House Speaker chides PAM parliamentarian Eugene Hamilton for ‘disrespectful remark,’ orders him to withdraw it
Hon. Eugene Hamilton arguing with the Speaker of the National Assembly Hon. Curtis Martin at Friday’s sitting
BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, AUGUST 8TH 2010 (CUOPM) – The opposition People’s Action Movement (PAM) Parliamentarian for St. Christopher 8, Hon. Eugene Hamilton, was ordered to apologised Friday for falsely accusing the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Curtis Martin, of “attempting to shut me up in Parliament.”
Under Personal Explanations, Mr. Hamilton raised a matter which is before the High Court in which his opponent in the January 25th 2010 General Election, is challenging his eligibility to be nominated and elected as he is a Permanent Resident (Green Card holder) of the United States since 2003.
Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher 6, Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas on a Point of Order referred to Standing Orders of the House that termed the issue as “controversial.”
Speaker Martin pointed out that not only is the matter still before the High Court, but it flies in the face of Section 22 of the Standing Orders of the National Assembly that states that “With the Leave of the Speaker, a Member may make a personal explanation …. but no controversial matter may be brought before or be debated.”
Although the Speaker made a ruling, Mr. Hamilton requested to read what he claimed was a news release on the matter of the election petition issued by the Communications Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister (CUOPM).
“It is controversial,” ruled Speaker Martin, but Mr. Martin continued to seek permission to read the document.
“May I read it?” Mr. Hamilton asked, to which Speaker Marin replied “No.”
“It appears as if Mr. Speaker there is an attempt to shut me up in Parliament,” responded Mr. Hamilton.
“Hon. Member for St. Christopher 8, I am really disappointed. I am truly disappointed and disheartened at your statement, given the fact that the record will show in this House, that I have supported you on more than one occasion, including this morning. I have supported (ruled in favour) of both the Opposition and the Government side of the House.”
“And I make the point that when I walk away from here, I shall walk away with my integrity. I made that point at the prior Sitting and I make it again,” reiterated, Speaker martin, who then directed the Hon. Eugene Hamilton to withdraw the statement.”
“I have no attempt to shut you up and if you do not withdraw that statement I will ask you to sit down for the rest of the day without making one sound. I am very serious as I think that is in bad taste,” said the Speaker.
Mr. Hamilton, elected to the lawmaking body for the first time earlier this year, challenged the Speaker Martin saying that his statement was nor directed at the Speaker.
This prompted the Speaker to rise from his chair to emphatically state that the allegation was directed at him after he had intervened.
“I am not moving off my point that you need to apologise that you need to apologise otherwise you will sit down here for the rest of the day or you can leave. your choice. It is distasteful,” said the Speaker.
“As a result of that – because I have to participate today because we have an important matter to discuss today, accept it as withdrawn,” said Mr. Hamilton, which prompted the Speaker to accused Mr. Hamilton of being “very disrespectful to the chair.”
“I have asked you to withdraw the statement without any qualification whatsoever. Simply withdraw the statement. I do not want any qualification as to why you are withdrawing the statement. I just want you to withdraw it because it is distasteful,” said Speaker Martin.
“Mr. Speaker, the statement is withdrawn,” said the Hon. Eugene Alastair Hamilton, who represents the Peoples Action Movement (PAM) in the National Assembly.