The Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir this morning made mention of several breaches of the standing order and parliamentary practices that occurred during the course of the past week. Particularly, the Speaker highlighted the actions and utterances of Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon whom he implied ought to know better; and first-time Member of Parliament (MP) Sherod Duncan whose character the Speaker refrained from mentioning.
Nadir noted that several pieces of criticisms were leveled against him by Harmon and Duncan.
Nadir reminded the House that as per rules and customs, the conduct of the Speaker cannot be criticized except by the way of a substantive motion. Nadir noted that this point was also made by his immediate predecessor, Dr. Barton Scotland.
He said that despite, and contrary to what is expected, Duncan, on social media, referred to the Speaker of the House as bias and partisan.
Duncan wrote on Facebook, “Mr. Speaker started out like them new cookshop, and then the price rise and the standard fall. I thought after the second bout of COVID he would stay closer to God…”
At this point, the Opposition erupted with laughter and even banged their hands on the desks.
The Speaker asked, “This is funny?” He then had cause to ask the Opposition Chief Whip to ask members of the Opposition to come to some order. But they continued banging on the desks.
Continuing with his address to the matter, Nadir noted that Duncan’s Facebook post was a direct charge against the Speaker and impugns on the Speaker’s character, an action that is not condoned in the Westminster parliamentary system.
The Speaker also pointed to another misstep when Duncan misrepresented what happened at the last sitting regarding a mistake the Speaker made.
Nadir pointed out that Harmon too accused him, during a show with Duncan, of blocking the passage for opposition-sponsored bills and motions.
The Speaker told the House that should incidents like these continue to occur, he will take steps to have Members referred to the Committee of Privilege which has oversight of the conduct of members, and take action against errant members.