Speaker says ‘not intimidated by front yard, back yard bullies’ as he reprimands Opposition MPs

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“I am no one’s little boy or intimidated by front yard or back yard bullies,” were the words of Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzor Nadir, on Thursday as he upbraided Parliamentarians who continue to breach the Parliamentary customs and practices with their public criticisms of him.

Nadir called out Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon and Opposition Member of Parliament, Sherod Duncan. This is not the first time that Duncan has been cautioned by the Speaker over his public statements.

Nadir threatened that should it continue, he will have to refer members to the Parliamentary Committee of Privileges for disciplinary action. The Speaker said there were several breaches of the Standing Orders over the last week which include personal and offensive charges against him by MPs and also the recording and disseminating of a private committee meeting.

He used the opportunity to remind MPs that Standing Order 95 (9) (A) states that meetings of committees shall be held in private with exceptions laid out clearly in Standing Order 95 (9) (B).

Opposition Member of Parliament, Sherod Duncan

Addressing the public criticism of his actions in the House, the Speaker said his conduct cannot be criticised except by way of a motion. He singled out Duncan in the first instance, referencing his Facebook posts where he wrote “Mr. Speaker started out nice like them new cookshop and then the price raise and standard fall… I thought after the second bout of COVID he would stay close to God.”

The Speaker said he regarded the post as a direct charge of bias against him which also seeks to impugn his character. These criticisms were linked to the Speaker’s action at the last sitting during the debate on the marijuana bill and the refusal to entertain a motion to debate the murder of the Henry boys – Joel and Isaiah Henry.

Opposition Leader, Joseph Harmon

The Speaker said the criticism against him continued when Harmon appeared on a televised show along with Duncan. He noted that Harmon admitted during that programme that he was warned about his public criticism of the Speaker previously, but notwithstanding, he proceeded to heap criticisms on the Speaker.

Nadir said he regarded Harmon’s statements as imputing improper motive.

During last Thursday’s Sitting of the National Assembly, the Speaker had warned MPs about their Facebook posts and public statements on the business of the House.

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