‘I fell short’
Dr. William Duguid is feeling sorry. The Opposition Christ Church West MP today apologised to constituents and all Barbadians for his controversial “outburst” aimed at Minister of Health Donville Inniss in the House of Assembly on Tuesday.
But the Barbados Labour Party member, who also announced he would “tender a similar apology” to Parliament when it next sat, said he had been provoked by comments made by “a Democratic Labour Party parliamentarian”, which “constituted the gravest possible insult to my wife and to my children”.
Supported by Deputy Leader of the Opposition Dale Marshall, and BLP colleagues St. Michael North East MP Mia Mottley, and St. Thomas MP Cynthia Forde, Duguid made his brief statement of apology this morning in the Opposition’s office at Parliament.
Saying from the outset that Duguid would not be taking questions on the matter, Marshall said “the members of the Parliamentary group stand in full solidarity with Dr. Duguid”.
Duguid, who previously announced that after two consecutive terms as Christ Church representative he would not be seeking re-election in the upcoming general election, said he “fell far short” of the traditions and standards long held by Barbados’ Parliament and BLP MPs and had disappointed Barbadians.
“The Parliament of Barbados, the third oldest in the Commonwealth, has a rich and proud heritage. The Barbados Labour Party has steadfastly followed our Parliament’s noble traditions and over the years we have distinguished ourselves by our exemplary conduct as Members of Parliament,” he said.
“On Tuesday the 20 of November I fell far short of those traditions and standards. During that sitting I made an outburst, which I instantly regretted, and for which I now humbly apologise. I apologise to my constituents and to the wider Barbadian public.
“That outburst was the result of the most grievous of provocations which came from the mouth of a Democratic Labour Party parliamentarian. It would be improper of me to repeat the insulting words used, but I will say that they constituted the gravest possible insult to my wife and to my children.
“Notwithstanding that, I now humbly apologise to my constituents and to the wider Barbadian public. No matter the provocation, I am certain that they must all be disappointed in me,” Duguid added. Tuesday’s controversial outburst in the Lower House came during the post lunch session of debate on a $614,000 supplementary resolution for the National Summer Camp Programme.
Presiding officer at the time, Chairman of Committees James Paul told Duguid he had “breached in a very significant manner the rules of the House” and did not allow him to continue with his speech. Additionally, he ruled that the section of his presentation related to Inniss, who is St. James South MP “all be struck from the record”.
“The other thing is too I am very disappointed in terms of the conduct of members … knowing full well the rules of the House. This pattern of behaviour is certainly not acceptable. We are under scrutiny by members of the public in which we are asked to uphold a certain standard of behavior as parliamentarians,” Paul said.
“We cannot persist with these types of behaviour and give the impression to members of the public that the House of Assembly has descended into an environment in which people say to each other what they feel, and that is unfortunate. I really believe that that kind of behaviour is unacceptable.” Paul also said he reserved taking “further actions”. (SC)