St. John’s — After a week of silence, Governor General Dame Louise Lake-Tack used the airwaves to clarify what she considers to be a disrespectful act by the authorities in convening the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Assembly in Parliament building.
In an unprecedented move, Dame Louise called in to OBSERVER Radio’s Sunday Big Issues programme charging that Parliament was desecrated when the authorities removed the mace, Queen’s image, national flag and laws of Antigua & Barbuda from the premises to accommodate the proceedings of the regional assembly.
The mace, which represents royal authority and prestige in the Westminister system, was replaced with a mace specifically designed for use at the OECS assembly.
In her reproach, Dame Louise specifically identified Speaker of the House of Representatives D Gisele Isaac, who, a week ago, said the shrines were removed because the event was a regional one and not national.
However, the governor general, a former magistrate, said her stance against the removal of the trappings, is supported by Section 27 of the constitution.
“I will refer you to our constitution section 27 where it says Establishment and Composition of Parliament. Section 2 says quite clearly, there shall be a parliament in and for Antigua & Barbuda which shall constitute of Her Majesty, a Senate and House of Representatives, it does not say about any other.
“What the devil is wrong with our national flag that it should be removed from our building, the mace and the laws of Antigua & Barbuda to accommodate any other assembly?
“Section 27 says it shall consist of Her Majesty, the Senate and the House of Representatives and it went on to say who would sit in the Senate and who should sit in the House of Representatives,” Dame Louise said.
She then laced in on Isaac who, while a guest on Big Issues, repeated the position she stated a week ago, that the governor general was not snubbed in her absence at the regional event.
“When Ms Isaac said no disrespect for the governor general she was very, very far from the truth. I want this nation to know she was very, very far. They came out in defence because they probably thought the people would ask of the absence of the governor general on that day, so they made sure they came out with a defence but it is not true to say the governor general was not disrespected,” the governor general said. (Antigua Observer)