Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2016 (SKNIS): Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Michael Perkins, is debunking claims made by Opposition Senator Honourable Nigel Carty, that he Carty did not laugh at him during last Thursday’s (Dec 8) Sitting of the 2017 Budget Debate in Parliament.
Senator Carty was ejected from the Parliament after Speaker Perkins said that Senator Carty laughed at him while he was making a ruling on a point of order, where Senator Carty said that the former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was dragged out of office.
“We continue to lament the dragging of the DPP out of office, dragging of the DPP out of office,” Senator Carty said, before Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris rose on a point of order.
“Mr. Speaker, Mr. Speaker, I mean these kinds of things are really unacceptable Mr. Speaker; point of order Mr. Speaker. Again, the conduct of members, the governor general, members of the National Assembly, judges and all these people can’t be raised except on Motion. For us to be engaged in a matter to do with the DPP is bringing unnecessary scrutiny with respect to the office of the court and the member is going down the wrong way. There was no DPP that was dragged anywhere. Stop that nonsense,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Speaker Perkins then rose to his feet to make a ruling on Dr. Harris’ point of order.
“On that point of order, I too have a concern with the usage of your term ‘the dragging of the DPP out of office,”’ Speaker Perkins said to Senator Carty, at which point Senator Carty burst out laughing. “Ha, ha, ha, ha,” Senator Carty loudly laughed while looking directly at the Speaker, and proceeded to further interrupt the Speaker while he was on his feet still ruling on the point of order.
“Honourable Member, Honourable Member, I have had enough from you. I’m about to rule on a point of order and you chose to laugh at the Speaker. That is totally disrespectful. I’ve warned you repeatedly and we shall not have any more of that. I find your act of laughing at the Speaker is totally and utterly disrespectful and so I am asking you to withdraw from the Assembly for the rest of the day,” Speaker Perkins said. At this point, Senator Carty intervened, seeking to challenge the Speaker on his ruling. “I’m on my feet,” the Speaker said.
Speaker Perkins then read Standing Order 49 (2) which states: “The Speaker or the Chairman shall order any member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the National Assembly during the remainder of the day’s sitting and may direct such steps to be taken as are required to enforce this standing order.”
Senator Carty was asked to withdraw immediately from the National Assembly but further sought to challenge the Speaker, prompting the Speaker to tell him that he would read the other section of the Standing Order to have him removed if he didn’t withdraw forthwith.
“A member rose on a point of order. I was about to rule or I had begun to rule on the point of order and you chose to laugh at what I was saying. I find that to be grossly disorderly,” Speaker Perkins reiterated, while Senator Carty again intervened asking to respond to the Speaker. “No,” said Speaker Perkins to Senator Carty’s request.
“I am asking you to withdraw immediately from the National Assembly for the rest of the day’s sitting,” Speaker Perkins said.
“Speaker, one last time, may I be given one opportunity?” Senator Carty asked while rising to his feet while the Speaker was on his feet, to which the Speaker said “Honourable Member, I am asking you to withdraw immediately,” while Senator Carty continued to ask to respond.
“If you do not withdraw immediately, I will then move to applying another section,” Speaker Perkins said. Meanwhile, Member for Constituency number three, Hon. Konris Maynard, picked up his bags and stormed out of the Assembly, but later returned to gather the belongings of the absent Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas.
Senator Carty eventually packed up and left, shouting that he didn’t laugh at the Speaker, after which Speaker Perkins suspended the House for five minutes.
When the House convened, Speaker Perkins had this to say:
“Honourable Member, before I call on the next presenter, I will just quickly say that I would not like anyone to take the decision I made a few minutes ago in isolation, meaning the particular member who I asked to withdraw from the Assembly. The record would reflect that he has repeatedly disrespected the chair. I warned yesterday that I would not be tolerating anymore of that. Even today, even though I did not respond to certain things, I’ve made notes of things that were happening and on one particular ruling, I heard the honourable member say that was illegal, meaning my ruling was illegal. I’ve noted what I’ve heard him say with respect to my ruling. Clearly, that too was disrespectful and I have been observing, even quietly, a number of things that were going on in the National Assembly. I just want the record to reflect that my decision was not in isolation, but it was a response directly to that particular incident a few minutes ago.”