In what many considered a contentious House of Assembly sitting Wednesday (February 7) morning, several sitting members, inclusive of the leader of the nation, Prime Minister, Dr. Hubert Minnis, expressed their views and support of the Speaker of the House, Halson D. Moultrie’s decision to name and suspend Member of Parliament (MP) for Englerston, Glenys Hanna-Martin, in what many deemed blatant disrespect for the House Speaker and his authority in the chambers.
Lending her voice in support of the Speaker’s decision, Member of Parliament for West Grand Bahama and Bimini, Pakesia Parker Edgecombe, Communication and Information PS in the Office of the Prime Minister said that Moultrie was in “his right” to suspend Hanna-Martin.
Noting that while she is new to the political arena, Parker-Edgecombe said having witnessed the behavior of the Englerston MP, and by extension that of the Official Opposition, the Progressive liberal Party (PLP) on numerous occasions – it appears they are seeking to deter the present government from conducting the business of those that have elected them to office.
“Based on that and the Rules of this House, Mr. Speaker you are well within your rights to suspend the MP due to her behavior.
“Mr. Speaker, truth be told, what transpired during the last proceedings in this House involving the member for Englerston, was bound to happen sooner or later. As you sit in here, time-and-time again, I saw the way the member opposite, on more than one occasion was asked to take a seat, but instead challenged you and your authority. Some may argue that the member was well within her right, last week, but I beg to differ,” Parker-Edgecombe said.
“The mere fact that when you, as the Speaker of this House, would have requested an action to take place and there was defiance to that order, is already disrespect towards the chair. “Mr. Speaker, I honestly believe the MP for Englerston to be a strong representative and one that uses her voice to champion many causes, but the manner in which she does it, Mr. Speaker, is questionable.
“Mr. Speaker, interestingly enough, following the MP for Englerston’s abrupt departure from this House, an entire media blitz ensued, with the aim of discrediting your stance taken here in this Honorable House. You were not wrong Mr. Speaker, in fact, House Rules clearly indicate that you were well within your rights,” added Parker-Edgecombe.
“Mr. Speaker, as members of the opposite and by extension, their party, just a few months ago refused to have the MP for Englerston speak at their convention. It is amazing how, at this point in time, they are all about asking why she was unable to speak. They should have asked that question a long time ago.
“Mr. Speaker, where was the media blitz then? Where were members of the opposite, who wanted to win at any cost during the last election? The way that they are dealing with this, Mr. Speaker, is usually going on all of the time.”
She added the contention that ultimately ensued, is a tactic that the side opposite intentionally sought to accomplish, in an attempt to blind side matters affecting the progression of the government’s intentions for the country.
“They (opposition) find ways, Mr. Speaker, to distract the Bahamian populous, but distraction we will not allow. Mr. Speaker, they may try and distort what took place as much as they like, but the Bahamian populous is more than aware that members opposite will try just about anything to discredit what this current administration embarks upon, and to wreak havoc for no other reason, than to be disruptive.
“Try as they may Mr. Speaker, we are all onto their public relation (PR) tactics and deceptive measures. This is no longer the PLP’s House; this is the peoples’ House and the peoples’ business will be taken care of,” Parker-Edgecombe declared.
“Mr. Speaker, this is no time for temper tantrums or smoke screens, nor can we slow down our pace for those crying wolf. Instead, Mr. Speaker, we cry shame on members opposite, for continuously wasting our time and that of the Bahamian people with fancy PR strategies and make believe stories.
“The time has come Mr. Speaker, for order in this House and you, Mr. Speaker, remain on the right path in doing just that,” stated the West Grand Bahama and Bimini MP.
Parker-Edgecombe expressed her respect for the Speaker of the House and the way in which he conducts business in the House, where order and respect must be upheld at all times.
“As a newcomer to the political arena, Mr. Speaker I consider myself, having gained the trust and confidence of the majority of voters in West Grand Bahama and Bimini, some eight and a half months ago. I must admit, however, that the past few months has been both rewarding and challenging as a newbie in this Honorable House, as well as outside the confines of this chamber.
“I have witnessed numerous points of order, debates and motions being brought and seconded, bills being tabled and so on and so on. I have experienced laughter and yes, I have shed a tear or two. This House, Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding an occasional outburst here and there, is an honorable place.
“It is a place in which we all ought to be mindful of how we conduct ourselves. There has to be respect of and towards each other and the understanding that we are all elected to serve, and that no one person is any more important than the next.
“What each and every one of us has to offer is significant in the scheme of things as we work towards a better country. We are all here using our voices to bring to the forefront; the plight of our constituents with the aim of ensuring that they are all represented well, their stories told and their concerns addressed. I say that to say Mr. Speaker, that while all of us in here have a role to play, yours is an arduous task. With the many personalities and voices that you are subject to familiarizing yourself with and hearing, Mr. Speaker I sometimes wonder how you get it done.
“On entering this chamber for the first time and witnessing you walk through those doors I was in complete awe. I saw your stature, as one of strength and humility. The Speaker’s robe was made for you, sir; you wear it well and conduct yourself quite exemplary while in it.”
Parker-Edgecombe concluded her address stating, “West Grand Bahama and Bimini supports your decision Mr. Speaker and we say, ‘Carry on.”