Maynard: Davis tried to pay for protest disorder
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Charles Maynard has accused Progressive Liberal Party(PLP)deputy leader Philip Brave Davis of offering to pay protesters to act in a disorderly manner while on Bay Street.
Maynard’s comments yesterday in the House of Assembly led Davis to call for his censure.
“Mr. Speaker, the member for Cat Island(Davis)made a phone call night before last to somebody saying’I want you to bring some here and I’ll pay them extra if they[are]willing to get locked up downtown’,”said Maynard during his contribution to the debate on the bills and resolutions authorizing the sale of 51 percent of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company(BTC)to Cable and Wireless Communications(CWC).
“I want him to deny it. If he gets up to deny it, I’ll call the person’s name.”
Protesters have gathered near Parliament on several occasions in recent weeks to demonstrate their displeasure with the government’s decision to sell the majority stake in BTC to CWC.
An angry Davis demanded that Maynard bring proof of the allegation or face parliamentary censure.
“Well, I ask him to name that person. And don’t only name him here, let’s go outside and name him as well and let’s get it on,”said Davis.
Parliamentary speech is fully protected from lawsuits by law. Davis’challenge was an attempt to lead Maynard to make the statement at a place where he is not protected by law.
“I’ve decided on a number of occasions to leave this member(Maynard)alone. I don’t bother this member, but he finds it necessary to talk about me every time that’s his matter,”said Davis.
“He’s not going to withdraw it either, Mr. Speaker. I don’t want it withdrawn. I want him to produce what he claims because it is a breach of my privilege and I would invite you to take the necessary action against him for it.”
Davis asked House Speaker Alvin Smith to ensure that Maynard is required to produce the proof of his allegation to the House committee on privilege. If he does not, or the proof is deemed inadequate, Davis called for Maynard to be censured.
Free National Movement(FNM)members have repeatedly accused the PLP of paying protesters to demonstrate against the BTC sale.
Last week in the Senate, FNM Senate leader Dion Foulkes accusedsenior members of the PLP of having orchestrated the February 23 demonstration in Rawson Square against the BTC sale. Foulkes said some protesters were promised$85 to participate.
PLP Senate leader Allyson Maynard-Gibson denied the allegation.