By Erasmus Williams: Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 14, 2018 – St. Kitts and Nevis opposition Member of Parliament, Hon. Konris Maynard said Wednesday, his 10-day suspension from the St. Kitts and Nevis National Assembly on Tuesday by Speaker Hon. Michael Perkins “is unlawful and invalid” and intends to show up for next week’s sitting.
Maynard, who represents St. Christopher 3 (West Basseterre) is also taking issue with the speaker’s reference that he earlier suspended for five days, pointing out the Minutes of the House show he was only ask to withdraw from the July 11, 2017 sitting.
The Labour MP was suspended on Tuesday when he and the other opposition MPs were walking out of parliament following Speaker Perkins refusal to allow three other opposition parliamentarians to speak on the only Bill down for debate.
Accusing Speaker Perkins and the government majority led by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris of “pursuing an agenda,” Maynard, said Wednesday that the Standing Order of the National Assembly states that if he was disorderly or found to be grossly disorderly, the Speaker should first ask him to withdraw from the National Assembly.
“He did not ask me to withdraw from the House as clearly I was leaving the house. But he needed to exercise brute force and brute power immediately. I will not accept it anymore,” he told listeners to Freedom 106.5 “Issues” programme.
“I will be writing to the Speaker to inform him that his decision to suspend my service from the Parliament yesterday (Tuesday) was unlawful and invalid,” said MP Maynard, the youngest elected member in the lawmaking body.
He noted that his haste to get the opposition MPs out of Parliament, Speaker Perkins “forgot to utilise the rules that are before him.”
“The ruling that he made is invalid and is unlawful and he will have to change it. In every Parliament, there is one thing that determines what a parliament decides ….. that is voting. No motion, no resolution, no Bill, no Act, no decision of the Parliament can happen without a vote,” said Maynard.
He noted that one of the motions that must have a vote is a motion to suspend another member.
“The Speaker cannot unilaterally suspend anyone from the House beyond the day’s sitting. He can ask a member to withdraw, but for a member to be suspended, from the House for a number of days, he has to get the consent of the House,” said Maynard, adding: “In his haste to get us out the Speaker has not been following that particular rule.”
“Under Section 49 subsection 3 – ……the Speaker or chairperson may name such member for disregarding the authority of the chair under the Standing order in which event, the procedure prescribed in the next succeeding paragraph should be followed. Whenever a Member has been named by the Speaker or by the Chairperson, then (a), if the offence has been committed in the National Assembly, the Speaker shall call upon a Minister to move that the (Mr. (whoever), be suspended from service of the National Assembly,” said Maynard, continuing: “The Speaker shall put the question on such motion forthwith, no seconder being required and no amendment, adjournment or debate shall be allowed.”
Further pointing out that the following procedure was not carried out by the Speaker.
“The Speaker should then ask ‘should Mr. Konris Maynard be suspended from the service of the National Assembly? Those in favour, those against and only then can the Speaker based on the majority of votes cast in favour, suspend a member.
Speaker Perkins has never done that, because he has not taken the time to fully understand the rules,” said Maynard, who made it abundantly clear “I will be attending the next Parliament.”
“I have not been duly suspended,” said Maynard, declaring that “Speaker Perkins has been in breach of the Standing Orders, violating it and unilaterally suspending me from the service of the Parliament.”
Maynard noted that in his handing down the decision to suspend him for 10 days on Tuesday, Speaker Perkins referred to an earlier suspension.
“There is no record of the House documenting a previous five-day suspension. There is none. The one the Speaker referred to is on Wednesday 11th July 2017, where he tried to suspend, but effectively only asked me to withdraw,” said Maynard who pointed to the Minutes approved by the Parliament which states: ‘The Speaker then considered the Hon. Maynard continues to disrupt the proceedings from his seat and at that time the Hon. Speaker named the Hon. Maynard under Section 49 (2) and directed him to withdraw immediately from the Assembly for the rest of the day’s sitting.’
“There is no record in the National Assembly where I have been duly suspended for five days at all. There was no vote. The record shows that i was never duly suspended for five days. I will fight it,” declared Maynard.