OPINION: Speaker Watt is a growing threat to Parliamentary Democracy

Speaker and Asot in Parliament

OPINION Speaker Watt is a growing threat  to Parliamentary Democracy

By Jonathan Walter

The rampaging bias of Speaker of the Antigua and Barbuda Parliament Gerald Watt against Asot Michael in particular and members of the Opposition in general, is an existential threat to parliamentary democracy that requires urgent national attention.

His conduct in presiding over proceedings of the House make it increasingly clear that he has absolutely no interest in honoring the Constitutional responsibility to serve without fear or favour; affection or ill-will.

The sole interest of this hate filled and enraged octogenarian is in using the authority of the Speaker as a weapon of discrimination and oppression against Members who do not support Gaston Browne.

On May 18th, 2023 he was at it again, savagely breaching the constitutional rights of St Peter MP Asot Michael to fairness and natural justice with an unlawful suspension from the Parliament.

What does Watt intend to achieve with this is outrageous, unparliamentary behavior? He has to go… he is damaging the integrity of parliamentary conduct and procedure in this country… I am sick and tired of seeing duly elected representatives of the people victimized in the course of carrying out their parliamentary duties by an angry, spiteful Speaker grinding axes for his political preferences. And it is time for the people who elect representatives to parliament to do something about it.

Rule 43 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House provide that “It shall be out of order to use offensive and insulting language about Members of the House or to threaten a Member.

The Prime Minister and the Attorney General repeatedly breached rule 43 (3) in highly offensive references to MP Michael that imputed improper motives, accused him of dishonorable behavior and threatened him with hardship, suffering and pain.

Speaker Watt allowed these flagrant breaches of the Standing Orders and the vile, savagery of the sustained attack on the duly elected Member for St Peter.

When Asot Michael decided it was time to draw the Speaker’s attention to the injustices unrelentingly directed at him, Watt responded with the trademark hostility of a bully and abused the authority of his office to shut down the victim and dismiss him from the House.

I fully expect the MP Michael will take legal action against the Speaker for serious violation of his constitutionally protected right to fairness, due process and the protection of law.

Enough is now too much.

By the way, it was not Asot Michael who said “to hell with the Constitution”. It was the sitting Attorney General in the PLM administration of George Walter between 1971 and 1976 who repeatedly sent our supreme law to hell while terrorizing police officers and citizens alike.

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  1. Totally in agreement with you Jonathan.

    I recently highlighted the same said bias when I mentioned that the Prime Minister has time and time again breached Rule 43 (3) of the Standing Orders of the House and nothing was done.

    As the saying goes (in Gaston’s case):

    “Rules for thee, but not for me …”

    Mr Watts is not fit for purpose and must step down forthwith, because everyone else can see his blatant partisanship in favour of the ABLP.

  2. Speaker of the House needs to retire, stay at home in his rocking chair and let his grandchildren take care of him. Why he wants to work forever for? Enquiring minds would like to know.

  3. The speaker needs to understand the spirit of his role.
    Effectively the speaker ihas prevented the people of the St Peter’s constituency from participating in the democratic process.

    The speaker should accept it is not about him and the less he inserts himself the better.

  4. Gaston repeatedly threatened Asot in Parliament with the UK “crime agency” meaning the government intended to send Asot to the UK to be prosecuted, and Gerry Watt did nothing to stop that behavior. If Asot had called Gaston “Mr. Odebrecht” in Parliament, Gerry would not have tolerated that. Gerry Watt is biased.

    • The UK crime agency wants him to answer what does odebrecht has to do with this? Smh
      Y’all so want asot money …..smh

  5. Not only is speaker watt a growing threat to Parliamentary Democracy, I believe that speaker watt and the present administration is a threat to democracy.

  6. Everyone can see he is bias. He treats the PM and his administration different than other parliament leaders. He uses a different tone when he talks to the PM and members of his administration then. It’s obvious he is bias and favor the PM. He needs to step down but if he does Pussy Salad will take over and it will be the same biasness. This politics thing is the devils’ works they can continue to play their games cause at the end of the day the regular people still suffer.

    One thing not in relation to this subject but why does the PM office have dress code for visitors when it only apply to dark skin people? I at times seen them white woman come in with shorts and sphagetti tank tops and they greet and let them in with a smile but hey when you white and have money to manipulate things you can do as you please in Antigua and live by different rules than the dark skin people.

  7. Speaker Watts is a menace to democracy. He demonstrated biases and supports ALP members’ misbehaviour on a a monumental level.
    He is not fit to hold the position to manage the house and therefore he should resigned from the position.
    Asot and his constituents should make their voices heard outside Parliament for as long as Asot is barred from representing his constituents in Parliament.
    UPP members should check themselves and reflect on their actions that they gave to the Speaker and ALP with victimising Asot. A United front is what’s needed to expose ALP corruption.

  8. Forget about the bias exhibited by the speaker of the house, let’s look at the fact that the speaker is at least 100 years old !! I’m being funny 😁 here but he’s old and grumpy and miserable there is obviously something going on with the speaker, and we seem dumbfounded!!
    People it’s called Old Age 🙄
    It’s time for him to retire, and give a younger independent person to
    Do that job!!
    Geeeez, it’s that simple People!!
    He’s a grumpy old man 👴

  9. I can recall this speaker as Antigua’s most brilliant lawyer. In that case against Hillary Humpherys and the Barbuda sand. His arguments were brilliant. The corrupt court then listened to a appeal hearing. He argued that it was illegal and that Humpherys should be sent to Prison and appeal from there like any other prisoner. I find it heartbreaking to see him ending up what could have been a great Antiguan into a string puppet. It started with him presiding over a no ink election, then wrongfully blaming the UPP government. He turned colors and aligned himself with the GB lead administration and was awarded Speaker of the House of Representatives. He started not too badly but has grown into a one sided and bias speaker to the point that lead to Assot suspension. I am no fan of Assot period. However, the speaker allowed the abuse for hours. A human can only take so much and this and led to Assot loosing his temper and control. His disrespect to the speaker was brought on by the speaker allowing him to be abused. So if there is anyone that needs to be forgiven for disrespecting our parliament is Assot. You cannot expect to back the best of us into a corner and don’t except retaliation, much less to a boisterous Assot. The Speaker have been treating the leader of the opposition the very same. Sometimes he himself seems to be leading the way as the APLP main attack dog.
    I have seen many greats stay around to do tremendous damages to their past achievements. Lots of sports men and women are guilty of this fact. Staying around until they have to be dragged off to salvage something.
    It is time for the speaker to hang up his belt before nothing is left to salvage.

  10. The question is, what can we the people do about this? There are too many instances now where this ALP government and cronies continue to cause this once quiet county endless consternation. The fact remains, people voted for this to continue and it would not be surprising if we have no recourse. The power of the people could have been expressed on January 18th, but alas, people took bribes, many civil servants are compromised, and when selfishness reigns, men will do anything to protect their little “things’ even if it means blocking the dictates of their conscience.
    There is nothing really honorable about parliament or most of the people who disgrace the once honorable house. Yet, why are we surprised. Just have a look at Cutie Benjamin, Gaston Browne and Pussy Salad. The epitome of corruption. Hey, it is what it is, and those who voted for them, made it so.

    • Here here @ Watching and @ Frankly Speaking, again I concur with every word and syllable … 👏

  11. Gerry Watt is the 18th Candidate in the House.Go Home Gerry and enjoy what ever time you have left on Earth.Remember power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  12. The article reminds that Watt is indeed doing a great job. Yeah the writer has an axe to grind that blinds him but he is actually speaking about D. Isaac. Could not help Isaac who long voiced she dances only with the party who put her there. Recall the months she would place opposition members on suspension for doing things that once could clearly see she was biased (GB, Chet Green..). Watt in opposite to her has taken time to train opposition members (wasted his time). Recall him though not required by law, giving Pringle more time to speak than government members. Recall him advocating for better office faculties for the leader of the opposition. Unfortunately AM enjoys playing bad boy. Even when a ABLP member the speaker had to often chastise him (eg reading his presentation). Based on AM performance the suspension should extend beyond 3 sittings

    • “Could not help Isaac who long voiced she dances only with the party who put her there. ”
      should say
      “Isaac long voiced she dances only with the party who put her there. “

  13. TENMAN,please tell your Siamese twin Gaston Browne.The airline known as Air Peace does not fly to the USA. He did say so in the Parliament,last week.That Air PEACE DID FLY THERE.

    • @Wharf- Yes he did say so and was wrong (a mistake). Other than Nigeria and some African countries I see they fly to China, India, Israel. Please note the US has not demanded his extradition.

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