Speaker of the House of Assembly Julian Willock threatened to take action against Opposition Leader Marlon Penn after Penn neglected to follow his directions during Monday’s sitting of the House.
Willock did not specify what actions he would be minded to take against Penn.
However, Penn indicated that he was prepared to accept being thrown out of the House if it meant standing up for himself.
He further made statements to suggest that the Speaker was addressing him in a disrespectful manner.
“Mr Speaker, you are not talking to a child. You will have to kick me out today,” Penn asserted.
He was responding to the chastisement he received from Speaker Willock moments earlier.
In what could be described as a stern and scourging statement, the Speaker had told Penn: “Leader of the Opposition, I am to be heard in silence.”
The momentary contention between Penn and Willock erupted after Premier Andrew Fahie’s statement in the House that the Opposition turned down two opportunities to discuss the government’s controversial expat regularization initiative.
In response, Opposition Leader Penn indicated the Premier’s statement was misleading to the listening public.
Penn then sought to explain: “The Premier and I were communicating about the meetings, and two members of the Opposition were unable to make the first meeting, and it would not be fair for us to have a meeting that would not be inclusive of all the members.”
Penn further said a second meeting was set for 10 am on a subsequent date but the Premier could not attend at that time. He said a 2 pm time was then recommended but the Opposition was not available.
“So, it’s not that we are not trying to meet, but this is an issue that I believe the Premier and Minister of government business could have brought to us and have a discussion before,” Penn argued.
Fahie, however, maintained that he has been “more than accommodating to the Opposition to have a meeting”.
“Both of them were cancelled by the request of the Leader of the Opposition,” Fahie said.
But when Penn rose to give another response, the Speaker interjected.
“Leader of the Opposition, we are not going to start the debate on this bill now. Do you have one more response to the Premier?” Speaker Willock said.
And when Penn attempted to speak simultaneously with the Speaker, Willock demanded silence. The Speaker then called the House into a five-minute recess after the Opposition Leader’s retort that he (Penn) will not accept being treated like a child.
Following the break, Willock said: “Leader of the Opposition I am going to give you a warning. Any further infraction will result in action being taken by the Speaker against you.”
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