The microphones at the House of Parliament yesterday caught former MP turned senator, Eustace ‘Teco’ Lake, uttering the words, “You have to kill the damn boy…shut him up.”
Senator Lake at that time attempted to stand on a point of order as he tried to rebut the then speaker, Senator Damani Tabor. Lake could be heard in low tones as he directed his speech towards his colleague Senator Phillip Shoul.
“I will apologise to the public for the recording as I understand it, because I haven’t heard it, and what has been uttered in that recording,” Lake said today as the Senate opened its second sitting in as many days.
Lake’s first stint in the House of Parliament was an elected representative for the St John’s Rural South constituency back in 2014. After his withdrawal from the electoral process in 2018 and his party’s – Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) – subsequent victory, Lake had since been appointed as a senator in the Upper House.
Using his history in the Lower House as a backdrop Lake continued,“Not only in the Senate, but in the Lower House, we tend to have bantering back and forth. In my utterance yesterday, part of it was a banter and the other part of it was controlling the dialogue back and forth and ensuring that the facts were illuminated.”
Lake’s utterance found its way onto social media in both video and audio forms yesterday and had many in the public questioning both the substance of what was said and Senate President, Alincia Williams-Grant’s, handling of the situation.
The president at the time, saying that she had not herself heard Lake’s words towards Tabor, ruled that Lake could not continue proceeding on his point of order and thus directed Tabor to continue on with his presentation summation.
With this, Williams-Grant, began this morning’s sitting of Parliament by addressing the issue of Lake’s Monday offering by attacking not the substance of Lake’s offering, but by condemning the public’s handling of a matter that she said she had already made a ruling on since yesterday.
“The overarching thing though is that this House regulates its own affairs,” said Williams-Grant.
“If it is that I made a ruling yesterday that there is no issue arising out of what I did not hear. I don’t understand how it becomes such an issue in the public domain when I made a ruling,” she added.
The president went out of her way to address issues as it regards to her own integrity given the level of attention she herself gave the matter yesterday.
“And it becomes such an issue that it questions the integrity in the presiding officer. It becomes a problem because people lose faith in the system… the institution… the Constitutional institution that is established.”
By this time in her opening speech, Williams-Grant can be seen as visibly upset to the point of being indignant.
“If a ruling is made… it’s made within the House as it relates to the affairs of the House, there is no need for it to go outside of the House. And, that disturbs me quite a bit.”
The president went further to say that she wished not for this issue to further become and “national issue” and made the proclamation that “persons outside will not dictate my rulings in this House”.