Now that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has rung the Local Government election bell for December 2, it would seem that the silly season is well and truly on, not only outside, but inside Parliament. How else could one explain the distrubing behaviour of some Members of Parliament during last week’s sessions of the Standing Finance Committee.
Apparently throwing House etiquette completely out the door, members engaged in some of the most vile attacks against each other during the sessions, giving House Speaker Bridgid Annissette George a torrid time controlling the activity’s decorum.
Friday’s session, in which the operations of National Security Minister Stuart Young’s ministry were under scrutiny, was particularly worrying. As Young came under fire from the Opposition, he, and in turn some of his Government colleagues seeking to defend him, contributed to significant and unneccesary cross talk.
In all the banter, it would have become very hard for even the best of listeners to actually get what was the crux of the matter being dealt with on some occaisions. In fact, we dare say that only the disciplined members of John Public would have sat through to listen to these sessions in their entirety after witnessing some of them descending into chaos at times.
Added to this, the response to Princes Town MP Barry Padarath which was clearly uncalled for from the government bench, forced the Speaker to suspend the session was another example of behaviour that we would condemn.
In this regard, this newspaper hopes a couple things will now happen.
Clearly, the House Speaker needs to revist how she handles such activity. It appears she currently leans towards not using as strong an approach to disciplining members in these sessions as she can in regular House sittings. Unfortunately, MPs may have taken advantage of this approach.
The purpose of the exercise after all is so that the heads of the various Government ministries can give a proper account of what they plan for their 2020 Budget disbursements in the context of what they achieved during the previous year. What in fact often transpired, however, were MPs on either side seeking to score political points by insulting one another, oftentimes disrupting what the presenter was saying to the detriment of their overall full and proper delivery - meaning John Public may have been denied of getting the substance of the presentations.
As such, we sincerely hope that the MPs remember that their overall accountability is to their constituents, who expect real answers to real issues and a true account of their stewardship during such sessions.
What occurred last week is yet another black eye on the deportment of MPs in the current House. This newspaper hopes that with the general elections to follow Local Government, they do not regress further. The public deserves a lot better than what they witnessed last week.