Suspension of MP Michael appears to have been orchestrated after a day of provocation, former House Speaker says

The suspension of MP Asot Michael appears to have been orchestrated, says D.Gisele Isaac, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, as she commented on the Member’s ejection from the Parliament on Thursday, May 18.

The Lower House voted to suspend the St. Peter MP from the Parliament for three consecutive sittings after he made scathing remarks to House Speaker Sir Gerald Watt, who had ordered  Michael to leave the Chamber.

Michael had argued that the Speaker’s ruling was biased, since a similar order had not been given to Prime Minister Gaston Browne.  

According to Michael, Browne – engaging in the cross-talk that Watts had forbidden – had imputed improper motives and used insulting language to him on several occasions, contrary to proper parliamentary conduct. However, the Speaker had failed to check Browne, he said.

Sir Gerald then asked the MP to leave the chamber and later called on the sergeant-at-arms to remove him.  It was then that Michael “called out” Sir Gerald, prompting the latter to “name” the member and call on the House to suspend him.

Commenting on the fracas, Isaac says the Speaker failed to adequately fulfill his duty to protect Michael, a minority member, from the aggression of the prime minister.

Michael is an independent member of the Lower House, the first and only one in the history of the Parliament.

Reviewing Michael’s behaviour, Isaac notes that, as Speaker, she had experienced some of the worst behaviour in Parliament – from now Prime Minister Browne.

MP Michael endured a great deal of provocation from the Government bench on Thursday, Isaac says, and as an elected member of the House he should not have been treated in such a way by the Speaker.

She says she was shocked, at one point, when Michael was prevented from speaking, even when he was attempting to continue his debate on a matter.  

Isaac says the entire parliamentary proceedings that day seemed to have been about intimidation, and what transpired should not have been allowed to happen.

As a constituent of St. Peter – although she did not vote for Michael –Isaac says he is her parliamentary representative.  And if he has no voice in the House, then the more than 2,000 people who voted for him and the remainder of the constituency will be disenfranchised.