The House of Assembly suspended prematurely this morning after House Speaker Halson Moultrie berated the Minnis administration and accused the executive of dragging the Parliament around “like a dingy boat”.
Moultrie called on Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to address the various “disturbing” issues plaguing Parliament in recent days, including a “hatched” plan to test members for COVID-19 without involving him in the plan.
However, Minnis said he did not want to be contentious, and refused to address the issues, effectively resulting in a standoff.
Members of Parliament and HOA employees were tested last week after the chief clerk tested positive for COVID-19.
“The most disturbing part for me was to discover that certain persons were called and were notified that they were negative with no documentation attached, while other persons were called and informed that they were negative but that they should not attend work or this Parliament until the contact tracing process was complete,” Moultrie said.
“There again no one contacted the speaker or the clerk in respect to this process.
“Now one of the members of this staff was called in out of the quarantine that was established by the speaker and was told that she was protected because of the antibodies that developed in her system as a consequence of her having contracted the virus.”
Moultrie said the same individual was asked to stay out of Parliament today even though she tested negative for COVID-19 last week.
“See, I’m concerned because we are dealing with COVID … and we cannot be playing games with people’s lives,” he said.
“…The level of disrespect and dishonestly is something that I am really challenged with because we are dealing with COVID-19.
“Now the result of telling that individual that she cannot attend this Parliament is that the two persons who are considered loyal to the speaker are denied the right to be in this Parliament while… members of the Cabinet are allowed to come with no condition after the test.
“But staffers who are loyal to the speaker… are forced out of this Parliament and I’m supposed to just sit idly by and accept such a circumstance.”
Moultrie added, “As far as I’m concerned this is an Ephesians 6 and 12 moment in this Parliament. This is a matter of light and darkness, good and evil.”
Southern Shores MP Frankie Campbell moved for the House to be suspended for 10 minutes.
The House resumed about 40 minutes later with no mention of the events that had led to the suspension.