||Last Updated: Feb 12, 2018 - 10:41:24 AM
A Speaker should maintain his neutrality in all deliberations within the precinct of the Honourable House of Assembly. It is a tenet of our parliamentary democracy that the holder of this esteemed position must always leave his or her politics out of comments made and make a conscious effort at employing diplomacy in his or her utterances.
The Speaker is the chief mediator in parliamentary debates and ought not to engage in personal attacks. Based on the events of the past week, it appears that the Honourable Speaker does not fully understand his role and the gravity of the position he holds. It is further disappointing that the Speaker has doubled down on his unfortunate statements.
Devoid of political biases and from a vantage point of all objective Bahamian patriots, there is no question that the Speaker was out of line in his utterances last week. The carefully prepared and delivered speech which was obviously endorsed by his Parliamentary colleagues, ushered him on a dangerous voyage to the detriment of our nation.
Our leaders must lead by example and should not only reference the watching eyes of our children as a political rhetoric. In the interest of democracy, the Speaker should apologise to the Parliamentarians and other individuals that were the subject of his distasteful and vitriolic comments.
Over the years under PLP-led and FNM-led administrations, we have witnessed certain Members of Parliament abuse their privilege by making irresponsible comments and attacking private citizens that they have been elected to represent in the House. The victims of this abuse of parliamentary privilege were unable to defend themselves while the records of the House bear witness to unsubstantiated remarks or accusations. The Speaker became the latest member of this infamous club following his attack on former and current civil servants including the former clerk to the House of Assembly.
We submit that the remarks of the Speaker lowered the standard of the Bahamian Parliament and should be expunged from the records of the House of Assembly. Further, serious consideration should be given to reaching an agreement which ensures that the Official Opposition is represented in all debates in the House on matters impacting our commonwealth.
Should the Speaker maintain his unapologetic stance, he should consider whether he ought to retain his position or resign as the Speaker of the House to maintain the honour, respect and integrity of our Parliament. We remind the Speaker and parliamentarians that a dangerous precedent will be set if they do not move to restore order to our Parliament. The Bahamian people are watching, and all eyes are on the Bahamian Parliament.
Arinthia S. Komolafe
Deputy Leader, Democratic National Alliance
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