MP’s Name Calling Stops The People’s Business

Parliament was temporarily suspended Wednesday when several Members of Parliament got into a name-calling spat that one would expect to see on a grade school playground.

Legislators had convened for a second reading and committal of a Bill for an Act to Amend the Bahamas National Trust Act when an argument erupted over which Opposition member would get to speak.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Opposition Leader Perry Christie had agreed that Mr Christie would talk, but Mr Christie decided rather abruptly to let Bain and Grants Town MP Bernard Nottage speak instead.

Mr Ingraham refused to concede the floor and scolded the Oppositio by saying, “I am not going to allow the devil, who is a liar, to get to me this morning.”  It is not clear if Mr Ingraham was talking about a specific person or just using a figure of speech such as, “The devil is in the details”.

Dr Nottage objected to the comment, perhaps thinking it was directed at him and shouted out, “he is the only devil”, pointing at mr Ingraham.

House Speaker Alvin Smith demanded that Mr Nottage withdraw the remark, which Mr Nottage did, adding however, that he never called anyone by name.

Mr Ingraham made it clear that he was unfazed by the comment.

Some on the Opposition side criticised the Speaker for reprimanding Dr Nottage and failing to do the same for Mr Ingraham.

When members of the House refused to obey the Speaker’s calls for order, Mr Smith called for a five-minute suspension.

“I would expect every member to respect and honour the chair of this House, Mr Smith said.

“I expect silence when I am speaking,” the Speaker added.