A monstrous perversion of common sense!
That was the reaction today of Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to Opposition objections to Speaker of the House Michael Carrington continuing in his position amidst a publicized legal dispute with a former client.
In his first statement on the matter, Stuart sided firmly with the embattled Speaker and said he had not heard any member state which privilege Carrington had breached.
The Prime Minister also said he could not understand why the matter was referred to the Committee of Privileges in the first place – an action taken by Deputy Speaker and Government MP Mara Thompson after Carrington recused himself last Tuesday.
“I have not heard it said that the honourable member, in respect of whom that matter was referred, should be prevented from coming to the House, but I’m hearing a lot of fuss now because a newspaper report has said something about your honour in your honour’s private capacity, not in respect of any matter concerning any of the privileges in this House,” the prime minister stated.
“Your honour could easily have been a doctor and if you had a difference with your patient, would that mean that your honour could not sit and preside and be the custodian of the privileges of this House? That is, in my view, a monstrous perversion of common sense. And it certainly has nothing to do with the Standing Orders that guide the proceedings of this house.”
Stuart also had a blasé attitude about the decision by the Opposition to walk out of the sitting.
“If honourable members on the other side want to walk out of the House, they are free to do so. They’ve done it in the past for less than this, so that’s no problem. But if we are in the House and we are being guided by the Standing Orders and we are being respectful of the ancient rights and privileges of the House then we have to subscribe to that code of noblesse oblige (privilege entails responsibility) which should bind all of us,” he added.