St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Speaker of the National Assembly has defended his decision to eject Opposition Senator Nigel Carty from the Parliament during last week’s Budget sitting.
"I invite members of public to view the video footage of the incident and judge for themselves whether or not the Senator laughed at me as I gave my ruling," Senator Perkins said, speaking to WINN FM on Thursday.
Senator Carty has said that he was laughing at a statement made by the Prime Minister and Member for Number Seven. Speaker Perkins however, insists that the Senator was looking directly at him as he was speaking, when he laughed.
Mr. Perkins points out that the video shows clearly that at the point where he intervened, the Senator sat down and looked directly at him as he was challenging his (Carty’s) choice of wording in reference to a matter pertaining to the DPP."
"I too have a concern with the usage of the term 'the dragging of the DPP out of office,' the Speaker told Mr. Carty.
It was at that point, that the Senator laughed out loud, turning his head at the same time in the direction of his Opposition colleague Konris Maynard, who was seated on his left.
Mr. Perkins ruled that Mr. Carty had laughed at him, which under Standing Order 49 (2) he considered "grossly disorderly," and he ordered the Senator to leave Parliament for the rest of the day’s sitting.
The ejection came in the wake of the Speaker issuing a stern warning to the House the day before that he would not be tolerating any disrespect to the Chair, a lot of which he said he had experienced and tolerated before.
The Opposition has charged that the Senator’s ejection from the House last Thursday (December 8, 2016) was another example of a history of bias on the part of the Speaker, dating back to his time as Deputy Speaker.
They explained that they had met with the former Speaker Mr. Franklin Brand to discuss their concerns, but had been told that it wasn’t clear if they should be addressing them to him, or directly to Mr. Perkins who was the Deputy at the time.
They charge that their concerns fell on deaf ears when Mr. Perkins became the Speaker and they raised the matter with him in the Parliament.
Mr. Perkins vehemently denied this when speaking to WINN on Thursday. He says that what he had told them during the Parliament was that there was a formal process through which an MP could challenge a ruling or decision by the Speaker. He explained that what he had done was direct them to follow the formal process which allows for any Member to challenge or have a review of any ruling, through "a substantive motion made after notice."
Mr Perkins indicated that the Opposition Members choose not to follow the rules of the House, instead going to public and making statements which he asserts are, “a misrepresentation of the facts, or simply false.”
The Opposition this week filed a Motion of No Confidence in the Speaker, charging continued bias toward them on is part. The Leader of Government Minister MP Eugene Hamilton has indicated that the Motion would be heard first thing in the New Year.
"I can assure you that that Motion, properly filed, will be heard. We have had Parliament at least once every month, and so as long as there’s Parliament scheduled for January, we will hear it.”
Minister Hamilton said if it was necessary, a sitting of Parliament would be held especially to hear the Motion.
The video clip of the exchange between the speaker and the Senator is now posted on WINN FM's Facebook page.