The Opposition Barbados Labour Party now appears to be satisfied with the manner in which Michael Carrington functions as Speaker of the House of Assembly.
In a sudden about-turn, the Opposition has withdrawn a motion of censure brought in December against the St Michael West MP that was critical of the way he dispenses his duties in the Lower House.
Barbados TODAY understands the motion was withdrawn by Opposition Leader Mia Mottley prior to today’s resumption of the House of Assembly after the Christmas recess.
At a Press conference last month, Leader of Opposition Business in Parliament, Kerrie Symmonds, charged that the rights of the people were being curtailed in a “light, whimsical and arbitrary” manner during sittings of the Lower House. Symmonds said then that Carrington had prevented him from completing a sentence when he sought to clarify a situation and put a case on behalf of his constituents.
“By way of a motion of censure against his Honour, the Speaker, Mr Michael Carrington. I have this evening signed the resolution for it to be transmitted and filed and therefore we will be anticipating that very early in the New Year this is a matter that will attract that attention of Parliament and again the country.
“It is a matter that we regret having to have had to come to this point, but it is a principled position that has been taken by the Opposition in view of the difficulties that we have been experiencing,” Symmonds said then.
The St James Central MP, who was accompanied by all Opposition MPs, with the exception of former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, described Carrington’s approach as “undesirable” and said the BLP’s motion was asking the House to reprimand him for what they said was the manner in which he presided over debates in the House of Assembly.
Marshall alleged at the time that since Carrington was selected as Speaker in 2008 it was not the first time that Opposition members had felt “a bitter whip” in terms of his various rulings.
“On those previous occasions, as difficult as they were for us, we felt that he was a new Speaker and we gave him the opportunity to grow into his office; but the times that Barbados have faced in our last Parliament are very, very different than the times that we are facing now. Now more than ever, the Opposition needs to be able within the bounds of decency and reasonableness to speak to the issues that, not only affect our constituents, but all Barbadians. We are not trying to stonewall anybody, we are not trying to hijack the parliamentary process,” Marshall said then.
Last July a ruling on a matter involving Mottley and the Speaker prompted a walkout by the Opposition amid accusations of his lack of fairness and impartiality.
Government later moved a motion seeking to have comments related to the Carrington/Mottley issue that appeared in the Press referred to the Committee of Privileges.
However, this move was defeated by ten votes to nine by the Opposition. Carrington noted then that he always carried out his duties as Speaker in a “fair” manner and if the time came when he felt he could not function that way he would resign.
Today when pressed for a possible reason why the motion of censure against Carrington had been withdrawn by the Opposition, a member of the Lower House described it as “frivolous in the first place”.