House Speaker to decide fate of Opposition Leader

Opposition Leader Hon Jamale Pringle
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By Elesha George

[email protected]

When parliament reconvenes on Monday, members of the Lower House may be expected to vote on whether Opposition Leader Jamale Pringle will be allowed to take part in the remaining sessions.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Sir Gerald Watt QC, told state TV a vote was something he was considering. “I have to make up my mind between now and the next sitting,” he said.

Sir Gerald has accused Pringle of not only breaching a number of standing orders when he disrupted the session and walked out of parliament on May 14, but of causing the public to question his integrity as a bipartisan Speaker.

He said Pringle had continued to call him biased, had insulted him and publicly accused him of improper motives.

“If I do, it will not be just because of the really egregious behaviour in parliament, but because he has carried it on outside of parliament,” Sir Gerald remarked.

The Speaker claimed that the leader’s actions held him up to “ridicule” which may force him to “alter his position” on letting the incident go unchallenged.

“It’s a matter that cannot be taken lightly because if he gets away and he does it again, well, it will be for the House and it may be for his own good,” Sir Gerald stressed.

“An apology a week after, two weeks after, after his party hold me and beat me up and down in the media – all that has to be taken into consideration.”

In order to invoke a vote, the Speaker must raise the issue in parliament, address the member by his name and recall the events that led to him walking out after not being allowed to make a personal statement concerning his refusal to participate in the Economic Recovery Committee (ERC) for Covid-19.

“You see the rule is that if I name him, then the whole House has got to decide if they will sensor him and if they sensor him, it’s to send him out ‘til the end of the session – this is the end of the year,” the Speaker explained. “It’s only one thing they can do; send him out for the rest of the session or until such time as the House will call him back.”

Pringle told Observer that he is not concerned about any position the Speaker may take.

“I am not concerned at all. He has to do what he has to do,” he remarked.

The MP for All Saints East and St Luke said he was not anxious about what might happen, adding, “I was given an ultimatum – to apologise or to leave. I chose to leave.”

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