Categorized | Featured, National News

Speaker Warns Minnis


House Speaker Dr. Kendall Major told reporters outside Parliament yesterday that if the Opposition leader comes back to the House of Assembly (HOA) on August 7th with the same disruptive attitude as yesterday, then he could be removed from the chambers.

Yesterday, Dr. Minnis abruptly interrupted Golden Gates Member of Parliament Shane Gibson as he was about to make his contribution to the Stem Cell Therapy debate.

The Free National Movement (FNM) leader, after being told repeatedly to take his seat, forced the house speaker to suspend the House for about 10 minutes.

When it resumed, the speaker adjourned the debate until Wednesday, August 7th.

Last week the speaker put a gag order on the opposition leader after he failed to withdraw statements implicating that Prime Minister Perry Christie was moving with haste to pass stem cell legislation so as to pay back a debt his party owes to Peter Nygard for funding their 2012 election campaign.

While the speaker said he would hope the leader withdraws his statement, Dr. Minnis said he would not do so because he is the voice of the Opposition and will not be silenced.

During a press conference immediately after Parliament was adjourned Dr. Minnis said, “My remarks on the matter were expunged from the record of the House by the speaker. The speaker, having expunged my comments, sought to have me withdraw them. I have no idea how I can withdraw comments that no longer exist.”

“Mr. Nygard is reported to have said that he has already expended some $5 million on the development of stem cell research in The Bahamas. We have no idea how much of that $5 million went to the PLP.”

The FNM leader also quoted an affidavit sworn by Mr. Nygard on April 2nd, 2012 filed in the Magistrate’s court saying, “In addition, I am one of the major backers of Opposition Leader Perry Christie and his PLP party. An election is expected to be held soon….I am a major PLP financial contributor who is associated by the public with the PLP.”

The house speaker said that if when the house resumes on August 7th Dr. Minnis refuses to cooperate, action would have to be taken.

“If the member were to return to the house and continue to be obstinate, and insistent on doing essentially what he wants, which is anarchy, then of course the member will receive the full brunt of the rules of the house,” he said.

“This means he would be named and ordered to be withdrawn from the chambers for a period of time not exceeding two sitting days. That would be what would happen, but only if the honourable member chooses.”

Leader of Government Business Dr. Bernard Nottage added that, while he hopes it never gets that far, rules are rules.

“I hope that we would have given sufficient time for the matter to be understood by the leader of the Opposition, who doesn’t seem to appreciate the needs for a leader to abide by the rules,” he said.

“I’m hoping that by the next time we come here [to parliament], I hope that he would apologize to the speaker for his disrespect to him. I also hope that he would withdraw the remarks he made, unless he is able to prove them.”

Dr. Minnis said he finds it impossible for him to withdraw remarks that the speaker had already expunged from the record.

He added that even if he could withdraw them, he wouldn’t.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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