The Opposition Barbados Labour Party is taking steps to censure the Speaker of the House Michael Carrington.
The announcement came from the Leader of Opposition Business in Parliament, Kerrie Symmond, during a Press conference at the end of yesterday’s sitting.
“We feel that the rights of the people cannot be curtailed in a light manner, or in a whimsical, arbitrary manner,” he said.
The action comes after a series of tussles in the House of Assembly, as Parliament debated a number of resolutions.
Symmonds noted that while he was making a point “on behalf of the people of Barbados, with respect to the very critical institution that is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Leader of the Opposition and I both experienced a situation in which, and I give you my own example . . . . At one point I was not even allowed to complete a sentence, which was only an effort to clarify a situation and put a case on behalf of the people I represent.”
Flanked by his parliamentary colleagues, which included St Joseph MP, Dale Marshall and Christ Church West MP, Maria Agard, the St. James Central MP deemed such an approach as “undesirable” and said the Opposition would be taking a principled decision and taking the matter to the Parliament.
“[B]y way of a motion of censure against his Honour, the Speaker, Mr Michael Carrington. I have this evening signed the resolution for it to be transmitted and filed and therefore we will be anticipating that very early in the New Year this is a matter that will attract that attention of parliament and again the country.
“It is a matter that we regret having to have had to come to this point, but it is a principled position that has been taken by the Opposition in view of the difficulties that we have been experiencing,” Symmonds said.
Under the Westminster system of Government, a motion of censure is a resolution that is debated in a similar vein as one of no confidence. However, what the Opposition is asking the House to do is reprimand the Speaker for what they say is the manner in which he presides over debates in the House of Assembly.
Former Attorney General Dale Marshall noted that since Carrington was elected to that position in 2008, this is not the first time that Opposition members have felt, what he termed, a bitter whip in terms of his various rulings.
“On those previous occasions, as difficult as they were for us, we felt that he was a new speaker and we gave him the opportunity to grow into his office; but the times that Barbados have faced in our last Parliament are very, very different than the times that we are facing now.
“Now more than ever, the Opposition needs to be able within the bounds of decency and reasonableness to speak to the issues that, not only affect our constituents but all Barbadians. We are not trying to stonewall anybody, we are not trying to hijack the parliamentary process,” he stressed. (RG)