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Barbados opposition walks out of Parliament, calls for Speaker to recuse himself

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OPPOSITION LEADER MIA MOTTLEY TOLD A NEWS CONFERENCE THAT “IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE SPEAKER SHOULD NOT BE IN THE CHAIR UNTIL THESE MATTERS ARE RESOLVED.

Opposition legislators Tuesday walked out of the Parliament demanding that the Speaker Michael Carrington not preside over the legislature until a court matter in which he is involved is settled.

Opposition Leader Mia Mottley told a news conference that “it is our view that the Speaker should not be in the chair until these matters are resolved.

“The Barbados Labour Party …position is very clear. The Speaker ought to recuse himself from the Chair until this matter is resolved,” she said, noting that anytime the Deputy Speaker is in the Chair, the opposition legislators would remain.

“Until this issue is resolved we believe that the Speaker of the House should not seek to hold the Chair and that he should recuse himself until such time as this matter is resolved either by the Committee of Privileges one way,” she said adding that most “Barbadians have come to their own judgment on this matter”.

During last week’s sitting, Leader of Opposition Business Santia Bradshaw brought the issue of Carrington’s professional conduct before the House. At the time, the Speaker recused himself.

A High Court judge has ruled that Carrington has to repay a client more than BDS$200,000 (One BDS Dollar =US$0.50 cents) received for payment of land.

Mottley said the Committee of Privileges had its first meeting on the issue on Monday “but there is a feeling that the dignity of parliament is offended when we continue to act as if nothing has happened.

“This is not a newspaper report on which we are acting. This is a judgment of the High Court and this is not any ordinary member. This is the Speaker of the House, who in fact leads the Chamber and who was traditionally the King or Queen’s representative in the Chamber”.

Mottley told reporters “in the circumstances we feel that the dignity of Parliament is offended if we do not appear to act as a standard that the country and the people of the country have made clear that they expect us to act with”.

The Opposition Leader said this is not a case of anybody owing money, “this is a case of fundamental trust and the Speaker’s Chair is one in which there is also need for us to have fundamental trust”.

She said the Speaker is entitled to have his matter heard before the Committee of Privileges “but the standard we expect from the Speaker is a higher standard and in fact our own Standing Orders don’t even contemplate that anybody else should be chairman of the Committee of Privileges other than the Speaker”.

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