The decision by Speaker of the House Michael Carrington to recuse himself from presiding over Parliament yesterday has got the nod from political scientist Peter Wickham who said he expects it to be “a very intriguing time politically” for the ruling Democratic Labour Party.
Peter Wickham pointed out that while there were no grounds for the Speaker to resign, Carrington had acted “honourably” when he withdrew from the sitting.
Carrington, an attorney-at-law, gave way to his deputy St John MP Mara Thompson, after newly elected Leader of Opposition Business in the House Santia Bradshaw pressed him to explain the circumstances surrounding a publicized legal dispute between him and one
of his clients.
“I do not think there is anything we can do to force the Speaker to go. I do not believe that legally there is a requirement on his part,” Wickham told Barbados TODAY.
“It’s really a moral issue and certainly the Speaker’s decision to step aside from the chair for the time being suggests, I think, that he is on the right side of the moral code for the time being. So I certainly want to congratulate the Speaker for taking the moral high ground in relation to that position.”
While Wickham does not envisage any major fallout for the Speaker, he cautioned that Carrington may have to stay away from the Lower Chamber until the issue was cleared up.
“Having stepped aside on moral grounds it is very difficult for you to resume your role until such time as there is some final settlement in the High Court,” he said.
But the political scientist argued that this could create political intrigue in the DLP-led House of Assembly.
“The situation when the Speaker is not in the chair, which obtained before the House went into committee, will now apply pretty much on an ongoing basis, where the Speaker is not a position to vote. It means that the casting vote of the person in the chair will become even more critical and we have to ask ourselves whether every single member of the Democratic Labour Party will be in the House and on the floor voting on each occasion, so it is a very intriguing time politically for them,” he said.
The Committee of Privileges will now determine what, if any action, would be taken against Carrington. However, Wickham said it remained to be seen how it would be handled since the parliamentary body appeared not be functioning.
“The thing that concerns me is that the Privileges Committee has not exactly been the most efficient in the past. I think they took quite a bit of time before they started to look at Dr Estwick’s issue,” he said, referring to a previous disciplinary matter involving the St Philip West MP and parliamentary representative for St Joseph Dale Marshall.
“I don’t even know if they have started that already.”