Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 28, 2016 (SKNIS): Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, the Honourable Michael Perkins, had tolerated much of the cross talking from both sides on the debate on the Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2016, in the Sitting of the National Assembly yesterday (April 27), but it was the Opposition Senator Honourable Nigel Carty who drew the Speaker’s ire for going too far with what he considered “gross disorder” to the Chair.
When Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris rose to his feet to wrap up the debate on the Income Tax (Amendment) (No.2) Bill, 2016, Senator Carty interrupted the prime minister several times accusing the deputy speaker of not allowing him to speak which prompted Deputy Speaker Perkins to take a stand.
“The honourable senator (Wendy Phipps) finished her presentation. There was a distinct pause. I waited. I made sure I looked. The honourable prime minister rose to present. Then you the honourable senator opposite rose. I have found in the past that there seems to be a sort of, for the want of a better term, a sort of cat and mouse thing which I’m not going to allow and so I recognize the honourable prime minister,” Deputy Speaker Perkins said in response to Senator Carty’s accusation.
However, Senator Carty continued incessantly to interrupt which provoked the Deputy Speaker to read the “Riot Act”.
“I am on my feet. I am speaking,” he said three times. “I am on my feet and if there’s another word from anyone while I’m on my feet, I’m going to apply the standing order which deals with such a situation,” while proceeding to read Standing Order 49.2 which states:
“The Speaker or the Chairman shall order any member whose conduct is grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately from the National Assembly during the remainder of the day’s sitting and may direct such steps to be taken as are required to enforce this standing order.”
The deputy speaker added: “And on that note, if the senator, if you persist honourable member, senator opposite, in this cross-talk any further during the wrap-up, I would consider that to be grossly disorderly and would apply this standing order to you. You are warned.”
The deputy speaker also read Standing Order 48 which speaks to rulings of the speaker under the caption “Responsibility for Order in The National Assembly and in Committee” which states:
“The Speaker in the National Assembly and the Chairperson in Committee shall be responsible for the observance of the rules of order in the National Assembly and Committee respectively and their decision upon any point of order shall not be reviewed by the National Assembly except upon a substantive motion made after notice.”
“This is pellucid. I don’t think we should be going over this point over and over again,” the deputy speaker said.
However, Senator Carty continued in his behaviour, which impelled the deputy speaker to speak to him again.
“I clearly indicated that if there is any further interruption that I would apply a particular standing order…I am again, this is the last warning. I am going to allow the honourable prime minister to wrap up and because it’s a wrap up, I’m not going to allow any cross talk. That is my ruling,” Deputy Speaker Perkins retorted.
Senator Carty persisted in defying the rulings of the Deputy Speaker which pressed the Deputy Speaker to ask him to leave the hallowed chamber.
“I just made a ruling and it has come to my attention that the honourable senator uttered words to the effect that I’m a dictator. Senator Carty under rule 47 (2), I consider that statement that I’m a dictator to be grossly disorderly and I’m asking you to leave the assembly immediately,” said the deputy speaker, while adding that “I would further indicate that I would deal with the behaviour of the Senator Carty at a later date and I will defer my way of dealing it for a later date.”
Senator picked up his belongings and stormed out of the Parliament shouting “I never made that statement.”