The Leadership of the United Progressive Party condemns the recent behaviour of Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin and the clear bias of House Speaker Sir Gerald Watt – which led to the ejection and subsequent “suspension” of St. Peter MP Asot Michael.
The breaches of the Standing Orders – unparliamentary language, threats/intimidation, imputing improper motives – that took place in the sitting of Thursday, May 18, were ignored or overlooked by Sir Gerald and created an environment that was, at best, hostile to MP Michael and, at worst, a naked abuse of power.
The recent political animus between the prime minister and the St. Peter representative is well known. However, we do not believe that it should be played out in the Lower House – especially not by the Government side, whose members continue to appeal for maturity in the conduct of the People’s business.
In this regard, it is noteworthy that, during the Division called for on the Motion to acquire the Cancer Centre, MP Michael voted with the Government. Unfortunately, the prime minister, in particular, could not elevate his behaviour and – despite the Speaker’s earlier caution – persisted in his distasteful conduct.
Therefore, it is unfortunate and unfair that Sir Gerald then chose to victimize MP Michael for his human response to gross provocation.
The UPP’s Leadership does not condone the remarks made by MP Michael since, clearly, we cannot support blatant disrespect of the Speaker or the House. However, we recognize that the Member had been unreasonably pushed to the limit of his tolerance.
Apart from the Division referred to earlier, the Speaker left no room at any time in that sitting for a “No” vote and declared, in every other instance, that “the Ayes have it” – without the benefit of a count.
Accordingly, it is not known which Members of even the Government Bench voted for the fictional suspension of MP Michael.
We say “fictional” because the Standing Orders governing the naming and suspension of a Member were not followed. The Speaker cannot move the motion; and, so, everything that transpired in that rushed procedure is of no effect.
Accordingly, the UPP distances itself from this unfortunate episode in the history of our Parliament and calls upon these senior Members of the Government Bench and the presiding officer to uphold the Rules they promote and allow the House to model the democracy for which we all strive.
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The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
I hold no brief fo Asot, but is the Antiguan parliament immune from legal challenges? Not even in the US could congress or the president not be challenged all the way to the Supreme Court.
It would have been nice if the Opposition Members in the house stood up for right at the time the wrong was being perpetrated upon asot but then again maybe they do not know or understand the stand orders.
I for sure can’t stand Gerald Watt hes a onesided man and hes not a man who as i see not for the opposition. You are not suppose to hold no sides in parlaiment and im clearly seeing this behaviour carried out its is downright wrong parlaiment is no no lo longer living by the rules becacuse of these evil wicked trio Cutie the Pm and old Methuselah Gerald Watt who needs to go sit down or go lay dong in he bed he can hardly walk now. Its wrong i hope something is done quickly get ridda dem outta de place wicked set a people.
Let’s watch these people carefully. It’s not chaos. They know exactly what they’re doing. If at the end of the day the only public response to their actions is disgust or even ridicule, they have accomplished their goal.
Gerald, Cutie, Molwyn, Sir Rodney time to leave this thing alone for real
The enemy of my friend is now my friend and my friend is now my enemy. Can’t believe the UPP defending the ASOT MICHAEL who they were going to jail. The CARIBEARENA TAPES don’t mean shit now. Guess ASOT MICHAEL is no longer a thefing rouge who brutally raped the treasury of our public funds. As long as we oppose ALP we turn a blind eye. Hypocrite much?
@Black Hypocrisy you don’t have far to look, within the ALP the Blue Gastonites has taken over the com-rades positions. The Labourites wanted Winston Williams in jail where is he now? Asot will be leading the com-rades.
Its really funny whenever i mention ASOT MICHAEL and the CARIBARENA TAPES one of you comes with all rebuttal about ALP. Not everybody going to forget that. I won’t forget that Hon Baldwin Spencer stood up the same parliament and told the same ASOT MICHAEL who UPP defending now there is more that one way to bell a cat and he going to pay for raping the treasury. Y’all really a bunch of HYPOCRITES around here. Anything goes as long as its oppose to ALP.
Too little too late. The opposition should have supported MP. Michael then and there. You have a lawyer on your side could he not object and then proceed to seek a legal challenge as to the validity of the standing order rules due to the fact that a vote was not put forward to the floor as to whether anyone objected to the said motion presented on the floor.