(RealNews)Former House Speaker Dame D.Gisele Isaac says the decision of the
High Court in this latest matter involving MP Asot Michael comes as
no surprise to her.
“Given the doctrine of separation of powers, I never expected the
judiciary to intrude on a parliamentary matter,” Isaac says.
“However, what transpired in Parliament that day, procedurally, was
dead wrong, and this fact ought not to be lost on the public nor on
the other Members of the House.”
During her tenure in the Speaker’s chair, Isaac presided over the
ejection of the late Sir Lester Bird and the suspension of then
Opposition Member Gaston Browne. On both occasions, she says, the
present attorney-general, Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, was present.
Hence, she says, “The attorney-general knows and the prime
minister knows that the suspension of MP Michael was not properly
executed. And to allow that wrong to stand – simply because it suits
their purpose – only compounds the problem and confirms the
prevailing opinion that ‘might is right.’”
Isaac notes, too, that the Standing Orders governing the conduct of
the House were revised recently by House Speaker Sir Gerald Watt;
and so she expects that, he, too, is aware that the suspension was
“And you mean that none of them has enough principle or decency
to say, ‘This needs a do-over?’” she asks.
In the final analysis, Isaac states, what this tells the public is that
Parliament – often described as “the highest court in the land” – is
prepared to make laws for the people to follow while it declines to
follow the rules, itself.
On a related matter, Isaac says describes the ABS News report on
the High Court’s ruling as “disingenuous.”
Earlier on Wednesday, ABS reported that MP Michael – ahead of the
suspension – had “remonstrated loudly in response to a sotto voce
remark from Government Benches.”
The Italian phrase “sotto voce” refers to something said in an
undertone and not meant to be overheard.
But Isaac counters that the remarks coming from the Government
side “were clearly heard by the House and the ABS-TV audience; so
there was nothing sotto voce about them. Not only that, they were
intended to provoke that type of response from Michael,” she
During a radio interview that followed Michael’s suspension, the
players involved boasted that Michael would get no redress, since –
even if the Speaker was wrong – the Court would not interfere in the
proceedings of the Parliament.
“All the wrong lessons are being taught in this episode,” the former