Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris lambasted opposition members, whom he referred to as a “bitter club” for some of them not being able to say anything good on the election of the new Speaker.
“I am disappointed that the members opposite could not raise the standard on this occasion. The election of a Speaker to this august body is not a light matter and it is a matter that should be dealt with in a way befitting the high office to which you are now being elevated,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Dr. Harris said that since he has been a Member of Parliament from 1993 never has he “witnessed Members of the Opposition go to the low that those who have walked out have gone on the occasion of the election of a Speaker.”
“Persons would consider it unbecoming that on the election of the Speaker, the House would be divided,” he said. “What that does, is that it gives the Speaker the comfort to know that we’ve come to this post and position with the full support of the Honourable House and I have a solemn duty to exercise fairness even at perhaps a higher level than I have anticipated because I come with the blessings as it were of all sides of the honourable chamber. Indeed, there was even in relation to that tradition (Westminster) that when a Speaker of the National Assembly would contest any seat there is no one who would stand in opposition to the Speaker. That has been a tradition for a long while.”
Prime Minister Harris took umbrage to Members of Parliament for St. Christopher’s three and two.
“And so when it comes like a day like this to hear the bitterness, the acrimony, coming from the Member for number two (Hon. Marcella Liburd) who never stays for a full sitting of the Parliament, who always comes and goes and the Member for number three (Hon. Konris Maynard), who will not grow up and learn…when you hear them use this this highpoint in the life of the Parliament to seek to diminish it by personal conveniences…,” Dr. Harris said.
“I don’t see what kind of conduct the remnants of the Douglas Party in Parliament are showing. There is a time and place for everything. Today was neither the place nor the time for the members opposite to come here to sully this beautiful and historic occasion with their old time stories for it wasn’t anything new that they had brought; it wasn’t any new idea that they hadn’t canvassed before that it was important to bring it to seek to sully a celebratory occasion and I condemn them for being petty. It is time for them to grow up,” Prime Minister Harris said.
Neither the Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas nor Opposition Senator Nigel Carty attended Parliament that day.
“We have to end the parochial politics,” Prime Minister Harris said.
“Why is it that the unhappy people in opposition want to make every occasion an unhappy one?” he asked.