Published 19 February 2018
Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source
by: Media Source
Suspension Unlawful & Invalid; Konris Challenge Perkins In Letter
Hon. Konris Maynard has challenged Speaker of the House, Michael Perkins, on the suspension he imposed on him at the last sitting of Parliament on Tuesday 13th February 2018.
In a letter addressed to Speaker Perkins, Hon. Maynard stated that the suspension was unlawful, invalid, and in violation of the Standing Rules and orders of the National Assembly of St. Christopher and Nevis.
Maynard’s suspension was as a result of the Speaker labeling his actions at the last sitting as “grossly disorderly.”
This occurred while the members of the Opposition were leaving the parliament in protest after Speaker Perkins refused to allow Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas and Senator Hon Nigel Carty to make their lawful presentations on the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (Amendment) Bill 2018. Having merely repeated what the Speaker said for clarity purposes, the Speaker issued the unlawful suspension while Konris was simultaneously exiting the Parliament.
Maynard’s letter refuted the Speaker’s accusation in his letter, stating “I object to any notion that I was grossly disorderly while my colleagues and I were exiting the Parliamentary Chambers when you purported to have my service suspended. You made a ruling and I simply reiterated the ruling as I was exiting the chambers. I did not at the time disregard your ruling which I understood to be that no one was to speak while the member from St. Christopher One was speaking”.
Maynard also referenced the way the Speaker chose to impose the suspension, noting that it was against proper parliamentary procedure.
“Any decision to be taken by the Parliament must be carried by a vote after a question is put to the members of the parliament. No motion for my suspension was carried as there was no question put and no vote taken at the sitting of the Parliament as required under section 49(4) of the Standing Orders.”
Accordingly, Section 49(4)(a) reads, “If the offense has been committed in the National Assembly. The Speaker shall call upon a Minister to move ‘That the Mr. …. be suspended from the service of the National Assembly’, the Speaker shall put the question on such motion forthwith, no seconder being required and no amendment, adjournment or debate being allowed.’
The letter reminded the Speaker that he neglected to put a question to the Honourable House, nor was there any motion for a suspension.
“The Speaker does not have the authority to unilaterally suspend a member beyond the rest of the day. Suspensions must be approved by a vote in the Parliament,” Maynard affirmed in his letter.
In refuting the ten-day suspension, the Speaker was also reminded that Maynard was never suspended prior, but rather, he was asked to withdraw from the House for the rest of the day.
The minutes of the House and the rules that govern the local parliament in no way support the actions of the Speaker.
The issue of Perkins’ severely lacking judgment and ignorance towards proper parliamentary procedures is further compounded by his devotion to the members on the government benches and Timothy Harris himself.
Maynard, the Opposition and the entire Federation await the Speaker’s response to the letter.
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