This week in the House of Assembly, Speaker Halson Moultrie conducted himself in a manner outside of the dignity of the High Office. Just how much out of order he was is debatable.
However, even supporters of the Free National Movement, including some past MPs from the party, reportedly were unsettled by the personal references the Speaker made in trying to defend his suspension from the House of the sitting Member for Englerston, Glenys Martin-Hanna.
Speaker Moultrie’s defense was virtually a none-too-subtle attack against those who disagreed with his decision to toss Hanna-Martin. When the remaining three PLP members, Leader Philip Davis, Chester Cooper and Picewell Forbes determined that they did not want to hear any more of the hard-hitting comments from the chair, they politely got up, paid their respect to the Speaker, and walked out.
They also were suspended.
It was not a good day for the Speaker.
The outpouring of praise from the governing side, did nothing to alter the strong views held on the outside of the House of Assembly against how the Speaker acted. If anything, it contributed to the view held by many, that it was planned for the Speaker to go into his broadside attack and suspend the lot, if they acted up.
Well, walking out of the House was all it took for the Speaker to do to Hanna-Martin’s colleagues, what he had done to her at the previous sitting. In the aftermath, Speaker Moultrie has been criticized, not only for his general attack, considered by many, unbecoming of a Speaker, but also for the saucy insinuations.
In essence, the Speaker succeeded in enabling the PLP to get a lot of sympathy from across the land. Indeed, it appears, based on multiple comments about the issue, the PLP got a bounce in popularity.
Speaker Halson Moultrie has been able to achieve what PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell, former chairman Bradley Roberts and leader Davis had been seeking to do since the terrible beating received on May 10 of last year. With Moultrie, functioning the way he did on Wednesday, it is likely that many of the great numbers who voted against the PLP during the general elections of 2017, will now turn their backs on the FNM.
At the moment, Moultrie is not good for the FNM.
He needs to do whatever is necessary to swiftly get this matter behind him. As we expressed in this space earlier this week, he has brought himself to the center of a controversy, unlike ever by any of his predecessors.
He has brought the dignity, and credibility of the Speaker’s Chair, into question.