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Dec 9, 2016

Speaker is the Grinch; Julius Espat Kept Out of House for Christmas

Michael Peyrefitte

Cayo South Area Representative Julius Espat will be kept away from the precincts of the National Assembly in Belmopan for the foreseeable future. Today, he faced a warrant for his arrest should he dare to attend the meeting of the House of Representatives, the first since he was named, shamed, and drummed out in dramatic fashion on August twenty-sixth. He had vowed to be there, and despite his behaviour, his colleagues do not wish him to stay out. But the man senior parliamentarian and former Prime Minister Said Musa had to convince with a privilege motion, House Speaker Michael Peyrefitte, is still wounded from what transpired in August – not to mention Espat’s statements after his court case was dismissed on Tuesday. Peyrefitte poured out those frustrations in denying the motion.

Said Musa

Said Musa, Area Rep., Fort George

“I was alluding to the fact that the member for Pickstock, who was called upon by the Speaker – or he is the one that volunteered, really – did not in fact name the Honorable Julius Espat, as is required by the Standing Order; and secondly, the question – and this is important, Mr. Speaker; a vital matter that goes to the heart of what happens in the House – every decision, every resolution, certainly a fundamental one like suspending a member, has in the final analysis needs to be voted on – even though there is no debate, as the rules call for – there has to be a decision of the House. In other words, the question should have been put, and the House should have voted, without debate, as the rules say, and that did not take place. So it is our view, Mr. Speaker, respectfully, that the suspension of the Member from the service of the House was therefore highly irregular and deprived the Member for Cayo South of his right, and indeed, his duty, to represent the people of the constituency.”


Michael Peyrefitte, Speaker of the House

“A member who wishes to raise a matter which he believes to affect the privilege of the House, shall do so as soon as possible after the matter comes to his attention. Member, let’s be fair. It had come to your attention from August that the Member was named and suspended. You gave no indication to this House in September, in October, in November, in early December, that you wanted to make a privilege motion. It has to be seen as convenient, Member, that you choose to want to make a privilege motion after the Supreme Court rejected you. (Applause) I hear you clearly saying, I hear you clearly saying that…”


Said Musa

“The court did not decide the issue; the court did not decide the issue.”


Michael Peyrefitte

“What did the Supreme Court decide? Did the Supreme Court decide, essentially, that we must solve our problems among ourselves?”


Said Musa

“Yes, exactly, and that’s why I’m bringing it up today.”


Michael Peyrefitte

“Why did the Member for Cayo South go to the Supreme Court, then? You are a Senior Counsel, Member; didn’t you advise him? Didn’t you tell him, ‘listen to me…” (Applause) You have at least three lawyers over on that side of the House; couldn’t one of you have told him ‘Listen, let’s solve this thing internally?’ Because then, Member, and you talked about the disgrace that happened, you’re asking for a privilege motion – but yes, this Member got up; threw his papers down, almost took off the side of the head of the Member for Stann Creek West, and talked about, ‘Which one a unu tief over deh wah name me?’ and that the proceedings in this House are a joke. So then, Member, he has to then, don’t you think, make amends to this House before any motion is considered for him? The member was suspended according to the Standing Orders, in my view, and so if the Member wants to come back, the Member needs to make amends in my view, to the Members of the House that he insulted and the House that he insulted. How can you disrespect this place, go to the Court, get rejected and now expect mercy from this place? (Applause) He needs to reinstate and re-establish his respect for this House before he can be considered by this House.”


The Speaker noted that members of the House may speak about members of the general public without legal recourse, but parliamentarians cannot do the same inside the House under the standing orders.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Speaker is the Grinch; Julius Espat Kept Out of House for Christmas”

  1. rigrat says:

    This is just childish playground politics.
    The suspension was not done according to the rules, and it has gone on far too long. The people are being denied their representation in Parliament.
    The speaker needs to swallow his pride and let elected members into the house.

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