NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called on supporters to join the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) at the House of Assembly this morning to resist what he called the “tyranny” of House of Assembly Speaker Halson Moultrie.
“There was a letter written by the clerk of the House (Sunday) to the leader of Opposition business in the House Picewell Forbes,” Davis wrote.
“The letter said on directions from the speaker of the House, the MP for Englerston, Glenys Hanna-Martin, is to be excluded from the House if she does not apologize to the speaker for what he claims was disrespectful conduct toward him and members of the House at the last sitting.
“The speaker has no lawful authority to do or demand any such thing.”
Davis said the PLP will seek legal recourse if Hanna-Martin is unlawfully excluded from House of Assembly proceedings.
He said: “This is an assault on democracy and all people of goodwill should join us at the House of Assembly tomorrow morning to resist this tyranny.”
In a Facebook post, Hanna-Martin said: “People of Englerston, standby. The FNM Speaker is seeking to exclude your representative from Parliament.”
Last week Tuesday, Moultrie sought to remove the Englerston MP from the House of Assembly chamber after a brief, but tense spat between the opposition member and the governing side.
Leader of Government Business in the House Renward Wells moved to suspend proceedings shortly after Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis tabled a new proclamation of emergency issued by Governor General CA Smith.
Hanna-Martin accused the government of misconduct for failing to allow Davis to address the House on the proclamation.
After continued objections, despite warnings from the speaker, Moultrie ordered Hanna-Martin be removed for “creating a disturbance” and breaching the rules of the House.
Hanna-Martin did not oblige and continued to take exception to the move.
The House was suspended until today.
The new proclamation came into effect at midnight on Tuesday after the government failed to pass a resolution extending the original state of emergency proclamation, which expired on Monday night.
Attorney General Carl Bethel apologized for the “procedural oversight” in allowing the declaration to lapse.
There have been a series of conflicts between Hanna-Martin and the chair.
In January 2018, Moultrie named and suspended Hanna-Martin from further parliamentary sessions after she walked out of the Lower Chamber as the speaker addressed her behavior during proceedings.
At the time, Moultrie said following a review of recordings of previous sessions, he found that the MP had repeatedly breached the House rules.