Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019
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Parliamentary boycott unnecessary

Earlier this month a shouting match erupted between government and opposition members in the House of Assembly, resulting in the opposition walking out. The row ensued after Leader of the Opposition Philip Brave Davis attempted to castigate the Minnis administration following the arrests of former Urban Renewal Deputy Director Michelle Reckley and three others.

The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has accused the governing Free National Movement (FNM) of politically motivated prosecution of its members.

Shortly after walking out of Parliament, the PLP held a press conference at the party’s headquarters. Davis announced “with no pleasure” that their MPs would “boycott the House for a period in protest”.

“We will not rest until tyrannical attitudes and practices are forever vanquished from this society,” he said.

Along with Reckley, Frank Smith, Shane Gibson and Ken Dorsett were placed before the courts charged with corruption-related offenses tied to posts they held during the last PLP administration.

Smith was acquitted. The charges against the others are pending.

The PLP also wants Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands and Minister of National Security Marvin Dames to resign after they were criticized in the magistrate’s ruling in the Smith case.

Each of these cases stands on its own. The PLP is whining too much. Two high-profile FNMs were prosecuted and convicted during the last PLP administration. The FNM did not act hysterically then.

We agree with Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar’s assessment of the PLP’s decision to boycott Parliament.

“They have a job to do. They have to represent their constituents so, you know, when we are discussing the people’s business, they need to get in the House and do the people’s work,” he said.

“That’s what they were elected to do and the fact that they walked out of Parliament and haven’t been there for two sessions now – I think two or three sessions – it’s just reprehensible. They need to get in Parliament and do what they were elected to do. That’s our position.”

Parliament is actually the best venue for the opposition to confront the government. Let the people see you working in the place they sent you to. Boycotting Parliament is an unwarranted gimmick designed to garner attention.

FNMs, PLPs, independents and non-voters are all subject to the law. We have an independent court system and various levels of appeal. The Smith verdict is evidence that an individual can stand up to state charges and win.

The PLP has tried to play the victim as a result of these cases. For the good of the country, rather than causing more frenzy, the party should settle down and let the judicial process take its course.

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