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Speaker chastises MPs

After several rowdy disruptions during the mid-year budget debate in the House of Assembly yesterday, House Speaker Alvin Smith chastised members of Parliament for continually”disrespecting”the Chair.

“I’ve really had enough of the disrespect when the Speaker is standing,”said Smith, who spoke after a shouting match between the opposing sides of the House of Assembly.

It all started when Garden Hills MP Brensil Rolle accused the Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)of voting against clean potable water when it voted against the airport gateway resolution.

However, PLP MPs said yesterday that when they voted against the resolution they were opposed to Chinese workers building the road.

Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage, who stood on a point of order, told the Speaker that”it would be ludicrous for any reasonable person to vote against water”.

The resolution, which was passed last year, approved a loan from the Chinese for the road project. The project will require the grant of 200 work permits for Chinese laborers. The$58 million loan from the Chinese has a very low interest rate, government officials pointed out.

The project encompasses approximately 6.2 miles of road running from Windsor Field Road to the new six-legged round-about on John F. Kennedy Drive.

There will be nine round-abouts on the new highway, not including the new six-legged round-about. Other works will include the relocation of storm drainages, utilities, water mains and television cables.

Ground will be broken on the project today.

Nottage said the only component the opposition disapproved of is the foreign labor issue. The PLP had argued that Bahamians could build the road.

The issue prompted heated discussion between both sides, which eventually prompted the Speaker to stand to regain order of the proceedings after MPs ignored his calls for order.

Smith had to stand yet again after Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder claimed that Pinewood MP Byran Woodside made racist comments by referring to Pinder as the PLP’s poster boy because he is white.

Woodside insisted that he never referred to Pinder’s race.

However, Pinder insisted that Woodside did and said he would not stand for it.

The Speaker warned Leader of Business in the House of Assembly Tommy Turnquest and Leader of Opposition Business Obie Wilchcombe to ensure their members respect his authority.

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