Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn walked out of this morning’s joint sitting of Parliament after objecting to the nomination of Governor General Dame Sandra Mason as Barbados’ first President on Independence Day.
He made his objection known after Speaker of the House Arthur Holder read a letter at the sitting, which is underway at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, from Prime Minister Mia Mottley who had advised that she and Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley had jointly nominated Dame Sandra to replace Queen Elizabeth II as Barbados’ Head of State.
After reading the October 12, 2021 correspondence to the joint Parliamentary sitting, Holder asked whether any member of either House had an objection to the candidate being declared.
At that point, Senator Franklyn stood.
“I have an objection, Mister Speaker,” he said.
The Speaker replied: “In accordance with the Constitution, I am therefore suspending this sitting.
Both Houses of Parliament subsequently split to meet in separate rooms to cast secret ballots on the matter.
However, when voting began in the Senate, Franklyn raised yet another objection – this time about the ballots.
“This document has no validity. It comes from nowhere,” he shouted.
“I have deemed it to be valid,” President of the Senate Reginald Farley responded.
“You cannot deem something to be valid that has no constitutional or legislative basis, Sir,” Franklyn retorted. “You will not treat me this way today. I will not stand for it. You will have to put me out.”
The Senator insisted that he be heard and when the Senate President said his concern had been noted, Franklyn said his concern had not been addressed.
He repeated his position that “this document has no validity. It comes from nowhere”.
“Somebody make up this last night after I told people get things in place cause I gine object. So ya rush and do this. I didn’t want to surprise anybody, ya know. I told everybody that this gine happen to show you that the nonsense that we did in the House and the Senate last time when we passed the Constitution Amendment Act, there are no rules!” he added.
However, Farley indicated that the Parliament makes its own rules for voting.
Franklyn refused to sit and after being warned he was bordering on contempt, he sought leave to exit and did so when leave was granted.
Voting is continuing.