Time for atonement - Fiery senators accuse Opposition of lies
Opposition senators have been urged to atone for their sins, particularly as a result of "the tissue of lies" and "fabrication" they are said to have unleashed on the country as a result of last Friday's suspension of Marlene Malahoo Forte.
Government Senator Lambert Brown, contributing to a motion to lift the suspension yesterday, chided the Opposition for subjecting the staff of the Houses of Parliament to "malicious and fabricated statements".
"As a trade unionist, I am offended by what they did to the members of staff," said Brown, as he apologised on behalf of all 21 senators.
He said some of the statements made by the Opposition indicate that people are prepared to say things that will impugn the character of public servants.
Brown suggested that "madness has descended on these people" and in their attempt to cover up a lie, they have resorted to attacking the staff of Parliament. He said further that there is clear evidence that members of the Parliament "went out of the way to say things which they know were not true, but they felt that a political advantage could have been gained by lying".
the high road
Sandrea Falconer, information senator, said that A.J. Nicholson, leader of government business in the Senate, in moving for the suspension to be lifted, has taken the high road, despite being the subject of "so many attacks over the past week".
"I have been very disappointed this week when I heard the gender card being brought into play. Everything that happened had nothing to do with gender," Falconer said.
Dr Horace Chang, general secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), was furious following the suspension of Malahoo Forte and said it further indicated that Nicholson, who had moved the motion for suspension, had no respect for women.
"He moved to suspend the lady while she was on a bathroom break and didn't have the decency to allow her to defend herself even after she re-entered the chamber. It is also disturbing that he sought to have the lady carried back to the Senate while she was in the bathroom and also sought to prevent her from getting feminine products from her handbag," Chang said.
debate must continue
Video footage revealed by the Houses of Parliament has since revealed that Malahoo Forte was never in the bathroom at the material time, but rather in the lunchroom.
Senators Imani Duncan-Price, Sophia Fraser-Binns and Angela Brown Burke said that it was important that the debate on the Caribbean Court of Justice bills continue. Brown Burke, for example, said that Jamaica should "demand a particular quality of representation from us here in the Senate".
"I believe that high road of which Senator Knight spoke is what they must call us to stand on. One of truthfulness, one of sincerity, one that has the interest of the broader Jamaican population at heart ...," Brown Burke said.
Senior statesman K.D. Knight has called on the Senate to move beyond the incidents that have led to the stand-off between senators.
"All 21 of us must show to the country tomorrow [today] that we can put simple things behind us because we are aware of the importance of the bigger things, and this is one of the biggest things that we as a Senate will deal with," Knight said.