St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Speaker of Parliament Michael Perkins is accused of being not only biased, but also hostile to the opposition members of the National Assembly.
The allegation’s being made by Labour Party Chairperson, MP Marcella Liburd.
The parliamentarian cites the Speaker’s dismissal of a motion of no confidence brought by the opposition in December, Opposition Leader Denzil Douglas not allowed to speak to the Chinese national Ren Biao controversy during debate on the immigration amendment bill last Tuesday, and the removal from the parliament of Opposition MP Konris Maynard for what the Speaker ruled as disorderly behavior.
Ms Liburd contends that these are examples of the Speaker doing the bidding of the Government side.
“Dr. Douglas couldn’t continue to speak about the Chinese, however, later when Dr. Harris spoke he allowed Dr. Harris to speak about the Chinese matter so clearly the ruling was only for one side and that is what we have to endure in the parliament at every turn whenever parliament is in session. Its either they call a parliament where there is no public debate to shut you up, or when there is a public debate the Speaker comes in to ensure that the opposition does not criticize the government in any way. His job is to protect the government from any criticism and so stifle the opposition. We are saying that this injustice cannot really continue, parliament is supposed to be the bastion of our democracy and we must be free to oppose the government. People voted for us, we are representing our constituents and the country and we must be heard.”
Ms Liburd, speaking on Freedom FM this past week, also took offence with what she said was the opposition being left out of a committee planning for the holding of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in St Kitts and Nevis next month.
“They’re talking about the CPA coming up, a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting next month, yet the Speaker who is in charge of this, puts a committee together to plan this meeting and not even one member of the opposition has been asked to sit on this committee or the opposition has not been asked to nominate anybody at all to sit on the committee, but more than that, we have learnt that someone went to him and said this is not right, someone who supports them you know, you’re doing this the wrong way. You need to put a committee in place that reflects the parliament because it’s a parliamentary meeting and so members of the opposition, at least one member, should be on the committee and of course he has stubbornly refused to do so. So it seems to me that he is even seeming to be hostile to the opposition in this particular way, so what we have now is a trampling of our democratic principles and again we are saying no separation of powers, because clearly we have the lines being blurred between the executive and the parliament.”
WINN FM is seeking a response from the Speaker on the allegations made by MP and Labour Party chairperson Liburd.