit well with Mr Pintard who argued that it was “inappropriate” for Mr Cornish to imply that he cared more for the Bahamian people.
The FNM MP said: “Mr Deputy, all of us I believe are in this place because we have concerns for the Bahamian people and I want to make it established. It is inappropriate, unparliamentary, for the junior member to come in this place and suggest that he cares more about the Bahamian people than the rest of us who have been serving the Bahamian people consistently.
“So, I want to send a clear message. The member for North Abaco and all others who wish to support him in what has been said.”
Mount Moriah MP McKell Bonaby then tried to defend his parliamentary colleague and even rose from his seat.
However, it was at that point that Mr Pintard told him to “have a seat”.
The Marco City MP continued: “I certainly do not doubt that the member for North Abaco cares deeply about his people, but he should not assert that we are in here and we are callous and that we do not care and worse, that our hearts are frozen towards the people we have consistently served. It is unparliamentary. I am asking the member for Abaco to withdraw those statements and in the absence of a withdrawal, if they could be expunged from the record because it’s inappropriate to assert. I can’t imagine any of us believe that one size or the other lacks concern for the Bahamian people.
“I’m not sure where those persons who are defending that statement. I’m not sure where those persons were during Dorian or after Dorian. I could tell you where several of us were. We were in the community and less than an hour of being evacuated we were back on the frontline fighting. Where was the member for West End and Bimini? Where was the member for Mount Moriah?
“So, don’t come in here talking about who cares and whose heart is frozen. We have worked for our people. We continue to stand for our people and we’re not going to sit down and listen to that nonsense because it isn’t true,” Mr Pintard argued.
Mr Petty then asked for the opposition leader to have a seat and called for members to show respect.
“Just for the record, there are no junior members of Parliament in this House,” he said. “We are all members of Parliament in this House, whether it be your first year, second year, third or fortieth year. We’re all members of Parliament so let’s respect each other. North Abaco, you have the floor until you’re finished. I don’t want to hear from nobody else on no point of order.”
As he made the remarks, Mr Pintard and Obie Wilchcombe, leader of government business in the House of Assembly, then engaged in a brief exchange over the House rules.
Mr Petty interjected, saying: “Marco City, I am warning you for the last time if you get up, I will have you removed from the House.”
He then asked for Mr Cornish to continue his budget contribution and told Mr Pintard “you can just write whatever you have to afterwards.”
But, the FNM leader stood up and opposition members could be heard saying, “No sir.”
Seconds later, the deputy house speaker asked for the police sergeant at arms to remove Mr Pintard from the lower chamber.
However, St Barnabas MP Shanendon Cartwright objected, prompting Mr Petty to say: “I want St Barnabas to join you as well.”
The House proceedings were adjourned for five minutes.
When it resumed, both FNM MPs remained in their seats.